We were seven today (Valerie, Anne, Don & Rochelle, John sans Kay, Hans-Ulf and me) on a rainy morning, but it turned warmer and dryer as the morning progressed. Our first stop was Kings Links Golf Course (where I “work”) on 72nd Street at the Bay. The ponds did not have a large number of waterfowl, but lots of variety. We saw Mallards and Gadwall which nest there. Other migrants that gave us good looks included: many Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, an American Coot, one Green-winged Teal, a Lesser Scaup, a female Hooded Merganser and even one female Ruddy Duck. Northern Harriers, including several males, often flew around us. No Shorebirds were around the ponds, but 3 Greater Yellowlegs were hanging around the overflowing ditch along the 7th fairway.
Next stop was the dike at the end of 72nd where we saw the new GVRD Sculpture and Display. The tide was nearly full/high, and thousands and thousands of Shorebirds were feeding along the shore of the Bay. We scoped Dunlin, Sanderlings, Black-bellied Plovers. Thousands of ducks were further out. Occasionally the shorebirds would be aroused (by a raptor, usually a Bald Eagle) and the acrobatic synchronized swarm of the thousands of Dunlin is an awesome sight. Living here, we see this often, but it’s always a treat.
Although we did not see the Short-eared Owl that was seen there yesterday, a Northern Shrike posed for us, and our first-of-the-year Rough-legged Hawk hovered for us as it flew by. Of course the several resident Red-tailed Hawks were also neat, some with other-than-red-tails. Another surprising treat was 3 Western Meadowlarks that posed for us briefly in the hedges, before flying off to the marsh.
The hedges also had several Northern Flickers (red-shafted), Robins, Fox Sparrows, Finches (both House and American Gold). Several flocks of Snow Geese and Canada’s flew overhead. We walked the dike toward 64th St. to the other new GVRD Display. These two “displays” are very nice and informative, but I am not sure that they are worth the many thousands of bucks I was told they cost to produce and set up.
Following our outing, John Garnham and Kay Gotoh, entertained the group with goodies and a very interesting Presentation on Bins and Scopes. John is a real expert on them.