[Tweeters] Fir Island birding today

Evan Houston evanghouston at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 19 17:11:40 PDT 2008

Hi Tweeters,

I made the trip up to the Skagit Game Range on Fir Island today to try to find some of the many specialties that have recently been reported (at least 7 that would be lifers/ABA birds for me). I had absolutely no luck with any of the cool reported birds from 7:30 am to 2 pm, but then I happened on Marv Breece at the Game Range. He directed me back to the intersection of Fir Island and Wylie Rds, which I had scanned fruitlessly several times previously, but where there was now one Pacific Golden Plover in with the Killdeer and American Pipits. Thanks Marv!

Then, with the golden plover still in the field, the flock of blackbirds I'd been looking for flew in and landed on powerlines nearby, and I and 3 other birders (I'm sorry your names have already slipped from my memory - Bill and his wife and Bob?) were treated to scope views of 1 Rusty Blackbird - yay!

I spent much of my time near the slough by the boat launch on the game range, where I dipped on the Northern Waterthrush (several other people did have success today). I also could not find any Lapland Longspurs, Ruff, or other golden plovers.

I did find a few other bird highlights at the Game Range, including a Merlin and a tan-striped White-throated Sparrow (it actually sang for me), and one that I know is a bit unusual for the area - a juvenile Golden Eagle flew overhead! I feel confident on this sighting (I and is it Bill? came to the independent conclusion that this was a juvenile Golden Eagle), as I got great prolonged scope views, and it perfectly matched all of the juvenile markings in Sibley, including bulging secondaries, and clean, not diffuse, white areas on the under and uppersides of both the wings and tail. There were several immature Bald Eagles flying around at the same time, and a much smaller Red-tailed Hawk was diving on the eagle.

Good birding,

Evan Houston
Seattle, WA

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