[Tweeters] GT Grackle, yes; Elegant Tern, no; Pacific Co Buff-Bellied Sandpiper at Midway

plkoyama at comcast.net plkoyama at comcast.net
Fri Aug 23 20:35:44 PDT 2013

On the way down to Tokeland for what we hoped would be the Elegant Tern, David and I stopped at Sam Peach Park in Puyallup, where we didn’t even have to get out of the car or lift a binocular to see the GT Grackle—it was feeding on the grass right near the road, 10th Ave. SW. Well, David did get out for a quick photo.

We did not see the Elegant Tern, though we were at Graveyard Spit twice—there were scores of Caspian Terns, lots with their heads tucked, with hundreds of mostly Heerman’s Gulls, all packed together onto what land was left 1 1/2 hrs. before a 9 ft. tide. If they were there, we couldn’t pull them out, nor could we see any 30 min before high tide when even less land was left. There were many terns in the very far distance from the Tokeland dock, buttoo far out to guess at i.d.s other than Caspian, even with scopes. Other birders were still looking for the terns at Graveyard when we left—did they show up after high tide?

We stopped in the drizzle at Midway on the way out. “Adventuring” through the mud on the now-closed road, we stopped before the ponds, which cross what was once the road. Several Western Sandpipers flew in, along with a few Semi-palmated Plovers and some LB Dowitchers. There were a couple of nice Pectoral Sandpipers, but the bird of the day for us was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that was across the pond 3 or 4 feet into the sparse grass right where the road would be if it still existed. Then on the way out, very close to the road stood an American Bittern doing its swaying twig imitation before we got so close that it flew off. Deciding to end the day on that positive note, we turned left out of Midway and drove home!
Penny Koyama, Bothell
plkoyama at comcast dot net

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