Date: 1/30/18 7:57 pm
From: Jon Houghton <jon.houghton...>
Subject: [Tweeters] Nice diversion from politics - Trip to Stilly, Skagit, Samish today
Hi Tweets -After trying in vain with Blair to find a Violet-green Swallow in the rain in Kent yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the break in the weather today and head north for a recon of the route of an SAS trip Sarah Peden and I are leading in a couple of weeks. North of Sylvana, I was pretty excited to find a White-throated Sparrow among the many Golden-crowned, Song, and White-crowned Sparrows at feeders near the east end of Norman Rd. Nothing too exciting at the Nature Conservancy Port Susan site but the reliable Lincoln's Sparrows were present there in the blackberries. Thomlie Road also had no surprises but a juv. Cooper's Hawk was watching over a large flock of starlings and misc. blackbirds and here, as elsewhere, Bald Eagles were hanging around their nests and some were bringing in materials to finish the trim. On to Eide Road, if only to see the Snow Buntings that have been very visible near the main parking area. Quite frankly, this ain't the birding place it used to be before restoration, but worth the stop for the buntings and a gang of 9 Greater Yellowlegs along the approach road. From there, I went north from Stanwood to Conway, passing the Fisher Slough restoration site - a reliable location for close views of Ring-necked Ducks in the slough/canal along the road. At Wylie Slough, the Black Phoebe is (remarkably) still fly-catching from the same logs in the slough between the Wylie Sl. approach road and the west parking lot, where it was last year! On Fir Island, Trumpeter Swans were everywhere, and with close looks there were a few Tundras mixed in. I took a quick look through Dodge Valley but didn't see any sign of the Great Egret that had been there a few weeks ago. On to the Samish Flats, there was nothing exceptional at the West 90: the usual Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks, and a plethora of gulls. I stopped briefly at the East 90, where I found one of my real targets: a Short-eared Owl, hunting low over the fallow fields, but getting harassed briefly by a Harrier. Heading through Edison, I found my last target of the day - the town Merlin, sitting atop one of the tall evergreens in the center of town. I did a quick drive down Sunset Road and stopped at the "Blue Jay" place but did not see either of those standbys from that last 2 months. All in all - a great day with minimal rain and moderate sun! Happy birding!! [I hope you can be reading this to calm your soul, instead of thinking about the SOU diatribe (and Prez Tweet clapping for himself).] - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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