Date: 11/30/19 9:45 am From: <byers345...> Subject: [Tweeters] Thanksgiving round-up in Skagit and Whatcom counties
For Thanksgiving Bill and I spent Thursday and Friday birding in Skagit and Whatcom counties. On the way north we stopped, once again, at Hayton Reserve. Once again we did not see the Gyrfalcon, but Bill did get some excellent pictures of the bird that we and many others are calling a Tundra Peregrine Falcon. It has distinct white cheek patches and white on the head. Many people have noted a Northern Shrike that hangs around the fence on the west side of the preserve. We saw that too, plus the usual other birds. After driving around March Point (lots of Pintails, Common Goldeneyes and Bald Eagles) we worked our way north to Semiahmoo. There on the channel between the resort and Blaine, there were not many birds. But one Long-tailed Duck come up close enough for photos.
On Friday morning, we drove over to Lynden to an Ebird hotspot called Hannegan Road flats, south of Lynden. This was our first time visiting this location. We actually birded a road just south of the Nooksack River and west of Hannegan Road called Bylsma Road, part of which is gravel and which gets little traffic. This area featured many of the same birds we see in Samish Flats and Fir Island: Trumpeter Swans, Snow Geese, meadowlarks, and raptors. One largish raptor in particular caught our eye. It was hovering like kestrels do and I initially thought it was a harrier, but it was actually a Rough-legged Hawk. Since it was circling around over our car, we got some good shots of this bird too. I was surprised when I went to do my Ebird list to see that it is considered rare. That is, it was rare on the list, but not listed as rare on the Washington Rare Birds Alert list. It does look like the bird is unusual there since it has only been reported on Ebird 6 times ever.
The weather during this whole small tour was so beautiful, cold but clear with little wind. Mt. Baker presided gloriously over everything we did.