[Tweeters] Neah Bay Oct. 2-3

Michael Hobbs birdmarymoor at frontier.com
Sun Oct 4 10:19:49 PDT 2015

Tweets – I got back late last night from a 2-day visit to Neah Bay, and while I didn’t find anything RARE, there were some highlights. Great weather too, on Saturday, making for gorgeous views. Saturday, I birded with Mary Frances Mathis, who I bumped into at dinner Friday night.

There were 2 SNOW GEESE that spent Friday and Saturday in the middle of the Wa’atch Valley. I also had a flock of about 30 Snow Geese flying north(!?!?!) over the Cape Flattery Trail on Friday afternoon.

I also had a flock of CACKLING GEESE Friday, and there was a lone Cackler on the beach in Neah Bay on Saturday. There was a flock of ~20 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE at the STP Saturday morning, and Mary Frances mentioned that they seem to have moved downtown to the beach Saturday afternoon.

SANDHILL CRANES swirled overhead noisily both days, with a flock of ~30 being the biggest flock.

Saturday, we had a very red RUFFED GROUSE on Quarry Rd. (which goes uphill from between the STP and the transfer station). Nice view from the top of the hill too.

>From Cape Flattery on Friday, after waiting 20 minutes for the fog to clear (and being interrupted by close views of GRAY WHALE), I was able to scope some shearwaters, out past Tatoosh Island. There were maybe 30-50 shearwaters, though no way to get any kind of real count as they kept disappearing behind the island. But there was not a steady stream of them moving through. I was able to identify SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS. There were some that had me thinking Short-tailed, but the distance was just too far. I dragged Mary Frances out there Saturday, but the winds were flat, and there were only a few dark shearwaters WAY out there.

Friday, I had one that got away. A soaring hawk really looked like a SWAINSON’S HAWK, but it was just too distant. It looked long-winged, with dark flight feathers and whitish coverts, pale tail, etc. But I was at the STP and it was over town. It took me all of about 90 seconds to run back to the car for my scope, but it completely vanished in that time. :(

Great looks at PEREGRINE FALCONS at several locations, and 1 or 2 MERLINS. We had a late OSPREY on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon, Mary Frances and I headed up A-Line Rd. (off Cape Loop Rd.) We came across a few birds: our only HUTTON’S VIREO and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS of the weekend, and a bird that got my heart racing – it turned out to be a very pale NASHVILLE WARBLER, but we had to learn all of the field marks necessary to separate Nashville from Lucy’s to be sure. The *perfect* eye ring and completely yellow (though very pale) underside from chin to undertail coverts confirmed the ID as Nashville. While not super-rare like Lucy’s, Nashville is a very tough bird for Clallam county.

Late Saturday afternoon, I went up Bahokas Peak Rd. and had quite an unexpected bird there. At a *small* grassy clearing about 2 miles up was a WESTERN MEADOWLARK. I also had my only HERMIT THRUSH of the weekend (VARIED THRUSH, conversely, were easy to find).

Overall, passerines were very hard to come by. Lots of sparrows, though no rare ones. A heard-only EVENING GROSBEAK was the only finch, if I remember correctly. Just 2 warblers in 2 days, the other one being a lone YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER in the Wa’atch Valley on Saturday. Shorebirds were also scarce, with just BLACK OYSTERCATCHER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Friday), BLACK TURNSTONE, and late Saturday, a veritable FLOCK of shorebirds consisting of a single DUNLIN and a single WESTERN SANDPIPER. Despite fairly low numbers of birds overall, a very worthwhile visit.

== Michael Hobbs
== www.marymoor.org/birding.htm
== BirdMarymoor at frontier.com

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