[Tweeters] migration and spring in Port Townsend

Steve Hampton stevechampton at gmail.com
Wed Apr 7 10:26:36 PDT 2021

A few signs of migration and spring are underway here in Port Townsend. At
Point Wilson, RHINOCEROS AUKLETS (hundreds to thousands; scope needed) in
breeding plumage are usually present, either in the water or flying past.
MARBLED MURRELETS (dozens) likewise, with most of them just now coming into
breeding plumage. COMMON MURRES are limited to a small fraction of the
RHAU, and all in basic plumage.

The only grebes I've encountered are RED-NECKED (including an impressive
scattered raft of 170 last week) and HORNED (nearly all in breeding
plumage). Echoing an earlier caution on identification, of hundreds of
Horned Grebes I've seen in the area the last few weeks, I've yet to see any
I would call an Eared; they are quite scarce now. Last week there was a
raft of 50 WESTERN GREBES off Cape George. There have been few loons,

Around the Pt Wilson lighthouse, a KILLDEER is on eggs. Other birders have
reported WHIMBREL, CHIPPING SPARROW, and CALIF QUAIL from the Point in the
last week.

few TREE SWALLOWS arrived a week or so ago, with the warblers singing quite
a bit. No Barn Swallows yet; I saw one early CLIFF SWALLOW south of town at
the end of March. As of yesterday, ORANGE-CR WARBLERS seemed to arrive in
numbers, with several in song this morning around town despite the drizzle.
(pic of one at my backyard pond here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S84958849

Pugetensis WHITE-CR SPARROWS are in song everywhere, even from chimneys.
SAVANNAH SPARROWS started singing yesterday from every open field. RUFOUS
HUMMERS arrived a couple weeks ago and are pretty regular in open suburban

RED CROSSBILLS are quite limited now, I think only Type 3 around Fort
Warden; Type 4's seem to be more prevalent at Fort Flagler. PINE SISKINS
are thinning out and PURPLE FINCHES have really thinned out, at least in

One identification comment on Purple Finches -- many now are giving the
"disjunct song" (see
which can sound remarkably like Cassin's Vireo. Any heard-only CAVI now is
likely this.

Finally, my yard has been blessed with two apparent fuliginosa SOOTY FOX
SPARROWS this winter; at least one is still present. Pics contrasting it
with a paler, grayer northern Sooty are here:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S84958849. I suspect fuliginosa is quite rare
away from the outer coast, even in winter.

Here's to more migration!

good birding,

Steve Hampton
Port Townsend, WA
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