[Tweeters] Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands, October 29
paul.webster at comcast.net
Sun Oct 31 17:31:39 PDT 2010
Mary Anne Thorbeck, Barbara and I spent Friday (October 29) birding on
Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. We had overcast skies early that changed to
partly sunny weather with high temps about 60 degrees. A brief stop near
the casino at Fidalgo Bay netted mostly NORTHERN PINTAIL on the water and a
tree-full of still-roosting GBHs. From the Lake Erie boat launch on Rosario
Rd we saw a large raft of more than 100 RING-NECKED DUCKS well out on open
water (the Tufted Duck of yore hadn't re-joined the group yet). At Rosario
Beach State Park we found some 25 species, including a hyperventilating
KINGFISHER and some CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS
shoe-top-, knee-, and shoulder-high in the bushes as we started out to
Rosario Head. The reason turned out to be a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK that we
flushed and watched briefly as it left the area. From Rosario Head we saw
COMMON and RED-THROATED LOONS, a COMMON MURRE, several PIGEON GUILLEMOT, and
a few RHINOCEROS AUKLETS well offshore. Close in we spotted HARLEQUIN DUCKS
and a single BLACK TURNSTONE. We were also able to pick out BONAPARTE'S,
MEW, HEERMANN'S and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS on the water.
On Whidbey our first stop was at Frostad Rd where we spotted a dark-phase
RED-TAILED HAWK with a rufous tail sporting dark horizontal bands framed by
the bird's dark brown wings -- a beautiful bird we tentatively called a
rufous-morph Red-tail. Dugualla Bay was filled with choppy water, but on the
west side of Dugwalla Dike Rd down out of the wind we found a large mixed
flock of ducks, a couple hundred yards north of the duck and swan decoys put
out by a local hunter. The flock consisted of at least 50 AMERICAN and 1
EURASIAN WIGEON, 50 CANVASBACK, plus MALLARD, GADWALL, NORTHERN
PINTAIL, RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, and HOODED MERGANSER. In shoreline
shrubs we found several WESTERN MEADOWLARKS. Two COMMON RAVENS passed by
well overhead. Across the water two TRUMPETER SWANS landed near the three
swan decoys just before a SHORT-EARED OWL flew across the field east of SR
20, pursued and harassed by a NORTHERN HARRIER.
Our next stop was the Oak Harbor's City Beach Park, where we found close to
shore a raft of between perhaps two thousand SURF SCOTERS. There were also
two separate flocks of about a dozen BUFFLEHEAD and AMERICAN WIGEON, the
latter with another EURASIAN WIGEON. In the small trees on SE Dock St a few
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS hawked insects.
At Swantown on the island's west shore close to Joseph Whidbey State Park we
had HARLEQUIN DUCKS diving close to shore, plus HORNED GREBES, COMMON MURRE,
RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, and COMMON LOONS further out in Rosario Strait.
Near Bos Lake we had good scope views of four LONG-TAILED DUCKS, plus
WESTERN GREBE, COMMON and PACIFIC LOONS. There were more good views of
Long-tailed Ducks at Libbey County Park.
At the west end of Penn Cove we located 6 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 4
SURFBIRDS. To the south at the Port-Townsend-Coupeville (formerly Keystone)
ferry terminal we looked at all three cormorants and loafing Red-breasted
Mergansers close to shore. Crockett Lake had hunter activity with shooting
near the west end, but further east We found several score of DUNLIN, two
dozen LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, a handful of LEAST SANDPIPERS, 10 SNOW GEESE,
plus assorted dabblers and a few RUDDY DUCKS.
Our last stop of the day was Deer Lagoon. It happened to be low tide and the
lagoon bottom was largely exposed in the late afternoon sunshine. Here we
found thousands of foraging ducks and shorebirds, a simply wonderful ending
to an almost perfect day of birding, We tallied 83 species for the day.
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