[Tweeters] 1-24-13 Fir Island Gyr and more...

Mark Ahlness mahlness at comcast.net
Thu Jan 24 21:23:40 PST 2013


Today Janeanne Houston and I headed up in search of the Gyrfalcon. We
followed the very helpful notes on Tweeters from Marv, Tom, and John. We
drove to the spot where Dry Slough Rd meets Skagit City Road on the northern
end of Fir Island. We sat in our car for about 2 minutes looking around,
wondering if this was the place. The Gyr flew across the road a couple of
times, and then perched on a telephone pole about 100 feet from our car.
Sometimes you get REAL lucky.



Feeling like we might as well go home since we had accomplished our mission,
we instead decided to head up to the Samish Flats. We went directly to the
West 90, assuming our incredible luck would hold and we would see the second
Gyr - ha. Instead, we were greeted with a most accommodating Short Eared
Owl, posing for pictures and displaying hunting prowess with a fine snag of
a rodent. Beautiful bird.



Again, we thought we had been pretty well blessed, but we headed on to the
East 90 - where we were entertained by at least 7 more Short Eared Owls.
Amazing.



Raptors were everywhere up there today. We saw at least 7 Rough Legged
Hawks. Northern Harriers, Red Tailed Hawks, and Bald Eagles were almost junk
birds - they were everywhere. Other sightings of note were an American
Kestrel, 2 Peregrine Falcons, thousands of Snow Geese, and hundreds of
Trumpeter Swans. As for shorebirds, we saw one Killdeer and a small flock of
Dunlin from Field Road on the Flats.



We ended the day with a WAY out there sighting of a Snowy Owl from Hayton
Preserve -and a Short Eared Owl up close as we turned around.



We took a few pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahlness/sets/72157632602194055/detail/



Many thanks to the folks on Tweeters for pointing us in the right direction!
- Mark



Mark Ahlness

mahlness at comcast.net

Seattle, WA





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