[Tweeters] King Eider & Commencement Bay, Tacoma Birding opportunities

Marcus Roening marcus at rainierconnect.com
Fri Nov 6 20:49:20 PST 2015

Hi Tweets,

I’ll admit to how much fun it is to see everyone showing up in my back yard to see the King Eider. She is truly a lovely looking bird, likes to stay near the shore and absolutely loves the Shore Crabs!

So if you’re heading down to Tacoma, here’s a couple of other sites you can check out while in the area:

Silver Cloud Inn: After you come through Old Town Tacoma (and turning right at the Spar Tavern – and a personal favorite), you’ll be on Ruston Way with the Silver Cloud Inn to your left. This is a good area for Scoter and Goldeneyes. A BLACK SCOTER was seen this afternoon, but not relocated after the initial sighting.

Marine Park: At 1.2 miles from the Inn is Marine Park. A flock of Canada Geese have been using this area and amongst them is a grayish plumaged immature SNOW GOOSE. The big concrete masses near the pier are good for BLACK TURNSTONES.

Point Ruston entrance and yellow painted (fixed in place) ferry/sales office. This is 2 miles from the turn off. At 1.9 miles there is a narrow parallel parking lot. The KING EIDER has been feeding from here to the Ferry. Sometimes the local Bald Eagle moves it out a bit farther, but it has been coming back near shore. This is also a good area at low tides for Black Turnstones.

The waterfront walking/biking trail runs Northwest from just past the Silver Cloud Hotel, around Point Ruston and all the way to Point Defiance.

Point Defiance Park: At the entrance is a pond complex that you can find EURASIAN WIGEON. Continue on to Owen’s Beach for a good access point to look at the water. Five mile drive (within this 702 acre park) is closed to automobiles on Saturdays. And Anthony’s at the Vashon Ferry dock is always a wonderful place to eat.

Tide flats: (this will require some map reading and bit of winding around. Definitely best to bird on a weekend when the Port of Tacoma truck traffic is lighter).
11th Street Bridge as it crosses the Puyallup (closed): following Portland Avenue upstream to where the Lincoln Street Bridge crosses is all prime location for the SLATY-BACKED GULL at lower tides. Best viewing from the deck of the closed bridge over the river.

Gog-le-hi-te Mitigated Wetlands: As you cross the Lincoln Street Bridge, the Wetlands will be on your right (south) and there is a parking lot within a block of the bridge. Michael Charest found a young female BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER at 3 pm, 11/6 in the first stand of trees and where the first gravel round exits right. In the flooded field in the past week have been WESTERN MEADOWLARKS, AMERICAN KESTREL, WILSON’S SNIPE AND LAPLAND LONGSPUR – so make sure you bring your boots.

Marine View Drive Log Booms/Dick Gilmore Kayak Launch: This is the other side of the bay and a good spot to scope gulls and find BLACK TURNSTONES.

Brown’s Point Lighthouse: Continuing north on Marine View Drive and turning left at the shopping center will take you to the Lighthouse. Between here and Dashpoint fishing Pier (to the east) there has been a CLARK’S GREBE associating with Western Grebes. This is also one of the better spots to see alcids when the tides are changing. Keep an eye open more Rhinoceros Auklets, Ancient Murreletes & Common Murres.

ORCAS: A pod was seen a 3:30 pm cruising near Maury Island and west across Vashon Island.

Great Birding,

Marcus Roening
Tacoma WA

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