[Tweeters] Neah Bay September 28 and a.m. September 29

Jim Danzenbaker jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
Tue Sep 29 19:58:17 PDT 2015

Hi Tweeters,

Since I thought I was most of the way to Neah Bay after ending the Westport
pelagic trip on Sunday, I headed north and found that I wasn't even close
to half way but I had committed so I found myself arriving in Neah Bay at
about 8pm.

Since I had only visited Neah Bay once before (of course, it was to see the
Eurasian Hobby), I wasn't super familiar with the area but managed to hit
most spots that I remembered from last year as well as those highlighted in
the Birder's Guide to Washington and in Ryan Merrill's e-mails.. My goal
was to hopefully witness migration (Ryan Merrill reported migrating
Sandhill Cranes). I decided to get as high as I could and wait to see what
happened. On Monday morning, I was surprised to witness a huge fallout of
passerines on the east facing slope of the mountain that has an old FAA
tower located on the top. From 7:20-9:00 am, I counted the following
raining down from the sky as well as bombing from north to south along the

Varied Thrush: *637*
Hermit Thrush: 69
American Robin: 41
Pine Siskin: 88
Red Crossbill: 47
Dark-eyed Junco: 35
Golden-crowned Kinglet: 40
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: 20
Orange-crowned Warbler: 8
TENNESSEE WARBLER: 1 (perched in good sun for brief but complete view of
Yellow-rumped Warbler: 151
Black-throated Gray Warbler: 2
Yellow Warbler: 6 (*zeet* notes assumed to be Yellow Warblers)
Townsend's Warbler: 15
Golden-crowned Sparrow: 190
Fox Sparrow: 8
Red-breasted Nuthatch: 17
Northern Flicker: 2
unidentified passerine: 300
Sandhill Crane: zero

I also saw Sooty Grouse four different times on the road leading to my
lookout spot.

I then headed to the sewage treatment plan where the highlight was an adult
male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD! There was also an intriguing sparrow that got
away. I eliminated all the common species so was left with a big question
mark. The harbor held a nice selection of ducks and grebes including at
least 10 Red-necxked Grebe, 3 Blue-winged Teal, several Rhino Auklets, and
a single LONG-TAILED DUCK. Didn't know if the Long-tailed Duck was on the
early side.

I then visited Cape Flattery and viewed several Gray Whales as well as at
least 3 distant Humpback Whales. A flock of 35 Black Oystercatchers was
interesting - probably the largest flock I've ever seen (eclipsed by the 94
reported by Bob B. at Swinomish Channel). Sooty Shearwaters were working
the water beyond Tatoosh Island but the lighting was horrible.

*A note: *At the Cape Flattery viewing platform, I had the immense pleasure
of meeting and speaking with Spencer, a representative of the Macah Nation
who works for the Macah Nation Museum and is stationed at the platform 6
days a week answering tourist questions and talking about the Macah Nation
and its strong ties to the wildlife, Tatoosh Island, etc. I really enjoyed
that and I recommend anybody visiting the viewing platform to engage him in

I ended Monday scoping the strait east of Neah Bay. Numerous Harlequin
Ducks, Marbled Murrelets and Pigeon Guillemots were nice. Two flyby
Parasitic Jaegers (one all dark one was shadowing a lone Sooty Shearwater)
were new for the day. While watching the second jaeger, a flock of 8 white
birds flew by in the background. These turned out to be 8 Snow Geese which
landed in the strait. I thought that was strange.

This morning, I hoped for a repeat performance on the east slope of the
mountain but not much going on although I did count 51 Varied Thrushes in
my 45 minute watch. Only 6 individual warblers - all Yellow-rumps. I then
headed to Cape Flattery again and enjoyed the distant shearwater show which
included several Pink-footed Shearwaters and one Northern Fulmar and a
flyby Parasitic Jaeger. Several probable Short-tailed Shearwaters too but
not definite on those. It was pretty windy at the viewing platform so I
didn't stay long. I headed home at 10am.

I ended up with a load of new Neah Bay birds since I only had 4 on my list
before: Hobby, Tropical Kingbird, Orchard Oriole, and Peregrine - didn't
remember anything else from the whirlwind trip last Fall. However, the
pleasure of birding the area outweighed the new *ticks*.

It was a fun trip and I hope to do it again!

Keep your eyes and ears skyward.

Jim Danzenbaker
Battle Ground, WA
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
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