[Tweeters] White Pelicans at Portage Island, near Bellingham

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Mon May 16 00:41:52 PDT 2022


Today, I tried to bird Whatcom County despite rapidly changing weather. The
morning was largely a washout due to steady but not heavy rain. However, by
2 PM, the rain stopped, the ceiling lifted, the water was flat, and
visibility became very good.

At about 4 PM, I was driving down Lummi Shore Road on the west side of
Bellingham Bay, on my way to Portage Point, an eBird hotspot. At this
point, there are several low sandbars offshore which are above water most of
the time. I got a big surprise when I found 4 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS near
the end of one of the sandbars. This is a rare bird in Whatcom County; they
were probably stragglers from the pelican flock that has summered on and
near Whidbey Island for the last 5 years or so. There were large numbers of
other birds on the sandbar, including 145 CASPIAN TERNS, 60 DOUBLE-CRESTED
CORMORANTS, and numerous gulls, scoters, etc.

In winter, this area usually has hundreds of Brant, scoters, etc. It is
always worth a quick stop if you are driving by.

A short time earlier, I had good birding near the Marine Drive bridge over
the Nooksack River near its mouth. There were oodles of song birds including

By way of an anticlimax, when I left Portage Point at about 5 PM, I ended up
driving through one of the most torrential rainstorms I have ever seen in BC
or Washington, which lasted at least 45 minutes. My timing was fortuitous.
If I had been on Lummi Shore Road 90 minutes later, I wouldn't have been
able to see the sandbar, let alone the pelicans!

Good luck and good birding,

Wayne Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

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