[Tweeters] Skagit game reserve - no Bell's vireo

Louise Rutter louise.rutter at eelpi.gotdns.org
Fri Sep 28 18:39:34 PDT 2007

I had a very pleasant late morning and early afternoon under ever-clearing
skies at the Skagit WMA, where the passerines were buzzing. I parked at the
boat launch area around 11.15, and walked south on the river-side dyke. I
found two large mixed flocks along the outward section of the dyke - mostly
black-capped chickadees, both kinglet species, yellow-rumped and
orange-crowned warblers, Bewick's wren. I found one yellow warbler, a couple
of immature warbling vireos with yellow flank washes and an eyestripe, and a
Hutton's vireo with dramatic obvious eyering and wing stripes. All these
birds were actively feeding at eye level or just above in the bushes either
side of the trail, particularly the river side, but despite over an hour of
scanning through the two flocks, I failed to find anything that would mutate
into a Bell's vireo for me. I also found four other birders who failed to
spot it.

Walking further round the dyke loop, the passerine activity dropped off
markedly, with very little happening where the Bell's had been reported the
previous day. Most of the activity out there was white-crowned sparrows and
house finch, and oddly enough, given the various men with dogs and guns
around, visible ring-necked pheasants. Back close to the parking lots, there
was a flock of cedar waxwings still hanging on.

I trotted out back along the river a little way for another check through
those promising flocks, but by then it was 1.30 and the chickadees and co
were feeding much higher in the trees on the west side of the path, leaving
only ruby-crowned kinglets in the low bushes. So I went off for a late lunch
in the sun at La Conner instead.

Louise Rutter


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