[Tweeters] RE Bottle Beach shorebirds vs the tides

William Driskell bdriskell at comcast.net
Sat Aug 11 13:13:53 PDT 2018

Responding to Scott's comment:   "For a change, I managed to time a
visit to Bottle Beach correctly and spent close to an hour watching a
nice collection of birds and their antics as the tide came in."  Here's
some advice regarding tides at this site.  I have found that visiting
the Bottle Beach site as it floods at a +4-5 ft level is when the birds
are beginning to be pushed into reasonable viewing distance; obviously
at a +6 ft tide stage, they will be even closer but may not remain in
front of your viewing patch.  I have no suggestion for falling tides as
I haven't hung around to know if/when the birds may return from their
roosts to resume feeding.

Proudly wearing my science nerd  button, I mention these details as, 
more than a couple times, I have encountered birders at this location
using either random timing (hoping to get lucky) or relying on some
anecdotal suggestion (e.g., two hours before/after high tide)--which is
just as (in)effective.  The data: At the nearby Westport tidal
instrument, observed extreme tides are +12.6 and -3.6 ft with an average
daily tidal range of 7.01 ft.  These highs and lows are mostly driven by
the moon, sun  and the rhythmic slop of the water within Gray's Harbor
basin (called "seiche modal oscillations" in nerd-speak)--but the
relevant detail is that they occur at different heights and in a later
hour each day.  Also, the RANGE of the tide change will determine the
RATE of flooding /falling. Thus, without consulting the tide chart (NOT
just scanning high and low tide times), the high likelihood of missing
the viewing window almost guarantees disappointment.

In summary: Before venturing to the Bottle Beach (or any coastal
location), my suggestion would be to visit almost any online tide CHART
site, such as the official NOAA page for Bay City, South Bay at
and see when the rising tide will be reaching +5 ft.   There's also a
ton of tide apps for you 'phonies.  Leave early, do Brady loop and crow
to your fellow birders about your expertly timed, wildly successful trip.

Oh yeah--those were really nice shots, Scott!

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