[Tweeters] Fill today

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 15:37:27 PDT 2011

Hey tweets, I tagged after Evan Houston today at the Fill, and he
obligingly found an EARRED GREBE for me out on the lake. It was a Fill
first for both of us. The little guy (not Evan, who stands close to 6
feet tall) was actively fishing beyond the remnants of lily pads off
East Point. We got several great looks through Evan's scope: peaked
face, white flanks coming up nearly as high as its back toward the
rear end, delicate bill slightly up-tilted, cheek not really dark but
still duskier than a Horned Grebe. What a thrill. To cap off the
experience, we later saw a Horned Grebe and were able to compare the
field marks we had seen that distinguish the two species.

In checking my Fill records, I learned that Eared Grebes used to be
fairly common in the 1940s but have grown extremely scarce. The most
recent sightings are: one on February 28, 1981; two October 28, 1986;
one September 18, 1989. And now this one!

The Barred Owl that Woody Wheeler first found last Sunday (a bird
never seen before at the Fill) was reported hanging out near
Laurelhurst's Beach Club yesterday. So I think the Barred Owls that
breed in the Arboretum have finally crossed the Rubicon (i.e., Union
Bay) and can now be expected anywhere around the Fill. Woody, by the
way, also found a Short-eared Owl hunting the open spaces of the Fill
last Sunday. Woody told me he had never before seen any owls of any
sort at the Fill, and now in one day, he saw two. As Satchmo used to
sing, I guess he was just a lucky so-and-so.

Other birds recently seen by other birders (and not by me): Western
Meadowlark, Western Scrub-Jay, and Pileated Woodpecker. All great
birds, all missed by me. I've got to get out more. - Connie, Seattle

P.S. Tomorrow, John and I will be out in the evening trying to spot
something wholly different: the ship upon which my new book ("Second
Nature: Tales from the Montlake Fill") is chugging toward Seattle.
Turns out you can track ships by typing in the name of "your" ship -
in this case APL Iolite - on a website (www.sailwx.info) and follow
its progress. Learning of this site agitated all my husband's nerd
molecules, so he spent the morning factoring in wind, waves, and
chugging speed so we can figure out when the Iolite will pass Golden
Gardens. John thinks we ought to go out there and wave as it sails by.
So yes, tomorrow there will be two nuts waving at a completely
oblivious giant container ship as it navigates past the park.

constancesidles at gmail.com
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