At about 9:43 AM, I was standing at the lawn edge of the Fred Meyer's parking lot, when I heard the Brewer's Blackbird flock flying in from a telephone pole across the street. They landed in a tree directly above my head -- with the Rusty Blackbird in tow! Ryan Merrill and Tom Mansfield soon arrived to enjoy the blackbird with me.
The Rusty was singing when perched in the parking lot trees, and also when the flock briefly returned to the telephone pole, when we could hear his rusty-hinge song across the street and above the din of traffic. This is a pretty bright male that I believe is currently molting into alternate plumage around the eyes. I followed the flock around for a while, getting great views of the Rusty Blackbird feeding and perched, until I had some quality photos of the bird.
When I left, the blackbirds were all perched high in the trees behind the La Quinta Hotel. If the flock isn't present in either the Fred Meyer's or La Quinta parking lots, we theorized that they may also spend time in the Costco lot across the street.
I probably won't see a Rusty Blackbird so close in Washington - or anywhere - for quite some time! A Fred Meyer's parking lot certainly isn't the most typical place to get the species as a lifer, but it was certainly a satisfying one. Thanks, Noah Sanday!
On the way home, a short stop at the Samish Flats yielded 95 Eurasian Wigeons near West 90 -- amazing!