[Tweeters] Eastside Audubon Whidbey trip 4 August 2010
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Fri Aug 6 08:27:20 PDT 2010
On Wednesday I led a trip for Eastside Audubon to Whidbey Island. We started out with sunny skies that stayed with us as we made our way north. Our first stop was at the feeders along Valentine Road where we saw AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, PINE SISKIN, SPOTTED TOWHEE, SONG SPARROW, AMERICAN CROW, TREE SWALLOW, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, PURPLE FINCH, and HOUSE SPARROW.
As we came down toward Whidbey on SR 20, about the time we got near Pass Lake the fog closed in. At Rosario Beach from the parking lot we could barely see the water. Out on the narrow strip toward the head you could not see to the south and only slightly beyond the shore to the north. Two birds were occasionally visible, two female HARLEQUIN DUCKs. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was in the rose bushes, and we also saw SPOTTED TOWHEE.
We made our way to Cornet Bay with the fog continuing to hug the shore. Visibility was slightly better at Cornet and a few PIGEON GUILLEMOTs were in sight. The fog slowly rose and we could see GREAT BLUE HERON and a BALD EAGLE flew across the bay. We walked down the road that goes to Hoypus Point. We saw SONG SPARROWs, PACIFIC WREN, BEWICK'S WREN, SWAINSON'S THRUSH and WILSON'S WARBLER. RED CROSSBILLs were overhead. A SPOTTED TOWHEE flew across the road. As we got back to the parking lot the visibility allowed us to scan the approaches to Deception Pass and find a RED-NECKED GREBE and a single RHINOCEROS AUKLET. PURPLE MARTINs were both overhead and at the houses along the pier.
As we made our way back out to SR20 the fog closed in again, but as we made our way toward Ala Spit it lifted so that we could see well. At the point there were about 25 CASPIAN TERNs, several CALIFORNIA GULLs and a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. A single BLACK OYSTERCATCHER flew across toward Fidalgo Island. We heard a single KILLDEER and then saw at least 20 GREAT BLUE HERONs in a patch of conifers. A couple of BALD EAGLEs were perched lower closer to the water and a BELTED KINGFISHER. A second BLACK OYSTERCATCHER flew away.
At Dugualla Bay the tide was still way out, but the mudflats were bare. On the pond were bunches of MALLARDs and two NORTHERN SHOVELERs. We made our way to Oak Harbor and the marina hoping for rocky shorebirds, but were disappointed as there were no birds of any kind present. We went out toward the west shore of Whidbey and back into the fog. We stopped at Joseph Whidbey State Park for lunch and could only see about twenty yards out to the strait - no birds. Visibility continued low after lunch at Swantown and water was very high at Bos Lake with no mud present (and only a couple of Mallards).
At the Hastie Lake Road access the fog had moved somewhat offshore and we saw SURF SCOTERs, a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT flew by and a gaggle of gulls was on the shore in the distance. At Point Partridge the fog was further out and we saw a female COMMON GOLDENEYE, PIGEON GUILLEMOTs. Although the tide was coming in there was mud at Kennedy Lagoon, but still no shorebirds. We were now out of the fog and in clear skies. A quick run out to Ebey's Landing showed many people walking the beach but no birds. We walked the picnic area a Fort Casey SP and saw CEDAR WAXWINGS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEEs, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs, BARN SWALLOWs, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER and DARK-EYED JUNCO.
Out at the cliffs beyond the gun emplacements we could see PIGEON GUILLEMOTs, RHINOCEROS AUKLET and HEERMANN'S GULLs. Down by the ferry landing we scanned the old pier and saw both PELAGIC and BRANDT'S CORMORANTs and well as many PIGEON GUILLEMOTS. We cruised slowly along Crockett Lake and saw a NORTHERN HARRIER, a couple of SAVANNAH SPARROWs (female) but no shorebirds.
We went to Deer Lagoon and saw a few GREAT BLUE HERONs, but no shorebirds.
Along the way, at various places, we saw CALIFORNIA QUAIL, OSPREY, RED-TAILED HAWK, AMERICAN COOT, ROCK PIGEON, NORTHERN FLICKER, EUROPEAN STARLING, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD and HOUSE FINCH.
We finished with 56 species for the day. This was the first time in 15 years of visits to Whidbey Island that I had one single shorebird (Killdeer) for the day. I hope other people have better fortune in searching these good shorebird spots.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc at iso media dot com
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