Subject: [Tweeters] JETTY ISLAND - 04/17/16 Date: Apr 18 19:08:09 2016 From: Dennis Moore - dennisdmoore at comcast.net
I headed up to Jetty Island, Everett last Sunday. Northbound on I-5 I had a red-tailed fly across my path at eye level carrying a furry prize. Auspicious.
It's been two weeks since my last kayak circumnavigation of Jetty Island. Only one occupied Osprey nest last time, six Sunday. Fortunately the first nest has been built up over top of the big ball of monofilament reducing the snag risk. Fishermen! Mind your line. Many states have depositories (metal cylinders) for fishing line that removes this hazard from the environment. Good idea. Big impact. Low cost.
Crossing the channel from the Everett boat launch I was greeted by a healthy flock of sanderlings and a few dunlin. Offshore a pale, dark billed loon was competing with the DC cormorants. Possibly a red-throat or immature common. Also a single eared grebe in transitional plumage.
The pickings were slim along the south end rip-rap. No GBH or eagles. I am always surprised how little foraging happens there. One might expect the turnstones and gulls that frequent Shishole and Alki to have a greater presence.
Turning north I was immediately serenaded by the dulcet tones of Caspian terns. Last week was a single bird. Sunday six were chasing a "fortunate" tern that had procured a meal. There were easily 30 more on the sand. Right next door was a large flock of peeps. Down the way were about 20 Brandt and more offshore.
My prime target for the day was the tidal flats just north of the kite-boarding area. There is an excellent view from the shell midden that is the highest point on the island. I paddled a little further north to sneak up behind a grassy bank. My 20X revealed hundreds of waders. Dunlin were largest in numbers. Black bellied plovers in size. Sanderlings filled the gaps. The plovers were not as numerous as last trip but more were now in breeding colors. I sat and enjoyed the feeding and resting birds.
After launching the kayak again and heading out for deeper water I was treated with the whole crew taking flight. (It wasn't me.) Spooked, they were slow to settle. At first four flocks then joining to become three and then one. Circling overhead it was a spectacular show. I am amazed at the synchronization and how, at certain angles, so many birds can virtually disapear.
BTW, I found the GBH. They were evenly spaced along the western sand. Knee deep and frozen they each had their own turf.
Pigeon guillemot were hanging about the rocky north end. Languid eyed harbor seals gave me a long look. There was a notable shortage of golden-eye. Just a few.
Sidebar. For about an hour my polarized sunglasses gave me a view of a full rainbow about the sun. The circular sun dog was augmented by a doubling on the left and right sides. Cool.
In all a beautiful day with sunshine, fresh air and critters. The sand can tell the story of other passings. If you take the time to wait and watch a place's secrets will be revealed. It's not just how many miles you cover and species you tally. It's about being there.