[Tweeters] Neah Bay September 9th and 10th - Wonderful Trip Even without the Red Legged Kittiwake

Blair Bernson blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com
Thu Sep 10 22:05:04 PDT 2015

Jon Houghton, Nathaniel Peters and I headed off
early yesterday with targeted hopes of finding the
Red Legged Kittiwake originally found by Charlie
Wright on Tuesday. In part due to problems with
the Hood Canal Bridge we stayed last night, birded
today and returned late this afternoon. As
reported earlier we found Black Legged Kittiwakes
but alas no Kittiwakes with red legs. Others
failed in this quest as well. Similarly we and
others did not find did not find any of the birds
reported Tuesday by Scott Atkinson and we also did
not find the Lapland Longspur or the Northern
Waterthrush reported by Brad Waggoner. Sounds
like a bad trip doesn't it? Not at all - it was a
wonderful trip and a great reminder that despite
the misses it is the experience of birding itself
that at least should be what is most important.
And here is why...

Neah Bay is a fantastic place even without Red
Legged Kittiwakes and Eurasian Hobbies. It is
beautiful with many treasures. We had spectacular
weather - even with the morning fog. We met
wonderful friendly local people who were
enthusiastic about our birding and shared fun
stories. We visited places we had not seen before
as well as the familiar ones. We had lots of good
birds but even better birding. Hobuck Beach is
spectacular with great scenery and the ever
present possibility of a special bird. There
today we were treated to a close up of a Red
Throated Loon (with red throat) and a Spotted
Sandpiper (without spots). I had a brief
encounter with a different Lapland Longspur that
was highly resistant to my camera lens. Yesterday
- after wading the Hobuck River Nathaniel had a
possible Curlew Sandpiper. We are hoping his
phone only photo might provide some confirmation.

There was no Red Legged Kittiwake at the gull
bathing spot by the Senior Center but we had first
one and then two Black Legged Kittiwakes -
disappointing for what they were not but beautiful
for what they were. We also had many other gulls,
loons, murres, grebes, ducks, a Stilt Sandpiper,
many noisy Black Turnstones and a Marbled Godwit.
We also got to visit with Fanter and Casey -
always fun. We spoke to locals about Goshawks,
whales, birds and birders - including their
memories of last year's amazing November. At Cape
Flattery there was but a single distant puffin and
even more distant shearwaters, but it is
impossible to visit there without deep
appreciation of one of Washington's most lovely spots.

We also did first time visits to the high hill
behind the quarry etc and were treated to
spectacular views and after almost no birds
yesterday great ones today including a male Sooty
Grouse (I was hoping for a photo of Ruffed but
settling for the Sooty close-up and in flight was
a great consolation) a huge flock of migrating
Violet Green Swallows, many Vaux's Swifts, Varied
and Swainson's Thrushes, Hutton's and Warbling
Vireos, MANY Townsend's Warblers and lots but not
quite so many Orange Crowned Warblers and other
birds. No hawk migration but we now know where to
go next spring.

We also traveled the Hobuck Lake Road (well sort
of a road) again hoping for Ruffed Grouse - no go
- but a beautiful little lake and a FOY Northern
Pygmy Owl for Jon that tooted for 20 minutes.

And we had what could only be called a spiritual
moment on that hill behind the quarry when the sun
broke through the clouds and the trees in perfect
light and made us compltely forget about what we
missed and made us really appreciate what we had -
especially each other's company. What birding is
really all about.

Some pictures can be seen at

Blair Bernson

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