[Tweeters] Black-and-White Warbler at Washtucna and Pectoral Sandpiper at Lind Coulee

Bob Stallcop bstallcop at seanet.com
Mon Sep 15 14:42:53 PDT 2008


Like several other west-siders, Guy McWethy, Donna Poppe and I headed to
Washtucna this last Sunday to try for the unusual warblers that have been
migrating through. We got to Bassett Park about 0730 and saw much of what
others have been reporting in the way of common migrants: Townsend's,
Yellow, Wilsons, Yellow-rumped, etc. warblers, and lots of Red-breasted
Nuthatches; but no Tennesee or Blackpoll Warbler. What Donna and I did see,
much to our delight, was a Black-and-White Warbler. Since we were looking
specifically for the Blackpoll, we were very familiar with it's
characteristic markings, and also with the more common (in this area)
Black-throated Gray. The bird we saw had the characteristic bold black and
white pattern, with the definitive black eye stripe, white eye ring, white
supercillium, and black striping on a white breast. The clincher for me was
the overall conformation of the head and bill: the slightly decurved bill is
noticeably longer than either the Black-throated Gray or the Blackpoll, with
a more "streamlined" looking connection to the head. The bird was located in
the birch tree that stands towards the east end of the park next to the
stream, working one of the large lower branches much like the nuthatches.
Unforunately, I wasn't able to get any pictures, and Ruth Sullivan was away
up the trail to the plateau above the park, or I would have asked her to
take some. It was, by the way, great to run into Ruth and to see her out
doing what she loves best. We also to run into Matt Bartels up on the
plateau trail where we saw the Lewis's Woodpecker.

We moved on to Lyons Ferry and didn't run into anything unusual, so we
headed for Lind Coulee just north of Hwy 262 above Othello to look for
shorebirds. Our visit was rewarded with Western, Least and most notably a
large number(probably 20-25)of Pectoral Sandpipers. The highlight (for the
observers, NOT the observed) was watching a Merlin hit a feeding small
sandpiper so hard that it was literally buried in the mudflat. Immediately
after the strike, the Merlin looked as though it was stuck breast deep in
the muck, but soon launched into flight, carrying a vaguely shorebird-shaped
lump of mud in its claws.

A final stop at the Dodgson Road Audubon Wildlife Trail at dusk allowed Guy
to dig us out a Sora and Wilson's Snipe feeding in the open in the marsh,
and a nice fly in of a Black-crowned Night Heron to pick up its mate and fly
away together for the night's activities.

In all, a great eastern Washington day.

Bob Stallcop
bstallcop at seanet.com
(425) 922-2300
Maple Valley Heights (Renton) WA.

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