Crockett Lake


Crockett Lake is an open, shallow, estuarine lake on the south shore of Whidbey Island. The lake is a mixture of fresh and salt water separated by a narrow gravel bar and a tidegate from Admiralty Inlet, and is usually brackish. The open water of the lake is surrounded by marsh and grassland. Fed by runoff from the surrounding area and by inflow through the tidegate, the water levels can fluctuate greatly. When water levels are low, extensive mud flats are exposed. This mixture of marsh, open water, grasslands, and mudflats is rich with the kinds of small invertebrates that are eagerly fed upon by a variety of birdlife. As a result, Crockett Lake attracts many birds throughout the year and is one of the most productive birding areas in the Puget Sound lowland.

 

Crockett Lake is a major stopover for an extraordinary number of shorebirds during northbound (April/May), and southbound (early July/October) migrations, the best times to visit. At least 17 species of shorebirds have been recorded here, including Western, Least, Baird's, Pectoral, and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Black-bellied and Semi-palmated Plovers, and both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. This cornucopia acts as an attractor for Peregrine Falcons and Merlins, and Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers are also usually added to the mix. The surrounding grasslands and marshes have Savannah, Song and White-crowned Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, and American Goldfinches. Great Blue Herons use the lake as a foraging site during the breeding season. Ducks and gulls round out the mix.

Short-eared Owl