Posted by: atowhee | March 10, 2013

HIGH GYR (“gear”)

Our Golden Gate Audubon Northwestern trip ended with a flourish this morning: 9 more new species including such toughies as House Finch and Downy. That pushed us well over 100 for a trip where we spent most of our time looking out to sea. But there was one new one today that nobody will forget: a Gyrflacon sitting in a tree along the Skagit River. This was the dark nmorph, not the showy pale bird so often shown in photos of ther far north. The very long wings, slender built and splotched chest were all clearly seen through our scope. The group left for home in the Bay Area having notched harlequin and Long-tailed Duck, hundreds of Rhino Auklets at pretty close range, a Snowy Owl in great light, a Gyrfalcon, three different Northern Shrike on different days in far apart locations and hundreds of Trumpeter Swans.
Some insectivores were apparently not around yet. Not a single warbler and no vireos or flycatchers were yet present that far north. We saw only one Anna’s Hummingbird and no Rufous. Swallows (Tree and V-G) were returning and seen all weekend.TRMP.EETS

DIRTY BIRD Not easy to tell how much of the dark on this young Trumpeter is feather color, how much is mud. It is remarkable to see these elegant birds slopping around in plower fields that are 50% liquid.

NOSH.WIRE Our third and final Northern Shrike hunting from a wire on Skagit Flats.

RBNU FLITE This blur is the Red-breasted Nuthatch in motion.

sharpe--skgt This is the lone accipiter we saw on the trip, this single Sharpie hiding in the trees along the Skagit River this last morning.

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