[Tweeters] Wet (VERY) and Wild (Very) at Bottle Beach

Blair Bernson blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com
Wed Aug 14 21:41:45 PDT 2013

I just returned from a day in Grays Harbor
County. After all the great weather in Puget
Sound it never occurred to me to look at the
weather charts for the coast. Tide tables yes,
weather know. BIG mistake...BUT more than made up
for by great birds.

It started to rain around 2:00...just as I slogged
out at Grayland Beach State park where an adult
and two young Snowy Plovers were the (as of then)
highlight of the day. Earlier, waiting for the
tides to improve, I spent time at Lake Sylvia
State park and along Wynoochee Valley Road,
picking up some birds in the county that had
escaped my attention since I always just head for
the coast. I also went to Tokeland, and although
the tide was at its lowest, 5 Willets, 2 Whimbrel,
a Pectoral and several Least Sandpipers were in
attendance..but nary a Godwit.

I also had spent some time driving the beach with
mostly Sanderlings and Black Bellied Plovers but
also MANY fly-by Sooty Shearwaters. After Grayland
I visited Westport and again found no godwits and
by then the rain was picking up.

High tide today was at 6:45 PM so I hit Bottle
Beach around 3:45. It was now raining regularly
and I had no rainjacket but slung some rain pants
over my head and headed to the beach. When I
arrived there were already many hundreds of birds
and more kept coming in for the next 90 minutes.
Perhaps explaining their absences elsewhere, there
were more than 500 Godwits including a single Bar
Tailed. Large numbers of Western Sandpipers
(400+) and Least Sandpipers (100+) and good
numbers (50-100 each) of Black Bellied Plovers (in
all plumages) and Semipalmated Plovers. Many but
not as many Short Billed Dowitchers (I believe
there were a few Long Billed mixed in) and some
goodies: 2 Dunlin, 1 Red Knot, 2 (probably more)
Semipalmated Sandpipers, a Juvenile Stilt
Sandpiper, 1 Willet and 1 or 2 Whimbrels and 3
Ruddy Turnstones and a single Black Turnstone.
There was also a "mystery" small plover which I
have been trying to make into a Common Ringed
Plover but cannot really do so. There was also an
incredible spectacle of feeding Brown Pelicans
attacking what must have been a huge bait ball
back towards Westport. There were easily 500 of
the behemoths and possibly twice as
many...literally a black cloud.

All told the shorebirds for the day totaled 22
species as follows:

Marbled Godwit (Bottled Beach)
Bar Tailed Godwit (Bottle Beach)
Whimbrel (Bottle Beach and Tokeland)
Willet (Bottle Beach and Tokeland)
Black Bellied Plover (Bottle Beach and Ocean Beaches)
Semipalmated Plover (Bottle Beach and Ocean Beaches)
Snowy Plover (Grayland State park)
Sanderling (Ocean Beaches)
Western Sandpipers (Many Places)
Least Sandpipers (Many Places)
Pectoral Sandpiper (Tokeland)
Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs (John's River
Wildlife Area)
Killdeer (John's River Wildlife Area)
Short Billed and Long Billed Dowitchers (Bottle beach)
Stilt Sandpiper (Bottle beach)
Red Knot (Bottled Beach)
Ruddy and Black Turnstones (Bottled Beach)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Bottled Beach)
Dunlin (Bottled Beach)

Worth all the rain...

And I would trade them all for a Lifer Common
Ringed Plover...

Blair Bernson

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