[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon trip to Ocean Shores on 23 August 2014
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Sat Aug 23 19:30:12 PDT 2014
A group from Seattle Audubon took a trip down to the Ocean Shores area
today. We started early, and it wasn't until we were near Tacoma that is was
light enough to see any birds. First birds - AMERICAN CROW. Actually, that
was pretty much what we saw for quite a while.
We ran into overcast and fog in the Chehalis River valley that persisted out
to the coast. Going thru Hoquiam we had STELLER'S JAY and WESTERN SCRUB-Jay.
Our first stop was at the Hoquiam Ponds - fog made viewing problematic. But
we could see MALLARDs, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, and
GREATER and LESSER SCAUP, and a PIED-BILLED GREBE. A GREAT BLUE HERON tried
to hide on the edge of the ponds, unsuccessfully. There were OSPREYs on the
nest. A KILLDEER called and was seen. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER tried to hide on
the rocky edge of one of the ponds, but we saw it. Several CASPIAN TERNs, a
bunch of CANADA GEESE, and BARN and CLIFF SWALOWs were present. Lots of
GLAUCOUS-WINGED and CALIFORNIA GULLs and a single immature MEW GULL. Out in
the channel were even more gulls and terns (but no Elegants). A small flock
of shorebirds flew thru - probably Westerns, but the light was wrong for
good identification. A WILSON'S WARBLER and MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER were
hanging out in the willows, along with a BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE.
We moved along to Ocean Shores with an initial stop at the Quinault Casino.
The fog hampered our viewing, as did the many people on the beach. We did
see a couple of SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERs, some gulls, some dark duck-like
objects on the ocean surface, and a couple of SOOTY SHEARWATERs flying by. A
single COMMON MURRE flew past. Because of people and car traffic and fog it
was not much use to look for other shorebirds on the beach.
On down to the entrance to the Game Range from near the Treatment Ponds. We
finally broke out of the fog and had excellent looks at RED-THROATED LOONs,
including one still in breeding plumage. A number of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERs
and some SURF SCOTERs, and big numbers of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTs and
BROWN PELICANs on the old rock jetty. We made our way into the pond area
with a singular lack of shorebirds. Three BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERs flew by and
circled back to the pond - a flock of sandpipers had been flying around and
not touching down. When the Plovers sat down, so did the sandpipers - about
25 WESTERNs and 2 LEASTs. But everybody was really touchy - turned out there
were a NORTHERN HARRIER and an immature PEREGRINE FALCON circling overhead.
Well, that answered why there were no more shorebirds.
We stopped for lunch at the Interpretive Center and heard GREATER and LESSER
YELLOWLEGS, and picked up BLACK-CAPPED and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs,
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, HOUSE SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE and BROWN-HEADED
COWBIRD. A couple of GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLs flew overhead.
Out to the jetty, with the fog still in and hordes of people on the beach
and jetty. You couldn't see very far out the jetty and the crowds meant that
no rocky shorebirds. As we turned to leave two shorebirds flew in and landed
on the wrack - nice views of BAIRD'S SANDPIPERs at a reasonably close
distance. Also present was a huge mass of dead immature gulls - according to
the fellow at the interpretive center there was a mass die-off about a week
ago. COASST was having a training session today and was apparently going to
collect some of the dead birds and send them to a lab for analysis.
We headed for home, with a stop in bright sunshine at the Hoquiam Ponds -
much the same as earlier with the addition of NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN
PINTAIL, DUNLIN, WESTERN (and probably a few LEAST).
Up near Tacoma we had a NORTHERN FLICKER fly over the freeway.
At various spots during the trip we added: ROCK PIGEON, EURASIAN
COLLARED-DOVE, MOURNING DOVE, AMERICAN CROW, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, AMERICAN
ROBIN, CEDAR WAXWING, SAVANNAH SPARROW, HOUSE FINCH, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.
In spite of the fog, lots and lots of people and cars on the beach it was a
good day with some really nice looks at 64 species, with a nice group of
Brian H. Bell
Mail to bell asoc at iso media dot com
More information about the Tweeters