Hey tweets, Montlake Fill has been fantastic the past few days. Well, it's always fantastic, I must say, but these past days it has exceeded all expectations.
Today, I found a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and a CHIPPING SPARROW at the Youth Farm (now called the UW Farm). They were foraging among a huge flock of Savannahs, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, Lincoln's, Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and American Goldfinches, who have been harvesting a large crop of sunflower seeds and other farm goodies. A couple days ago, this same farm produced a VESPER SPARROW and a CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (rare at the Fill). Meanwhile, today we were also graced by a TURKEY VULTURE, which was circling overhead checking for animation. I made sure to get up off my stool and walk up and down a bit, so as not to give the vulture any false hopes.
Also present over the past couple days: a NORTHERN SHRIKE around Canoe Island and Hoyt Meadow; and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at the entrance to Yesler Swamp. Two WESTERN GREBES have been fishing near the crewhouse, joined from time to time by two more. I've never seen so many Western Grebes at the Fill before. Also, an AMERICAN BITTERN has been entrancing birders by coming out onto the lily pads at Canoe Island, and parading up and down for long periods of time. This bittern is completely indifferent to people - canoeists paddle by and this bird doesn't even raise its bill skyward, much less retreat into the bushes.
it's still a little tough for me to visit the Fill, on account of the awful, awful mitigation boondoggle. But the birds are as beautiful as they have always been, and they remind me that nature is resilient, at least up to a point. Most of the plants WSDOT planted have died, replaced by weeds both native and non, but the seed-eating birds seem to find plenty of food to eat. That is good to see during migration, when the migrants are already out of their accustomed habitat and perhaps more willing to eat "exotic" foods. I'm glad the Fill has been able to supply them with a little something to go on, as they work their way south.
So far this year, there have been 155 species seen at the Fill. - Connie, Seattle