We had to go down to Seattle for a night, but on the way I took an hour to stop and bird a little bit in Skagit County. I was really hoping to turn up some greater white-fronted geese, a year bird that has somehow eluded me (it doesn't help that most of them pass right over San Juan Island without stopping!). Alas, it wasn't to be. Aside from lots of red-tailed hawks, a couple of great blue herons, and a single kestrel, it proved hard to turn up any birds at all. Finally, just before it was time to leave, I spotted a big flock of several thousand snow geese in a field.
I scanned the lot of them and turned up a small group of Canada geese in the middle, but couldn't find any greater white-fronteds or any of the smaller white Ross' geese, which would also be a year a bird. I should still hopefully be able to turn up both species before December as they're coming back in greater numbers now!
I made one more pull-over to take a few close up shots of the snow geese....
....and right on the other side of the road a flock of sandpipers took flight. I'm not 100% sure, but I think they were dunlin - my first of the autumn.
I expected the weather to turn yesterday as forecast, but it stayed fairly nice right through to this morning. Now we've all battened down for the first major storm of the season. The wind is howling outside now. It's blowing about 15 mph, gusting up to 25 mph, and supposed to get up to gusts of 40 mph tonight! Yikes! Goodbye, Indian summer.