[Tweeters] Kitsap & Mason Co birding in the chilly rain

mattxyz at earthlink.net mattxyz at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 14 18:18:01 PDT 2009

Hi Tweeters -

Today Evan Houston & I met up early for a day of birding -- The idea
was mostly to scout for next week's WOS trip to Mason County, but we
added a little at the beginning in Kitsap County. Overall, it was not
a very birdy day with all the cold rain, but we did have some nice
finds along the way.

MOUNTAIN QUAIL - in Kitsap County, at the gravel pits across from the
old Port Orchard Airport, we got glimpses early on of 3 Mountain
Quail -- They are such a frustratingly fun species to track down,
since they will call repeatedly from some spot obviously close by --
only to disappear. Great to have even the brief glimpses we got!

Also at the same spot we had a PEREGRINE FALCON fly by, & a great
look at a HUTTON'S VIREO.

Onwards to Mason Co -- South of Union, on the east edge of the
Skokomish Delta, there was a large raft of CANVASBACKS out on the
Hood Canal.

An AMERICAN DIPPER greeted us on post at the Fish Hatchery along
Purdy Cut-off Rd.

Potlatch State Park had EARED , RED-NECKED, HORNED, & WESTERN Grebes,
GUILLEMOTS & COMMON LOONS, one in great motley molt into breeding

Along Skokomish Valley Rd., we had a fly-over SHARP-SHINNED HAWK
along with several VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS. The fields were full of
gulls, but we only picked out Ring-billed, Mew & Glaucous-winged. Up
the valley a bit the same half-dozen TRUMPETER SWANS that have been
hanging out most of the winter remained.

Along Shelton-Matlock Rd., very near Matlock, we found 2-3 WESTERN
BLUEBIRDS -- seems to be a pretty reliable spot for WEBL, probably
for over-wintering WEBL.

Finally, the best bird of the Mason portion of the day was in
downtown Shelton. Tim O'Brien had tipped us off that his sister had
been reporting occasional sightings of a bird that sounded an awful
lot like a WESTERN SCRUB-JAY. Sure enough, between 9th & 10th street,
just off Railroad Ave., Evan spotted a WESJ -- a locally rare find!

Our timing at Kennedy Creek was off -- hit very low tide, but we did
have several BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS out on the mud. Also it was quite
amusing to watch a couple RIVER OTTERS doing belly slides across the
mud -- it really seemed like they were just scooting around to have

Despite a lot of shivering, it was a very fun day -- can't wait to go
back tomorrow in the [guaranteed sun & warmth].

Good birding,

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

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