[Tweeters] N. Waterthrush and Rusty Blackbird at Skagit Game Range 10/29 (G. Gerdts)

Geopandion at aol.com Geopandion at aol.com
Sun Oct 30 00:47:14 PDT 2011

Mary Anne Rossing and I (George Gerdts) took advantage of the fine late
October weather and headed to the Skagit/Sammish Flats today. Highlights
included a very responsive Northern Waterthrush at the Skagit Game Range off
Wylie Road. The bird came into phishing and sat in plain view for several
minutes along with a couple of Lincoln's Sparrows and a number of Song
Sparrows. As you come into the parking area, bear right and walk out along the
new dike trail along the west side of the large impoundment. About 200
yards along the gravel trail/road there is another trail that heads west. The
Waterthrush was at that corner. Once it came into view, it gave its
distinctive hard-metallic chip-note repeatedly.

The Rusty Blackbird was seen on telephone wires along Wylie Road about .5
miles before entering the Game Range proper. There is a dairy farm
operation and hundreds of blackbirds were present. The flock was made up of
mostly E. Starlings, 50+ Brewer's Blackbirds, several pairs of Brown-headed
Cowbirds, and a few Red-winged Blackbirds. We were watching the Rusty
Blackbird (very orange/rusty head and upper back with a good deal of rusty
feather edgings on the breast), about to take some digi-scope photos when a car
zoomed past us and scattered the birds. We did relocate the bird briefly
about 20 minutes later, but, again, the birds scattered when vehicle traffic
went by. This bird is distinctly marked and should stand out from any
Brewer's that are in the area. Once the birds scatter, it is difficult to get
views of them in the relatively high-grass (high enough for blackbirds to
disappear into) areas on either side of the road.

Other highlights:

Snow Goose 1000s on Fir Island
N. Harrier 20+ at West 90 on Sammish Flats
Rough-legged Hawk 1 West 90
Peregrine Falcon 1 diving on G-w Teal and L-b Dowitchers at Skagit Game
Greater Yellowlegs 3 at West 90 ponds
Lesser Yellowlegs 1 with Long-billed Dowitchers for size comparison at
Skagit Game Range
Least Sandpiper 6 at Skagit Game Range
Dunlin 5000+ at West 90 ponds
Long-billed Dowitcher 20+ at Skagit Game Range
Great Horned Owl pair at West 90 in dilapidated barn just after dusk
Short-eared Owl 2 coursing over fields at West 90 at dusk
Northern Shrike 2 juvs: one at Jensen Access, one at West 90
Cedar Waxwings 50+ eating Crab Apples and fly-catching at Skagit Game Range
Lincoln's Sparrow 8 Skagit Game Range
Purple Finch 30+ eating crab apples at Skagit Game Range

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