[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon 29 Sept Grays Harbor trip
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Wed Sep 30 14:21:52 PDT 2015
Yesterday, Seattle Audubon took a trip down to the Ocean Shores area. The
day started out early but clear and chilly (45F). We went past the
horrendous backup on I-5 northbound just south of 520 - looked like they
were starting to get a few cars thru. Traffic was relatively light all the
way to Olympia (our first restroom break). Along the way we picked up a
couple of AMERICAN CROWs and a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. Just west of the
McClary turnoff we had two COMMON RAVENs flying down the road, followed
almost immediately by another crow.
Because of the tides we bypassed the Hoquiam Ponds on the way out, with our
first stop at the Ocean Shores STP access to the Oyhut Game Range - as we
passed Bowerman Basin a RED-TAILED HAWK flew up into a tree. The day
remained clear and gradually warmed to near 70F. Five EURASIAN
COLLARED-DOVEs perched on the wires as we drove out toward the Game Range.
Even though there was a 0 low tide and we were less than half way to high
tide, with a strong east wind the water was way up on the shore. We walked
out to where we could see the normal mudflats - almost no mud visible. There
were a couple of distant gulls, about 3 GREAT BLUE HERONs and no shorebirds,
but 5 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE flew over. As we walked back toward the
STP we flushed a small bird - it flew about 10 feet and landed. It was a
non-breeding plumage female LAPLAND LONGSPUR that stuck around about 15 feet
in front of us for almost 5 minutes. It even turned to show us all sides
with the face pattern, the rusty coverts and the brownish tones. We flushed
about 5 more Longspurs on our walk back. The bay had a COMMON LOON and
WESTERN GREBE, and the rocks had several DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTs.
We took a lunch break at the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center (closed during
the week this time of year), but they were working on the Center and let us
inside. When we finished lunch we had more GREAT BLUE HERONs fly over and a
raptor flew into a tree - thru the scope it was a PEREGRINE FALCON. A quick
stop at the entrance to Damon Point and we had a couple of RED-THROATED
LOONs and another WESTERN GREBE. As we drove up to the Ocean Shores STP a
small flock of AMERICAN PIPITs was on the ground - we managed to get
reasonably good looks, the STP gave us KILLDEER, LEAST, WESTERN and BAIRD'S
SANDPIPERS, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS (and hybrids), MALLARDs, GADWALL and
AMERICAN WIGEON. Back around to the North Jetty with the tide quite high and
big waves breaking over the jetty - no rocky shorebirds, but a couple of
Cormorants on top and two SANDERLINGs just north of the jetty. When we moved
on top of the jetty to scan the channel and out to sea we had SURF SCOTERs,
PELAGIC CORMORANTs, a WESTERN GREBE, a BROWN PELICAN a COMMON MURRE and
some very distant SOOTY SHEARWATERs.
A quick stop at Ocean City State Park let us see two PIED-BILLED GREBEs on
the entrance pond, but the park only yielded GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETs - they
flew off but we managed to find them again and one had his crown fully
extended - brilliant orange-red. We stopped at the Hoquiam Sewer Ponds and
saw CANADA GOOSE, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, NORTHERN SHOVELER,
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, gulls (GLAUCOUS-WINGED, CALIFORNIA, WESTERN and
HEERMANN'S). Trying to hide in the weeds were a couple of LONG-BILLED
DOWITCHERs and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS.
Along the way we saw ROCK PIGEON, STELLER'S JAY, more AMERICAN CROWs,
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, AMERICAN ROBIN, EUROPEAN
STARLINGs (lots), and SAVANNAH SPARROW.
It was a pleasant day with great weather and a good group.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc at iso media dot com
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