Date: 11/13/19 7:16 pm From: Gary Bletsch <garybletsch...> Subject: [Tweeters] Skagit Golden Eagle and Swamp Sparrow
Today (the thirteenth November) a juvenile GOLDEN EAGLE showed up at Beaver Lake, Skagit County. It was patrolling the rocky hillside to the east, over some big power lines. A couple of Common Ravens sortied after it, but I got to watch the trio soaring for quite a few minutes.
After considering the paucity of Swamp Sparrows being reported of late, I tried for them today at a few spots, including Beaver Lake. Finally, at dusk today, at northern State Recreation Area, just east of Sedro-Woolley, there was one SWAMP SPARROW calling from the marsh, very close to the parking spot near the corner of Helmick Road and SR 20. Some people would call this "Hansen Creek Restoration Area." I may have glimpsed the bird, but Song Sparrows and Marsh Wrens were also hopping around in the vegetation in bad light, and I could not tell which birds were which. The "chip!" note was the characteristic allowing for the ID. This spot has produced a Swamp Sparrow at least once before.
Here is some interesting news about DeBay Slough. This excellent birding area (and waterfowl hunting area) near Clear Lake now has five fewer trees. I don't know if the WDFW had the five large deciduous trees cut down for some reason of its own, or whether some wildcat logging has gone on. The trees were there when I last birded the site couple of months ago, as I recall. These were shade trees that, until recently, graced the circular parking area at the west end of the entry road. This site is where the old farmhouse was, until the 1990's. Such old farmsteads, with a variety of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, yet surrounded by fields, are often very good for birds, this site being no exception. I hope that at least the wonderful black walnut tree is spared. This time of year, I usually have a sackful of its excellent nuts drying for Thanksgiving--although this year I didn't get around to collecting any.
On a more positive note, I noted improvements in the little circular trail at DeBay Slough today. This is an unsigned, sort of quasi-semi-non-official trail that enters the woods just east of that farmstead parking area, accessed through a gap in the fence that appears to be designed for trail access. Someone cut this trail through the brushy woods a few years ago, but the trail has always tended to be overgrown by blackberries. Now someone has come back through with a machine and cleared the trail to its original width. A little side trail was added, cut into swampy woodland from the north end of the circular trail; this new trail just leads down into the reedbed, but gives quite a few views onto some heretofore nearly un-birdable parts of the site. Once the rains start (if they ever do), the low part of this trail will fill up with a few inches of black water. Right now, it is a welcome addition, especially since this part of the site is within the safety zone (no hunting).