Subject: [Tweeters] Snohomish County Snow Buntings Date: Tue Nov 5 09:28:58 PST 2019 From: Carol Riddell - cariddellwa at gmail.com
Yesterday afternoon I found and photographed four Snow Buntings at Eide Road, also known as Leque Island, near Stanwood. WDFW has not yet reopened the site. I was in the vicinity and stopped because there were no workers present and I was able to snug my car up against the road closure signs, safely away from SR 532 traffic.
The new parking lot is just below the 532 bridge and does not look like it will accommodate as many cars as the old parking area. The dike trail is wide enough for authorized vehicles but visitors will be limited to walking. There are benches at the beginning and end of the dike trail and only one intermediate bench. This could be problematic for those with pulmonary or ambulatory issues. Benches aren't that expensive. With all the money that has gone into recreating this site for salmon, a couple of more benches would not have broken the bank. It looks like access to the area will be limited to the new dike trail. All of the brush along the old Eide Road has been removed.
Back to the buntings. The four were foraging on seeds in the straw that has been strewn along the river side of the dike. They weren't terribly skittish so I got good looks up close. If you go looking for them, have a Plan B in case workers are on the site. I think it is still a week or two away from the reopening and there are obvious projects they need to complete. One photo is in this eBird checklist. More to follow.
Right now, at high tide, it looks like The Great Salt Lake of Leque Island. Time will tell whether this location will produce the good shorebirds that show up at Fir Island's Hayton Reserve. I can't imagine Short-eared Owls will find this site productive. Will we lose SEOWs in Snohomish County or will they find productive hunting along Thomle or Boe Roads? Anybody's guess at this point.