[Tweeters] Graymarsh survey 9/29: SWAINSON'S HAWK (long)

Scott Atkinson scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 1 09:25:36 PDT 2007

Tweeters: Had a full-day survey at the private site n. of Sequim, Graysmarsh, Saturday 9/29.  Please note that there is only a public beach access accessible from the end of Wilcox Lane, there is room for two cars now to park just off pavement in front of markers at 90-degree bend.  Although it was hard without Anne Winskie's help (she was out of town), I had a productive day despite an overnight low of 40 F and cool east/s.e. winds, especially in the afternoon.  Although the species count (102) was way down from last spring (Anne and I had 123 on May 6), there were rarities and a surprisingly good showing for late-lingerers, which are always fun to detect: (HC=high count) Red-throated Loon 42 HCGr White-fronted Goose 5Greater Scaup 1 (early)Surf Scoter 268 HC
Hooded Merganser 9 HCSWAINSON'S HAWK 1 intermediate/rufous morph (note 1)Pacific Golden-Plover 1jaeger, sp. 1FORSTER'S TERN 1 (note 2) WARBLING VIREO 2 (note 3)Cassin's Vireo 1 (note 4)Swainson's Thrush 4 (note 5) Hermit Thrush 5Cedar Waxwing 41 HC6 warbler sp including Yellow Warbler 2, MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER 1 (note 6)8 sparrow sp. (doesn't include junco, 270 individuals total), including White-throated Sparrow 1 (tan-striped), VESPER SPARROW 1 (note 7)Lapland Longpur 1 (heard only, beach dunes)W. Meadowlark 2 NOTES  1.  Perched atop dead maple overlooking berry farm, flew twice over berry section/ploughed fields to perch in poplar row bordering Wilcox Lane and returned to perch.  Engaged in aerial combat with a N. Harrier.  Crisply marked intermediate/rufous morph:  very distinct head pattern with dark crown, then bright whitish auricular, dark eye line, dark thickened malar below pale cheek blending into dark breast markings; head and bill seeming smallish for body; long-winged, with whitish forewing and dark trailing flight feathers from below in flight; bowed wings on glide; thin white rump/uppertail and slight-V soaring shape distinct from above while bird in flight, contrasting with grayish-brown, long tail, thinly black-barred above when perched, with short blackish terminal band.  Dark brown overall on wings/scapulars/nape as perched.  Only my 2nd on in wWA, the other near the Farmhouse Inn in Skagit Co, also a Sept 29 bird, about ten years back.  Historic records (fide Kitchin) from Hurricane Ridge, and one think there must be 1-2 other more recent from lowlands, but otherwise really rare in Clallam; several entries from s VI/Victoria BC in late August-Sept. 2.  First-winter with obvious white forehead/crown sitting on buoy looking northwest from public beach access boundary; fed on short route and then returned to buoy.  Surely the same bird reported from nearby John Wayne Marina about a week earlier.  2nd for Grays, the other a Sept 7 bird a few years back. 3.  Two birds that chased each other in mixed migrant flock in hawthorn/willow hedgerow just inland from public beach by North Pond.  Ties my latest ever (had 3 at UW Montlake Fill about '85) and I believe one of the latest ever for wWA, although I feel like someone once had one along the coast about Oct 10, years ago.
4.  This bird sounds as though it was a match with Charlie Wright's at the Skagit WMA.  Yellow wash on flanks; greenish above; spectacles complete.  I also had an out-of-place Hutton's in the willow "trap" of the central marsh that was very similar, even having some yellowish wash on flanks, but was grayish-green above and had incomplete spectacles; many locally-wandering Hutton's (apparently mostly imm) seem to turn up in September.
5.  I thought 4 scattered about the property in various spots was a high number for this late date.  Surely the species must make into the first week of October here.
6.  This MAC was my latest ever for wWA, but recall rare birds into early Oct on both sides Cascades, and at least two regional CBC (!) birds.  The two YELLOWS matched previous late date, but like Swainson's Thrush, a few Yellows surely must last into Oct here (and we have a Sequim-Dungeness CBC record, a bird Patrick Sullivan and the others saw, from nearby Dungeness).
7.  The Vesper was in a group of about 40 Savannahs (and other sparrows) darting about in the hedgerows visible from the end of the public beach access.  This was about as richy buffy/warm brown a bird as I've ever encountered, evidently a bird of the year in fresh plumage.  3rd for Grays in 20 years, all from the same site, the others Sept 1 & Oct 6.
Scott Atkinson
Lake Stevens
mail to:  scottratkinson at hotmail.com
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