[Tweeters] report on Seattle Audubon field trip to the Montlake Fill

Evan Houston evanghouston at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 7 23:34:15 PST 2009

Hi Tweets,

I led a Seattle Audubon trip to my favorite haunt, the Montlake Fill, this morning. About 11 brave souls stuck it out for about 3 hours in fairly raw conditions, featuring a spritz of snow and sleet. We worked all of the habitats available, from the main loop at the Fill to the grove of woods along Mary Gates Way and Surber Dr. to the recreational field to the north of the Fill.

Our list, included below, featured about 49 species, with only fleeting glimpses or calls of some of the smaller passerines, but we did have several highlights. The top highlight was a Merlin that Alan Lincoln spotted in a treetop. We got great looks at some confiding waterfowl drakes and sparrows, including Cinnamon Teal, Northern Pintail, Spotted Towhee, and Golden-crowned Sparrow. We also saw a “kettle” of about a dozen and a half Great Blue Herons soaring in a circle overhead (I wonder if they’ve settled on a nest site nearby), and another participant pointed out several Raccoons snoozing atop a snag off Surber. Weather conditions discouraged a thorough scoping of the lake, and may have also dissuaded the wintering Western Meadowlark from singing.

A nice location map of the Fill is at:

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA

Full list in taxonomic order:

Canada Goose
American Wigeon
Cinnamon Teal – pair at the SW pond
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail – 1 central pond, 1 SW pond
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Scaup sp.
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle – surprisingly, up to about 4 immatures, along with an adult
Cooper’s Hawk – 1 adult
Merlin – it actually gave us prolonged treetop views
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull – 1 on the field north of the Fill
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Anna’s Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Steller’s Jay
American Crow
Swallow sp. – waaay overhead, likely mainly Violet-green, though both Violet-green and Tree have arrived at the Fill (as have a few Barn as well)
Black-capped Chickadee
Bewick’s Wren
Winter Wren – nice singing coming from the Surber/Mary Gates grove
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet – calling heard from Surber/Mary Gates
American Robin
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow – 1 singing from blackberries along Mary Gates
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow – fleeting look at 1 in maintenance area at north end of the Fill
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin – flock of about 6 flew over, calling
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow – maintenance area north end of Fill

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