[Tweeters] Red Knots at Bowerman Basin

jbroadus at seanet.com jbroadus at seanet.com
Wed May 20 16:16:19 PDT 2015

GHNWR has been monitoring spring shorebirds at Bowerman Basin for the last 5 years or so. The counts
are performed from mid-April to mid-May; not every day but frequently. Two to Four count periods are done
from two hours before high tide to one hour after. Counts begin at the wide spots in the Sandpiper trail and
run out to the end of the boardwalk . The number seen of each species is recorded for each count, but only
the high count for the daily monitoring period is reported.

In the past, we have seldom seen many Red Knots in the basin (the tidal area between the peninsula and
the mainland shore). Usually only a few hundred on a few of the later days in the May period. The basin
floor is slowly rising due to siltation, and is very soft--perhaps not particularly good feeding habitat?

This season the counts were: 282 seen on May 11. These birds arrived in the basin in one flock, after high
tide, and did not hang around long.

1100 were seen on May 13. Two hours before high tide I saw a flock opposite the first wide spot on the
Sandpiper trail; most of these birds were probing. More flocks were visible at the second wide spot, and
many more were visible from the bend in the loop trail where the telescope is mounted. My first count was
900, most of which were probing. One hour after high tide I counted the 1100, most of which were resting,
head tucked, from opposite the end of the boardwalk to well up in the basin. Many were standing in shallow
water. At least one had a light green flag (indicating a probable local band).

2240 were seen on May 15, all in the basin. These were "skittish," moving about and neither feeding nor
resting. High count was after high tide. Two had yellow flags (indicating banding in Mexico). We did not
count after the 15th.

I do not believe that these are particularly high numbers for Grays Harbor, but they are very high counts for
the basin itself (at least they are the highest for the last 5 years). Some banded Knots were photographed at
Bottle Beach as well. A good year for Knots?? Hope so.
Jerry Broadus
PLS 17660

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