[Tweeters] Montlake Fill SAS trip today

Evan Houston evanghouston at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 28 17:05:32 PDT 2010

Hi Tweeters,

Mason Flint and I led a field trip to the Montlake Fill for prospective students
for the upcoming Seattle Audubon Master Birder program. Around 20 cheerful,
friendly, enthusiastic birders showed up, it was very fun to meet and interact
with the group, and Mason and I each took half the group on separate walks.
Below I have links to a photo and video from our trip, and a map of the Fill.

As Connie Sidles mentioned, the top highlight for my group was the juvenile
Sora. I was happy enough to have the opportunity to point out calling Virginia
Rail to my group, when seconds later John Tubbs, who joined the trip to
accompany his wife, a prospective student, shouted out "Sora"! Connie and my
group scurried over to where he was standing, and eventually the Sora gave us
all reasonable views. In addition to being reclusive, the Fill's rather small
size and perhaps habitat make Sora a rare bird at the Fill, I have only one
previous, heard-only, encounter in my records of over 180 trips to the Fill.

Other top avian spectacles for my group included the continuing huge flock of
American Goldfinches in the east Meadow, probably at least 200 birds. A short
video of just a few of them is here: http://www.vimeo.com/14508217
Also, a baby Pied-billed Grebe perhaps hatched yesterday provided great scope
views at the lagoon, pic here: http://tinyurl.com/254ex8l

Between Mason's group, mine, and Connie's sightings, about 56 species were
encountered at the Fill today. A list of bird highlights includes:

- growing numbers of waterfowl - American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck,
Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal
- Green Heron - look for these at the Cove and the main pond
- Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks and a probable Northern Harrier (the latter 2
seen by the other group only)
- at least 30 Vaux's Swifts
- the previously mentioned rails!
- Warbling Vireo - this was the one paltry passerine migrant encountered by my
group, for some reason today was a lot slower for migrant warblers, flycatchers,
and vireos than other recent days.
- Brown Creeper - Surber

Here is a great map of the Fill:

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA

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