Subject: [Tweeters] Fill yesterday
Date: Jul 19 06:03:02 2009
From: Connie Sidles - constancesidles at

Hey tweets, a Long-billed Dowitcher brought a whiff of the far north
to the Fill yesterday, as it fed along the eastern shore of the Main
Pond. Overhead, hundreds of Cliff Swallows swirled in a cloud of
calling birds. These birds come from the colony established under the
eaves of one of the IMA buildings nearby, a site protected by a sign
epoxied to the wall which makes dire threats against anyone who
disturbs the swallows' nests. The sign, which reads with as much
formality as finality, is not autographed by any officer of the law;
it's signed by a bird-loving psychology professor with chutzpah.

Back at the Main Pond, the swirl of swallows kept settling from time
to time onto the dead branches of the willow tree at the north end of
the pond, making the tree look like Christmas decor gone wild. The
swallows were so numerous that I think they must have driven off the
little male Willow Flycatcher who has been singing from this tree for
the past several weeks. He was nowhere in earshot yesterday. Just as I
was starting to miss him, musically, some Caspian Terns showed up,
calling their rough calls. They were answered by a cranky Great Blue
Heron, who began blaring his complaints to the world. This was
answered by a couple of Belted Kingfishers, who seem to me to be
perpetually outraged. They're like the Jewish mother who gave her son
two ties, and when he called to thank her and let her know he was
already wearing one of them, she said, "What? You don't like the other
one?" Never satisfied.

Also on view yesterday: a juvenile Green Heron on the cove, hunting
for fish near the latest Pied-billed Grebe nest. I had the rare
privilege of seeing a grebe parent scramble up from the water onto its
nest, showing just how awkward this bird is when it tries to walk. It
took real struggle for the bird to climb up onto the nest, "walk" a
little on what appeared to be its elbows, and then finally settle down
to brood. Whew. - Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at