[Tweeters] old WA Birder articles & Pierce Co birding

mattxyz at earthlink.net mattxyz at earthlink.net
Sat Apr 3 19:37:09 PDT 2010


Tweets -

I didn't have any plans for weekend birding until my mail arrived yesterday.
After far too long, I finally ordered the back issues of Washington
Birder from the Knittles [wabirder.com] and they arrived yesterday. I
started browsing the back issues last night, and found a plan for
today....

Back in 1995, Patrick Sullivan wrote an article titled "Easy Puget
Lowland White-breasted Nuthatch", a site guide to a spot where he and
Ruth found Pierce County White-breasted Nuthatches in South
Tacoma/Steilacoom/Lakewood. Sounded like a good place to explore!
Though I didn't find the WBNU on this trip, it sure looked promising
& I found a couple new [for me] Pierce Co spots in the mix.

I started this morning at Fort Steilacoom, wandering around Waughup
Lake and then up in the brushy fields behind the lake. The lake held
Common Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, a few Ring-necked Ducks and several
pairs of Wood Ducks. Up in the fields, I had my first of the year
Orange-crowned Warblers, California Quail, a Hermit Thrush, Rufous
Hummers, and several flocks of siskin & Purple Finch.

Next, I went to the spot Patrick wrote about -- Northeast of the
corner of Steilacoom Blvd & Lakewood Drive, you'll find Mountainview
Cemetary -- just west of the cemetary is a remnant oak grove.
Relatively recently a good chunk of the area has been turned into a
new housing development, but some oak still remains -- partially
accessible by entering the new housing complex, but also in a more
undisturbed area just west of the cemetary and accessible from the
cemetary grounds. Probably worth checking again for the nuthatches,
as I've definitely found WBNU in Western WA in smaller patches of
oak. Back in the cemetary, following the road down the hill to the
north, you can access a great marshy area. It was packed with ducks
including N.Pintail, Mallard, Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, American &
Eurasian Wigeon. A large flock of Canada & Cackling Geese flew over
from nearby, and a Virginia Rail came in to my iPod. An American
Kestrel was hunting from the powerlines near the marsh. And among the
big flock of Violet-green & Tree Swallows was one early Northern
Rough-winged Swallow.

Inspired by the article, I tried several other remnant oak groves in
the area -- there are small patches throughout the sprawl -- none of
them turned up anything, but it was a fun way to explore somewhere
new with a random target!

On the way home, I stopped at Dash Point SP and called in the Barred
Owl Michael Hobbs reported last week , way up in the Pierce Co corner
of the park.

All of which is to say, I'm looking forward to working my way through
the old WA Birders to learn about some new birding spots around the
state. And if anybody tracks down any remaining Pierce Co
White-breasted Nuthatch.... do spread the word!

Good birding,

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA


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