[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon Grays Harbor trip 26 Aug 2016
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Sat Aug 27 07:25:22 PDT 2016
A nice group of Seattle Audubon folks took a trip yesterday to the Grays
Harbor area. We started out early heading south with clear skies and warm
temperatures (70F for dawn). Around Tacoma we picked up ROCK PIGEON,
EUROPEAN STARLING, CANADA GOOSE and AMERICAN CROW. Along the way to Aberdeen
we picked up EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE and a probable SHARP-SHINNED HAWK
dropped down into the grass after prey (couldn't stop). We met up with
people in Aberdeen and saw BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE.
We then headed out to Bottle Beach arriving just after high tide. Along the
boardwalk we found a CEDAR WAXWING on the nest and in the willows a flock of
BUSHTIT and a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. At the beach were pleasantly surprised to
see many shorebirds. We scanned the flocks and saw BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERs,
SEMI-PALMATED PLOVERs, a single BLACK TURNSTONE, LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN
SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERs, a couple of LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERs, lots
of RING-BILLED GULLs, a few GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLs and hybrids, a single
CASPIAN TERN, a GREAT BLUE HERON, COMMON LOON, SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERs
and in the distance an OSPREY. A few BARN SWALLOWs were present and a single
female RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD.
Around to Westport and Float 21 by the Coast Guard Station - the huge
MARBLED GODWIT flock was on the rocky jetty and nicely, right down at the
waterline and separated was the BAR-TAILED GODWIT (white underparts and
white supercilium really stood out among the more colored Marbleds). Mixed
in with the Godwits were many, many HEERMANN'S GULLs. Further out on the
float were two more groups of Heermann's, and across the harbor was another
huge flock of Heermann's and the jetty was likewise covered by Heermann's
(we estimated about 700). Also present were 108 BROWN PELICANs, a GREAT BLUE
HERON, a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and a bunch of GLAUCOUS-WINGED/hybrid and
CALIFORNIA GULLs and a couple of WESTERN GULLs.
At the public viewing platform at the north end of the marina we had nice
close looks at a BLACK TURNSTONE and SURF BIRD on the rocks just below us.
On one of the channel markers were PELAGIC CORMORANTs and a couple of
BRANDT'S CORMORANTs. We also saw COMMON LOON, RED-NECKED GREBE, PIGEON
GUILLEMOT, many COMMON MURREs, a couple of RHINOCEROS AUKLETs, the most
striking sight was a miles long stream of SOOTY SHEARWATERs (both on the
surface and streaming out the channel - we estimated up to 10,000).
We then made our way around Grays Harbor on our way to Ocean Shores. As the
temperature had climbed to 83F, we made our lunch stop at Ocean City State
Park and shade. While eating we had GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and BUSHTIT. Even
though we were close to low tide we made a quick stop at the access point to
Bill's Spit - sure enough there were nothing but mudflats with a few CANADA
GEESE and lots of gulls.
At the base of Damon Point there was a huge feeding frenzy of gulls on small
fish. Also present were COMMON LOON, RED-THROATED LOON, PIGEON GUILLEMOT,
COMMON MURRE, and RHINOCEROS AUKLET. We went on to the Point Brown jetty
(where the temperature dropped to a very comfortable 72F), but between the
crashing waves and people there were no birds on the jetty. Just up the
beach was a flock of SANDERLINGs (walking down to the waterline there was a
dead RHINOCEROUS AUKLET). Up on the jetty we saw SOOTY SHEARWATERs moving
out the channel, a female SURF SCOTER, COMMON MURREs.
On the way home we stopped by the Hoquiam Treatment Plant ponds (inland the
temperature had climbed to 88F). There we saw MALLARDs, NORTHERN PINTAIL,
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER (a single female), a single KILLDEER, a
single SPOTTED SANDPIPER, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS and
most unusual feeding on a mudflat was a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD. An OSPREY was
on the nest, and a NORTHERN HARRIER dropped by briefly. Some BARN SWALLOWs
and a couple of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH flew over.
At various spots during the day we also saw TURKEY VULTURE, BALD EAGLE,
RED-TAILED HAWK, STELLER'S JAY, COMMON RAVEN, AMERICAN ROBIN, SAVANNAH
SPARROWs, SONG SPARROW.
All in all a very nice day with many great views, but most people agreed the
Sooty Shearwater flock and the Bar-tailed Godwit were the highlights. We
wound up the day with 15 species of shorebirds and a total of 65 species.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc a t iso media dot com
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