Hot birding in n. Lake Stevens, Snohomish Co: LEAST FLY, RED-EYED
scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 20 22:57:35 PDT 2016
Despite substantial heat today, the passerine migration was terrific up at Tiny's Land in n. Lake Stevens this morning. The highlight was a first-fall LEAST FLYCATCHER near 78th Place, which I photographed. Mind you, no one will be satisfied, as the photos aren't diagnostic. But the bird did have a complete and uniform thin eye ring, along with short thin tail and many other field marks which I posted to EBird (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31174911). Owing to angle, in the blow-up of the face only I put on flickr, the thin eye ring is only visible along the forward top side of the eye, but the ring was uniform all the way around:
The bird was in a willowy-Bitter cherry thicket that is turning out to be a route hot spot. At the same time the bird was there, a calling WILLOW FLYCATCHER took the top perch in the same cherry, and a "WESTERN" type FLYCATCHER (surely PACIFIC-SLOPE, but silent) was in the same bush, down low, and out-of-place at such an exposed site (the eye ring "teardrop" widening behind eye isn't 100% but close):
But the Empid action wasn't the whole story. A quite early LINCOLN'S SPARROW (FOS) was in the same thicket, revealing its presence first with the soft "tschup" note, before appearing for a photo (posted on flickr). A male MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER was in this same thicket. And this was the same thicket that produced a HOUSE WREN earlier in the month, the first along the route.
Today was also officially "RED-EYED VIREO DAY" in the yard. In 85 F. heat at 2:30 pm, three (!) birds were active along the periphery of the immediate yard, triple our best ever and highly noteworthy because we don't have them every year here. Indeed, these were almost the only active birds in the yard at the time, joined only by some hungry AM. ROBINS nearby gobbling up English Laurel berries nearby. Two other RE VIREOS were along 143rd earlier. One of these birds flew from low alder thickets to briefly perch near the tip of a 50' W. Red-Cedar--more like a PURPLE FINCH than anything else, but I both studied the bird and heard the unmistakable down-slurred call. I'd never seen RE VIREO behave in this manner. Last but not least, this was a "6-warbler day" with only Townsend's and Yellow-rumped missing for regular wWA species. Fall migration is kicking into gear...
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com
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