[Tweeters] King County Birdathon Big Day May 11

Eugene and Nancy Hunn enhunn323 at comcast.net
Mon May 12 19:28:07 PDT 2008


Herewith the report of our attempt to set a King County big day record. No
such luck. The well ran dry in the PM but we ended up with a respectable 124
species, two short of the record we share with the Michael Hobbs/Matt
Bartels crew, set last year.

The weather was iffy but not that bad, though too windy for good owling in
the early dawn. We got skunked on screech-owl in West Seattle and had to
settle for crow-driven Barred and Barn Owls, the latter to our amazement in
flight at noon over the Montlake Fill. It seemed that lots of wintering
ducks had pulled out since last weekend and many migrants had slipped away
under cover of night.

At 5:20 AM we were at Discovery Park, me, Evan Houston, Mary Frances
Mathis, Jeanelle Richardsen, and Paul and Barbara Webster. We were all still
on our feet at 9 PM at Duwamish Head in the failing light trying to squeeze
out one more bird.

Our route has five laps: 1) Discovery Park and the Ballard Locks (until 11
AM), 2) the Montlake Fill until noon, then east directly to 3) Duvall and
Stillwater, then via SR 18 to 4) Auburn and the Green River Valley, and
finally 5) the West Seattle shoreline for laggard seabirds.

We topped 100 by the time we got to the West Snoqualmie River Rd. at Duvall
but had added just 17 more by 7:30 PM when we reached the Fauntleroy Ferry
Dock. We somehow squeezed out seven more from the nearly deserted seashore,
including an unexpected alternate plumaged Pacific Loon, a sickly Common
Murre, and an out-of-place Western Gull.

We missed a few (like the California Quail we'd staked out the day before
and the several thrushes) but stumbled on a few surprises: a Semipalmated
Sandpiper and a single Western Sandpiper at the Emerald Downs lagoon, a
Western Kingbird in a field just north of Auburn, an American Pipit at the
Montlake Fill (Thanks Ollie!), and a Wilson's Snipe with a Sora calling from
the wet grass along West Snoqualmie River Rd.

We finally tracked down an American Bittern, calling just beneath the south
observation tower at the Green River WRA, an American Kestrel along West
Snoqualmie River Rd., Bank Swallows at their Stillwater colony (and a pair
of Hairy Woodpeckers feeding young nearby); the American Dipper at Tokul
Creek (flycatching!), the Peregrine family at Snoqualmie Falls, the Western
Scrub-Jay on his usual Frager Rd. perch.

A hard day's birding beats an easy day at the office! Now catching up on my

Gene Hunn

18476 47th Pl NE

Lake Forest Park, WA

enhunn323 at comcast.net

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