[Tweeters] Some Port Townsend Birds

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Aug 24 14:22:33 PDT 2014

Having been camped out in Port Townsend for almost 8 months now, I've seen many exciting seasonal changes, and this last week have noticed some bird changes.
Just the other day I noted a dense huddle of Heerman's Gulls at Point Wilson and realized that none had the white heads of July. It was interesting that these 50 or more gulls were packed together on the beach like sardines, while big Glaucous-winged Gulls nearby were spread more loosely. I guess Heerman's are just real groupies because I saw the same thing over several days.
Out in the kelp beds off North beach, I saw a very light "winter plumaged" Pigeon Guillemot, which, after referring to Sibley, I suppose was an immature bird although it looked like the adult winter bird. I guess there is variation, and later in the week I saw darker juveniles. Also saw first juvenile Marbled Murrelet out there too.
It's been a good shorebird week too. After seeing my first Black Turnstones of the season on the 20th, along with a few Least and Western peeps, and hearing a Killdeer, I've been seeing a few more shorebirds: a few Spotted Sandpipers at North Beach, then Least and Western Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, and a Common Snipe at Kah Tai lagoon, where after a long dry season this brackish pond has a nice narrow rim of mud around the south and east shore- worth checking out. It was nice to watch a Snipe sitting still for a change.
Out on the lagoon, saw the first American Wigeon's I've seen so far this season, along with a few wonderfully bright Ruddy Ducks. Virginia Rails calling.
This morning I checked out a new spot - Chimacum Creek estuary - about 10 minutes south of town. This very birdy spot is on the Olympic Loop of the Washington Birding Trail, which was news to me - I saw the sign there.
Walking down the beach to the creek mouth I saw about 50 Surf Scoters rafted up out on the bay ( also saw a few at Point Wilson this week) and also a single small Grebe way out there- Horned I would suppose. In a group of Glaucous-wings were also about 20 Mew Gulls and a half dozen Bonaparte's.
The lower creek - nice clear water locally known for good salmon runs (due to much volunteer work) - was swarming with Kingfishers, at least 5, and Great Blue Herons. No salmon, but the ubiquitous Sticklebacks were around. About 5 Hooded Mergansers too, and 4 Spotted Sandpipers. A very nice spot.
This week I was owl lucky, seeing a Barred Owl in the Fort Worden forest, and another today at a little spot (Jefferson Land Trust) farther back up Chimacum Creek. Haven't seen any owls of any sort for quite some time, so that was neat. Also heard a Western Tanager calling at Chimacum - strangely the first one I've heard since I've been over here. Whatever.
Jeff Gibsonsorta birding, inPort Townsend Wa

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