[Tweeters] Lots of activity at Admiralty Inlet - especially shearwaters

BRAD Liljequist bradliljequist at msn.com
Fri Oct 29 21:45:19 PDT 2021

Spurred by shearwater reports previously - many thanks!!

Had a great day of birding and cetacean viewing today. Came up from Seattle via the Clinton ferry - stopped briefly at Double Bluff Beach, enough to see there were lots of loons and scoters down towards the 1st bluff. This is an underrated birding/walk with easy access for a quick trip from Seattle. Tempting though it was, I kept moving, since I really wanted to get up to the area between Fort Casey and Point Wilson.

I swung by Crockett Lake to look at a couple hundred peeps. Dunlin, Westerns and Leasts, and a single lonely greater yellowlegs.

Kept moving to get to the Sound - report of shearwaters had me motivated. Pretty quickly I could see them far off, mainly on the PT side. There was plenty going on nearshore, with a sea lion flailing a Chinook to get bite size chunks. A bunch of seabirds were surrounding it, and I was treated to close, from above, well lit views of a pair of Ancient Murrelets diving for scraps - really special view I won't forget soon. It is fun to compare the jizz of the Ancients and Marbleds - more assertive/aggressive vs plucky. At least in this setting.

I turned my attention to the shearwaters again, and when I saw a line of 40 do a far off fly by of Point Wilson, I knew it was time to get over there.

The ferry ride was lovely. Mellow seas, good light. I finally had my wish and a fly by of seven shearwaters about 200 yards off the bow. (Note I don't want to make a call on Sooty vs Short tailed - just not enough experience or resolution). Also, many Common Murres.

Out at Pt. Wilson, lots going on. About ten Orca headed northbound mid sound, and later I got a very clear Minke southbound, surfacing twice - nice to see.

But the main event were the shearwaters. LOTS of shearwaters. I would estimate I saw 300-400 over 2.5 hours. I have no idea how many were the same, but they were almost entirely southbound, so probably not many. I saw two separate groups of 35-40. Even with an excellent scope, I only had a half dozen which got close enough to see head detail, and all of those seemed to have the steeper pitched forehead of the Short tailed.

I have to say - what a superb bird.

Other fun stuff, lots of loons, 19 Brant in a tight V headed south (FOY), one Parasitic Jaeger. Also, nice closeups of the local Cooper's terrorizing the inshore LBB population at the Point.

Gorgeous light today. Cold temps allowed clear views all the way across.

I'd say get up there and check it out tomorrow - supposed to be a beautiful day!

Brad Liljequist
Phinney Ridge, Seattle
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