[Tweeters] Point Wilson Birds, Etc.,

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Nov 30 20:15:24 PST 2014

Since it was too cold this morning in Port Townsend to wash windows - my self-appointed chore of the day- I bopped over to Fort Worden to check out the scene at Point Wilson.
My first stop was the pier at the Marine Science Center because I wanted to watch Tubesnout's (a fish) again. That plan was foiled because the needed platform for close fish watching (the poop deck) was occupied by the local River Otters, two of them. So I left the deck ownership to the otters.
One otter was just schnoozling around on the float in the sun, laying about, itching it's back, rolling around,but the other otter was working on a newly caught fish. That fish was a rockfish, possibly a Copper Rockfish ,based on a photo from a book (*) I got from the PT library. Anyhoo, the fish was pretty hunky - at least 14" long. If I was a different kind of animal I might have tried to run the otter off and steal it's meal - it would've made a nice dinner for 2 .
Well I didn't (there were fellow hominid witnesses around), but it did sort of answer a question I had about how large a fish an otter can catch after finding various fish heads about the float earlier in the year. It also sort of went along with my impression that otters in Puget Sound got it pretty easy meal-wise because this is the second time I've seen these guys where one is horking down a fish, and the other otters are totally ignoring it's meal - no hassling or fighting over food. Everybody seems pretty satisfied.
Well then I headed out to the lighthouse looking for birds, or whatever. North Beach is like Bufflehead city these days - lots of 'em. I was looking for Ancient Murrelet's and there were murrelets way out there, but too far for my binocular range. Then, what was some sorta murrelet, came in close to the point just out of the corner of my eye, flying fast, and in the second it took to swing my bincocs around, it had disappeared into the water! Ancients do that I hear. I never saw that bird again.
Did get a little thrill though, seeing my FIARLT (first in a real long time) Long-tailed Ducks flying way out, and all three cormorants, a number of Harlequins, lots of Surf Scoters, and also two big beautiful male White-winged Scoters flying by close. Also saw Common Mergansers, FOY Common Goldeneye,,Pigeon Guillemots, Horned and RN Grebes.
On the very point (the big time entrance to Puget Sound), in the large barrier rocks, was a Winter Wren. I know, I know, its Pacific Wren now, but of all the fairly recent AOU name reprogramming, I still find this one bird hard to change to a new name. I have to translate in my own mind before speaking.
(*) the book reference is to the excellent photo book (with good brief anecdotes)"Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest" by Lamb and Hanby. You just gotta have it! Or go to the library like I do.( PT and Everett got it , when I don't) My real seashore bible to the area though, is Eugene Kozloff's classic, "Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast" a wonderfully written examination of sea life in this part of the world. Between these two references you can go a long way into finding out about our Salish Sea inhabitants.
Jeff Gibsonreporting fromPort Townsend Wa

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