[Tweeters] Ocean Shores - Smith's Longspur, Sand Plover, Elegant Terns

Ryan Shaw rtshaw80 at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 1 21:09:10 PDT 2013

Greeting all,
Sam Terry and I headed down to Ocean Shores to bird the area. Sam had yet to see the continuing Smith's Longspur. We arrived at the usual location around 7:15. Within 2 minutes Sam had found the bird. We observed the Smith's Longspur with a few other folks for about 20-25 minutes before moving on to bird the area. We walked around the game range at low tide and did not find much; probably due to the tide - 15+ Pectoral Sandpipers were about the highlight.
We then went to the jetty - highlights here were 30+ Common Terns feeding in the channel being harrassed by an adult Parasitic Jaeger. Also the usual Rock Pipers in Tattler, Surfbird, Black Turnstones and 1 Ruddy Turnstone were seen.
After a lunch stop at the Salvadorian restaurant in Aberdeen, we worked our way to Bottle Beach for the shorebird arrival as the tide went out. As we arrived at Bottle Beach, I got a text from Dan Waggoner about a Lesser Sand Plover being seen at the Game Range - I believe it was found the the Denny's? We gave Bottle Beach a good once-over before booking it back to the game range. We arrived about 2PM at the Tonquin access with several folks looking at it in the mud just north of the pond on the Tonquin Access - fairly close to the big stream that cuts the game range in half.
Not knowing the molt cycle of Sand Plovers - it looks to be a juvenile - it's pretty crisp looking - either than or an adult freshly molted into Basic Plumage, but the previous 2 records for the location were adults in breeding plumage around the same time of year..
It stuck to this area for about an hour and then with other shorebirds flew across the stream to the Sewage Treatment Plant side (where the longspur is) of the game range. It was hanging at the edge of this pond for another 20 minutes or so when a Harrier spooked the group of birds it was with, and the whole flock took to the sky and we lost them as they continued over towards Damon Point and out of view...
We proceeded over to Damon Point - which was chock full of people, to see if we could find the Plover - no shorebirds at all. We did find 4 Elegant Terns perched on a log just off the beach edge on the bay side of Damon Point. They took off after a while and began feeding in the nearby vicinity accompanied by about 15 Common Terns.
Hopefully the Sand Plover returns tomorrow for the high tide showing.
Ryan Shaw
rtshaw80 at hotmail.com

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