[Tweeters] Fill yesterday

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Fri Oct 22 07:14:51 PDT 2010

Hey tweets, my oldest son Alex is back from the wars safe and sound,
so naturally we went down to the Fill yesterday to hike around and see
what's what. We found indescribable beauty in each other's company at
my favorite place on earth, so much so that this morning my cheeks
ache from smiling.

Among our finds:
• That odd goose I mentioned in an earlier post is a juvenile Greater
White-fronted of the tiny persuasion (just a little bigger than a
Mallard). It was gobbling grass along the sides of University Slough.
• The Western Grebe that favors the Cove was back again in that spot,
diving energetically for fish.
• A HOUSE WREN put in an amazing appearance in Hunn Meadow West near
the Southwest Pond.
• Two SNOW GEESE were parading in the soccer field north of the
Corporation Yards, making a three-species goose day.
• The Western Scrub-jays noted earlier by many birders seem to be
settling in for the winter. They like to hang out near the Wedding
Rock and around the picnic table.

The fog and clouds began to roll in at about the same time as the
Obama fans did, so we went home. But Alex wasn't satisfied with just
one trip to the Fill. In the afternoon, he assembled his fold-up kayak
and paddled around the shore. He found Wilson's Snipe, Wood Ducks, two
Killdeer, and a Western Meadowlark out among the Barrier Islands (our
humorous nickname for all the marshy mud peaks that appear when the
lake is low and the garbage squeezes the peat and mud until they pop
up like blisters).

Alex's best sighting out here in the boonies was a skulking Virginia
Rail, who wasn't aware of Alex's presence until his kayak got stuck in
the shallows between two mud mounds. As Alex was thrashing his paddle,
trying to push off, the rail decided it was best to exit. Apparently,
though, the rail thought its doom was impending from above, because
Alex's paddle was agitating the cattails, whereas the danger was
really lurking at the water's edge. So, eyes cast upward, the rail
ran straight into Alex's kayak. The first Alex knew there even was a
rail in the vicinity was when he felt the bump and then saw the bird
ricochet off his cloth-bound boat, soar overhead like an avian
football on a forward pass, and bounce into the cattails on the other
side, where it resumed its rail-ity and ran off. A sadder but wiser
bird. - Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com

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