[Tweeters] Wandering Tattler, Tufted Puffins near mouth of Ozette River

kelsberg at u.washington.edu kelsberg at u.washington.edu
Wed Aug 21 12:45:12 PDT 2013

Backpacking with my wife, Sarah Safranek, and in-laws, Bill and M'Lou Safranek, and other family and friends this past weekend on the outer coast near the mouth of the Ozette River we saw several birds and mammals. Of note: a pair of Tufted Puffins swam close to the sea stack rocks at low tide in a mixed group of Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Glaucous-winged, California, and Heerman's Gulls, and lots of Harlequin ducks closer to the shoreline rocks. Wandering Tattlers (two) bobbed their bodies as they picked over the mussel and barnacle beds. A Spotted Sandpiper also bobbed its body in a similar manner, but along the mud banks on the shore of the Ozette River, with a female Greater Scaup diving in the river and a pair of Kingfishers overhead. A Bald Eagle ate a gull on the beach.

A family of four River Otters swam with us in the Ozette River, and later foraged in the surf near the tide pool rocks. Groups of Sea Otters, as many as 8 at a time, fed in the kelp beds and came close to the sea stacks, eating urchins. A lone Olympic elk came down to the beach, and a Black Bear came out of the woods onto the beach to do what bears are supposed to do in the woods (must have been all the salal berries it ate but didn't digest very well). A Coastal Garter Snake guarded the path to the pit toilet, possibly hunting the numerous Banana Slugs. My brother-in-law, Doug Safranek, found what I called a "Holstein slug" (white with black markings in a bovine pattern). Fungi abounded, but I don't know all the names.

Despite light morning rain every day, we had plenty of sunshine to enjoy the views.

Gary Kelsberg
kelsberg at yew dot washington dot edu

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