[Tweeters] Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival

Jim Danzenbaker jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
Sun Apr 13 12:06:21 PDT 2014


As you may already know, the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival (
http://www.shorebirdfestival.com) is rapidly approaching - April 25-27. I
attended this festival last year and found it to be quite worth my time.
Where else are you going to find tens of thousands of shorebirds staging
for their next northward leg to coastal Alaska before their final push to
the high arctic and experts to interpret what you are seeing! If you are
concerned about only seeing shorebirds (what?) and want more, one visit to
the Pt. Brown Jetty in Ocean Shores to witness the northbound migration of
seabirds is spectacle enough. Here's a message that I posted last year:


As Bill Shelmerdine mentioned, it was a good day of seawatching at Pt.
Brown Jetty at Ocean Shores, Gray Harbor County yesterday morning and this
morning. I was there for about 4.5 hours yesterday - 7:30-noonish with the
following results:

(some type of ) Cackling Goose: 16,450 (many, many flocks with an average
flock size of 450)
Bonaparte's Gull: 3,000 - probably conservative, large numbers everywhere
Pacific Loon: 1,200
Red-throated Loon: 300
Common Loon: 150
Surf Scoter: 525
White-winged Scoter: 65
Green-winged Teal: 150 - many small groups and scattered in with scoter
BLUE-WINGED TEAL: 2 (in scoter flock)
Northern Shoveller: 18
Greater Scaup: 2
Harelequin Duck: 5
Black Brant: 38
Brandt's Cormorant: 10
Pelagic Cormorant: 45
Surfbird: 15
Black Turnstone: 25
Ruddy Turnstone: 1
Rock Sandpiper: 2 (alternate plumage - the first I've ever seen in
this plumage!)
Black Oystercatcher: 3
Red-necked Phalarope: 450
Sanderling: 800 (on beach)
Dunlin: 300 (on beach)
Western Sandpiper: 2800 (on beach)
Semiplamated Plover : 15 (on beach)
Marbled Godwit: 250 (on beach at different times)
Whimbrel: 20
Black-bellied Plover: 10
Rhinoceros Auklet: 45
Pigeon Guillemot: 10
Marbled Murrelet: 2
Common Murre: 20
Red-necked Grebe: 1
Western Grebe: 2
Eared Grebe: 1
Horned Grebe: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 15
Pink-footed Shearwater: 1
ARCTIC TERN: 2 (very gray and no necked profile)
many gulls that went ignored and unidentified
ZERO Greater White-fronted Goose

mammals included:

Grey Whale: at least 8
Harbor Porpoise: at least 25 - seemingly everywhere between the jetties
including breaching, spy-hopping, etc. Quite a few young ones
Harbor Seal: 5
Steller's Sea Lion: 3 (I think I have this identification correct)

probably other species that I've forgotten or didn;t bother to list.

This morning, I watched from about 7am until 8:30 when the rain started: I
set the scope in one spot and counted birds flying through the field of
view. It was very difficult to get actual numbers since large numbers of
birds were flying north at all distances. From the beginning, I knew it
was a big loon day:

Pacific Loon: 11,890 (450/minute for 20 minutes and then lesser pulses)
Red-throated Loon: 45
Common Loon: 196 (many flying behind me or fairly high overhead)
Cackling Goose: 1,560
Black Brant: 102
Bonaparte's Gull: 800 (large flock milling around offshore)
COMMON TERN: 6 (with Bonaparte's Gull flock - profile indicated Common)
Surf Scoter: 630
White-winged Scoter: 150 (many small flocks)
Sooty Shearwater - 100s
Harlequin Duck: 2
Rhinoceros Auklet: 65
Common Murre: 400

8-8:30 (stream of closer birds slowed considerably and went further out so
identification was much more difficult - however, birds filled the horizon):

Pacific Loon: 335
Common Loon: 30
Red-throated Loon: 53
Surf Scoter: 116
White-winged Scoter: 12
Rhinoceros Auklet: 45
Common Murre: many
Western Grebe: 1

It was a very enjoyable two partial days of seawatching - made me wish I
lived on the coast!

Keep your eyes....seaward.....


Speakers and photographers will be there to help you hone your artistic and
photographic eye. Of course, a third prong of your visit to the Grays
Harbor/Ocean Shores area for the festival is to visit the local vendors -
talented artists and photographers and also have your bird feeding and bird
observation (aka optics as well as optics 101 to advanced information,
cleaning, and adjustments) needs met.

Hope to see you there!

Keep your eyes and ears witnessing migration!

Jim Danzenbaker
Battle Ground, WA
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
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