[Tweeters] Note from Port Susan Bay - St. Patrick's Day 2009

Denis DeSilvis avnacrs4birds at q.com
Tue Mar 17 20:25:27 PDT 2009


Tweeters,

Just returned from an outing with the UW Retiree birding group to Port Susan
Bay (which is closed due to flooding, except for trips that were previously
booked before December): the day there started cold, breezy, and wet, and
ended warm, calm, and sunny - a fine day was had by all. High tide at the
mouth of the Stillaguamish River was at 9:25AM, so that was good timing,
with most birds close-in to the dike initially. (The whole interior of the
dike is flooded, and access is limited to mostly the west and south sides of
the area.)



Lots of interesting birds, but the highlight was shorebirds: We initially
saw several BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, and a few DUNLIN, but as we made our way
south along the dike, many more Dunlin (thousands) were in the air in
several large flocks, and as the tide ebbed, started coming in close to
feed. One of our best sightings was of 24 LEAST SANDPIPERS (counted several
times by different folks), seven of which stayed very close to the dike,
allowing all to view (and some to photograph) the first of these peeps that
any of us have seen this year.



On the interior, we had many GADWALL, AMERICAN COOT, NORTHERN SHOVELER,
AMERICAN WIGEON, and RUDDY DUCKS. Of the ruddys (a few dozen), one male was
in bright breeding plumage - way ahead of the rest of the males. Other
waterfowl included BUFFLEHEAD, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON GOLDENEYE,
NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, SURF SCOTER, MALLARD, SNOW GOOSE
(including an after-noon flyover), and many TRUMPETER SWANS, most of latter
species of which were feeding close to the mouth of the river.



One of our troupe spotted an AMERICAN BITTERN, but the bird flew and dropped
out of sight before the rest of us could get there. (Uh-huh; you did see
that bittern, right, Al?)



On the other Spring note (other than the Least Sandpipers), we started
seeing TREE SWALLOWS when the sun started beaming, and later, several
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS showed up, by which time most of US were beaming.



Birds seen included the following (from trip organizer Barbara Clark's
notes):



Ruddy Duck

Trumpeter Swan

Snow Goose

Gadwall

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Surf Scoter

Common Goldeneye

Bufflehead

Red-breasted Merganser

Northern Flicker

American Coot

Least Sandpiper (24)

Dunlin-(Thousands)

Black-bellied Plover

Killdeer

Mew Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Red-tailed Hawk

Great Blue Heron

American Bittern

American Crow

American Robin

Marsh Wren

Bewick's Wren

Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Song Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Spotted Towhee

Red-winged Blackbird



May all your birds be identified,



Denis DeSilvis

Roy, WA

Mailto: avnacrs4birds at q.com



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