A feast for the binoculars

Published on Thu, Nov 22, 2001 by Meg Olson

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A feast for the binoculars

By Meg Olson

The local chapter of the Audubon Society reports Blaine Marine Park has become a hot spot for bird sightings in the last month.

Shorebird lovers may grow roots near the mouth of Cain Creek, where thousands of ducks share the mudflats with two yellowleg species, dunlin, black-bellied plovers, black turnstones and ruddy sandpipers. Three godwit species – marbled, hudsonian and bartailed – have been spotted, along with a few red knots. The state department of fish and wildlife also reports sightings of lapland longspurs in the area.

The mass of ducks may first appear to be solid mallards, but a closer look will find northern pintail, green-winged teal and American widgeons. Sharper eyes may even pick out an eurasian widgeon in the mix.

Attracted by what must seem like a smorgasbord, peregrine falcons have been regular visitors, swooping through clouds of shorebirds and startled ducks and occasionally tangling with a bald eagle to hold onto their prey.

The North Cascades Audubon Society maintains updated reports of bird sightings on their web site, http://www.northcascadesaudubon.org/index.html, and general information about birding in Whatcom County and chapter activities. The group meets monthly and has half a dozen field trips. Next stop in Blaine is a trip to Marine Park December 9.

In Birch Bay, a slide show by Audubon member Joe Meche on November 24 will highlight the regulars and the oddities that make up the local resident and transient bird population. Sponsored by the Friends of Birch Bay State Park and the Shoreline Enhancement Citizens Advisory Committee, the event is at Birch Bay Leisure Park from 2-4 p.m.

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