[Tweeters] Whidbey Island, October 4
paul.webster at comcast.net
Thu Oct 5 17:55:39 PDT 2017
Barbara and I took advantage of a good weather forecast to spend a day
birding Whidbey Island yesterday October 4. We had mid-day temps in the
60s and clear skies all day. Starting at Deer Lake, we found the small
passerines and a couple of jays vigorously flitting about and calling
repeatedly. We searched the bushes but found no hidden raptors. In the
process we got looks at 15 standard yard birds, though a glimpse of a
departing HUTTON’S VIREO was a modest surprise.
At Dave Mackie Park in Maxwelton we found low tide with the tidelands
covered with resting and feeding dabbling ducks, while SURF- and
WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS foraged offshore, in the company of HORNED,
RED-NECKED, and WESTERN GREBES, COMMON and PACIFIC LOONS, the latter still
in their stunning alternate plumage. Of interest were around 200 or more
COMMON MURRES, swimming and drifting southward between Indian Point near
Maxwelton and Point No Point across Admiralty Inlet.
At 11:30 Deer Lagoon was only just starting to refill from low tide, but we
found lots of RING-BILLED GULLS looking sharp in their fresh seasonal
plumage, and a few GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 10 HOODED MERGANSERS explored the
tidal channels. We walked the east dike trail, watching mainly for
SAVANNAH, SONG, WHITE- and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS. I glanced down to the
east at the small farm with llamas and a nice gravel driveway with the
grass on either side cut short. Barbara spotted a suspicious sparrow in the
short grass that turned out to be a Code 5 VESPER SPARROW.
After a lunch break we walked the dike at the west side of Deer Lagoon,
hoping for, but not finding Lapland Longspurs that had been present there
last week. A foraging NORTHERN HARRIER scared up a few smaller birds, but a
BALD EAGLE scared up hundreds of ducks. There wasn’t a lot going on
otherwise, though we spotted a lingering COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, two
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and a VIRGINIA RAIL, though hidden in the reeds,
sounded its “Kiddick” call.
At Crockett Lake we found the AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, unfortunately with a
damaged wing that will probably keep it from traveling further south. It
was joined for a time by a PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER, close enough to observe
both together in the scope. Then two larger BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS made an
appearance, and about a dozen LEAST SANDPIPERS dropped in, keeping a
respectful distance from the larger birds. After a stop at the Keystone
Ferry Terminal for cormorants, gulls, and a Pigeon Guillemot, we headed
back to the Clinton Ferry Terminal, where we checked the list and
discovered we’d seen 72 species on a relatively short day in the field.
Best Wishes and Good Birding!
Paul Webster, Seattle
paul.webster at comcast.net
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