[Tweeters] TV and Confused Blackbirds

ray holden rayleeholden at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 8 20:53:42 PDT 2011

The birding day began as usual with the gulls here at the marina.  I've noticed more ring-billed "little guys" among the big pink feet.  Now there are three first year ring bills and a couple more adults have joined the one that has a bad foot who showed up early last month.  From there it proceeded to a McMuffin and a handsome scrub jay stashing acorns outside the McDonalds on Plum Street. 

I thought with all the migrating waterfowl that Theler Wetlands would be productive but found that it was very un-birdy today.  The only thing I saw of real interest was a single female black-winged scoter swimming with a female pied-billed grebe in one of the side ponds so I adjourned to Safeway for a late lunch.  While eating a sandwich in the car at 3:30 a turkey vulture soared southward along the ridge parallel to the road through Belfair.  A sight that lifted my spirit about the 100 mile round trip drive.  

While returning a red-tailed hawk patrolled hwy 101 at Taylor Town hunting for a road kill freebee. 

I swung  by McLane Creek and found that the summer's wood ducks have given way to a flock of around 50 mallards happily feeding among the dying water lilies along with another single female pied-billed grebe.  A couple of raucous  stellar jays presented themselves as did a couple of spotted towees scratching in the leaves. 

The big surprise of the day came as I was leaving the produce stand on Harrison Avenue and distinctly heard a red-winged blackbird song across the street in the settlement-pond marshes.  I went over to investigate and discovered seven red wings in full livery having a singing duel just like it was spring.  The last red-wings I've heard sing the full blackbird song was weeks ago when everybody was in the air and they abandoned their territory at McLane Creek.  Today two were singing partial songs the way they do in the winter when they begin tuning up.  I thought they might be first year birds trying out their voice for the first time but they had adult colors and I don't know if it's too early for a young male to look like a grown up.    Silly birds.  Can't they read the calendar?  Still it was a nice fall present to hear them sing again.  Maybe spring isn't so far away after all. 

Speaking of fall.  Just before dark, among the C. geese and mallards there were A. wigeons and the first buffleheads I've seen on Capitol Lake this fall.  Also seen before the light failed were a great blue heron and a kingfisher along with various gulls and heard many black capped chickadees singing.  The mute swan is still there and there may have been other interesting critters but unfortunately the waterfowl are favoring the side of the lake opposite the street which makes them hard to sort out especially in failing light. 

Ray Holden
Olympia, WA

Life is for the birds.

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