Date: 4/7/21 7:18 pm From: Kevin Lucas <vikingcove...> Subject: [Tweeters] Sometimes everything really is black & white, mostly
I returned to the Sunnyside State Wildlife Recreation Area today on my continuing quest to see Tricolored Blackbirds reported there recently and the migrating shorebirds. On the walk in I was passed in the opposite direction by a tight flock of four Blue-winged Teal -- drakes & hens. (I presume the hens weren't Cinnamon Teal.) Once at the rice paddies south of Giffin Lake, I tried hard to look at all the blackbirds to find an odd one, but was hugely distracted. On my visit last Friday I'd stood in one spot in awe as I counted 145 Black-necked Stilts. Many more were in adjacent paddies and hidden behind cattail clumps. Today I counted 264. It was truly amazing. I saw the same number of Dunlin as before, forty-two, with again a Least Sandpiper and a Western Sandpiper. Three Greater Yellowlegs, many Killdeer, and a vocalizing Long-billed Dowitcher rounded out today's sure bird shorebird sights. I'd seen the dowitcher before, but today was the first time I heard its call distinctly while I watched it. I was able to see and photograph its alternate plumage greater coverts' tips - simple concave dark, not the convex > concave S of Short-billed. Soras also joined today's chorus.
A couple of Benton County Mosquito Control employees turned out to be crowd control. Loads of birds flushed, but most of the shorebirds stuck around.
Later I went over to the "Mabton boat launch" flooded fields to see if some of the stilts or the Blue-winged Teal had gone there, but only saw 10 stilts. A couple of Ring-billed Gulls dropped in then left, as Ma Great Horned Owl once again watched from her nest above. There's a metal & wood waterfowl hunting blind that gives a nice vantage, but it's approach is quite exposed. Bring your own chair.
Please, please -- fill out the day use ticket & carry your stub with you until you're done for the day, then drop your stub in the box slot. It's required. For all users. There's a tick box for bird watching. If the managers see how much it's being used for bird watching, perhaps more accommodations will be made for us, not just for hunters. I saw a birder there today who didn't fill out a ticket. That seems a wasted opportunity, and a chance for ill will toward the bird watching community if he's caught.
I again dipped on Tricolored Blackbirds, but had an excellent day.