[Tweeters] Whidbey Island traverse, 19 November 2016

Scott Ramos lsr at ramoslink.info
Sun Nov 20 17:53:02 PST 2016

Six enthusiastic birders joined me on a Seattle Audubon field trip yesterday to Whidbey Island. Although we mostly avoided the wet stuff, strong winds for most of the day proved quite challenging, obscuring floating birds among the chop, drowning out most passerine sounds and confounding finding land-based birds amid the constantly moving leaves. Still, we managed to encounter almost all of the targets we had set for the day.

Our itinerary included stops at Rosario Beach/Rosario Head, Deception Pass SP, Dugualla Bay, Oak Harbor Marina, Swantown/Bos Lake, Hastie Lake Rd beach access, Crockett Lake, Deer Lagoon, Dave Mackie County Park and Ewing Rd marsh. Here are a few of the highlights.

Brant - about 30, practically the last birds of the day, as we were about to leave Dave Mackie park
Trumpeter Swan - large flocks at Cranberry Lake and and the lake across from Dugualla Bay; lots of calling and moving about
Eurasian Wigeon - it was work, with all hands on deck, but Jeanelle finally found one bird in the midst of about 400 American Wigeon at Deer Lagoon, during the one period of rain with the wind
Long-tailed Duck - several at both Swantown and Hastie Rd, some far out but some near enough to marvel at
Northern Harrier - a few, in expected locations, and one not: a female-type bird was flying in to shore from several 100 meters off the beach at Swantown; it was definitely struggling against the wind but eventually made it to land; but, why was it so far out to sea in the first place?
Black Oystercatcher - at first we heard, then eventually spotted, a couple at Rosario Beach; but, then, on the gull roost just off the parking lot at the north end of Deception Pass west beach, there were at least 99 perched birds
Shorebirds - 6 species, without finding a single Killdeer: the Oystercatchers, at least 50 Black-bellied Plover and several hundred Dunlin in the mud flats at Deer Lagoon, a couple dozen Black Turnstone on the docks at the Oak Harbor marina, with a few Surfbirds mixed in, plus a similar sized group of Dunlin and several Least Sandpiper also at the marina
Herring Gull - 1 was with the gull flock at Deception Pass
Red-breasted Sapsucker - at Cranberry Lake, Deception Pass SP, we stopped to look at the ducks and noticed a heavily tapped alder, with hundreds of sap wells; then, as a confirmation, a beautiful adult bird showed up to give us good looks from less than 3 m away
Peregrine Falcon - an adult caused much consternation among the large Wigeon flock at Deer Lagoon; then, the last bird of the day, a juvenile made a half-hearted pass at the Mallards at Ewing Rd Marsh
Northern Shrike - 1 perched among the cattails east of Crockett Lake
Barn Swallow - a juvenile bird was a big surprise at Deer Lagoon

For the day, 81 species, despite the wind.
Scott Ramos

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