[Tweeters] waterfowl observations in Puget Sound (Key Peninsula -Pierce Co.)

Kelly McAllister mcallisters4 at comcast.net
Sat Sep 6 22:55:11 PDT 2008

I used to conduct Band-tailed Pigeon counts at the mouth of Red Salmon slough on the eastern side of the Nisqually delta in July each year. I saw the large flocks of Common Mergansers each year when I did those surveys. Sometimes, I would see them scuttle across the water, en masse, none taking flight, as though in molt. I felt fairly certain that those Common Mergansers represented a great aggregation of all of the Common Merganser families from the Nisqually mainstem and all of its many tributaries. I presume that they simply ride the river current out to the estuary each summer and spend the remainder of the summer feeding there. It's quite a sight and, like you, I never saw a bird among them with the typical male breeding plumage.

Kelly McAllister
Olympia, Washington

----- Original Message -----
From: Adam Sedgley
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 4:04 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] waterfowl observations in Puget Sound (Key Peninsula -Pierce Co.)

Hi Tweets,

Just a quick note: I was driving throughout Pierce County yesterday (Fri) morning/early afternoon establishing survey sites for the Puget Sound Seabird Survey (http://seattleaudubon.org/science.cfm?id=1168) and took some time to quickly scope the water at several locations. Not a lot of species diversity: RED-NECKED GREBES were the most numerous by far (especially around the Key Penisula) at nearly every location and all in breeding plummage. PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were the next most numerous with a notable number of juveniles. The only other waterfowl/seabirds seen all day were a single pair of SURF SCOTERS and several COMMON LOONS.

At Luhr Beach, I took some time to scope the mouth of the Nisqually delta and was blown away at the flock of MERGANSERS actively feeding at the river mouth. I lost count at around 125 and unfortunately the heat distortion prevented me from deciding if they were Common or Red-breasted (they were all females - or perhaps molting males...?). There were also scads of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS; too many to count. I was sorry that I couldn't stay longer.

Adam Sedgley
Seattle Audubon
adams at seattleaudubon.org


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