[Tweeters] Neah Bay 16-17 Sep - Lucy's Warbler, Clay-colored Sparrow

Ryan Merrill rjm284 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 17 23:17:22 PDT 2015

I spent the past couple days birding Neah Bay where the obvious huge
highlight was the Lucy's Warbler. The weather was drier than expected,
though I was surprised to find mosquitoes out in force in much of the area.
Birding in general was really good, with migrants around most places I
looked, several fun surprises, and 116 species overall.

Here are the highlights:

Cackling Goose - 1, the only goose of the trip was a 'minima' by the town
boat launch on 9/16

Eared Grebe - 2 with over 200 Horned Grebes in the bay 9/16

Sandhill Crane - multiple flocks migrating south on 9/16 with 28 birds seen
plus another flock only heard

Pacific Golden-Plover - a long-winged bright juv at Hobuck Beach on 9/16.
The same bird had moved down to Tsoo-Yess Beach on 9/17.

Marbled Godwit - 3 in town 9/16

Surfbird - 36 on the marina breakwater 9/16

Pectoral Sandpiper - 1 at the sewage treatment plant 9/16

Long-billed Dowitcher - 2 roosting at Hobuck Beach 9/17

Gulls included 2 Ring-billeds, 10 Herrings, a couple Herring x
Glaucous-winged hybrids, and a Thayer's. No kittiwakes of any kind for me.

Barn Owl - 1 hunting the Wa'atch Valley at dawn 9/17

Great Horned Owl - 1 hooting from the hillside north of the Wa'atch Valley
around noon on 9/16 and again at dawn on 9/17

Black Swift - 8 south of town 9/16

Hutton's Vireo - 6 total

Lapland Longspur - 3 Hobuck Beach, 1 Tsoo-Yess Beach, and 3 Wa'atch Valley
(likely the Hobuck birds) on 9/17

LUCY'S WARBLER - 1 just past (west of) the sewage treatment plant along the
road on 9/16. The coordinates for the exact row of trees are 48.348789,
-124.661905. I had only seen a couple in my life before this bird so it
took me awhile to figure out what I was looking at. Initially I thought I
was seeing a weird kinglet! Fortunately this bird was much more cooperative
than the previous Washington Lucy's Warbler, staying in view for nearly ten
minutes. I did get some photos that I'll try to get posted soon. I checked
the area briefly today without finding it. Many of the warblers that were
near it were still there, though the kinglets and chickadees weren't. I
very easily could have missed it or it could have moved a short distance
and still be around.

Among the other warblers, Yellow and Black-throated Gray were the most
common, followed by Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, and just one Audubon's Warbler.

Chipping Sparrow - 1 mostly basic adult behind the transfer station 9/16

CLAY-COLORED SPARROW - east edge of town along Ba'adah Village Loop Rd near
the water's edge with a bunch of other sparrows on 9/16. Neah Bay is
quickly becoming the best place in western Washington for finding
Clay-colored Sparrows and seems even better than the Upper Skagit Valley.

Savannah Sparrow - A few hundred, including an impressive concentration of
at least 80 birds feeding around a pile of rotting seaweed on the northern
part of Tsoo-Yess Beach

Good birding,
Ryan Merrill
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