9/7/02 field Trip to Coast (long)

B. A. Wolfe gismybabe at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 8 12:27:16 PDT 2002

Hi tweets,

Yesterday (9/7/02) my wife and I took our field trip with Seattle Audubon's Master Birder, Jim Flynn. He taught the "Identifying Fall Shorebirds" class at the Center for Urban(e) Horticulture the past 2 weeks, and the field trip to the coast was awesome!

First stop was the Hoquiam STP (birders go to the most wonderful smelling places sometimes!). We saw just a couple of birds, like 2 KILLDEER, 1 SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS and a flock of 18 BROWN PELICANS that flew over. Then, I spotted another flock of birds which turned out to be 17LONG-BILLED CURLEWS. We went to the Bay side of the STP and were able to observe the Curlews feeding and preening. We also noted a number of CALIFORNIA GULLS.

Next stop on the trip was Ocosta 3rd Road, but it was pretty dry, and we saw few species, mostly SAVANNAH SPARROWS, BARN SWALLOWS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, MARSH WREN, a VAUX'S SWIFT and a couple of the usual sparrow/finch/starling suspects.

After that, we headed to the Westport Jetty. We had pretty fair luck. Flocks of pelicans are everywhere. We also noted single specimens of WANDERING TATTLER, and BLACK TURNSTONE. On the water we ID'd COMMON MURRE, BRANDT'S CORMORANT, RED-THROATED LOON, and a lone RHINOCEROS AUKLET(!). There was also a CASPIAN TERN flying over.

We then headed down to Tokeland. There was some dredging going on, and that took some of our hope away, but on one of the docks, some 270+ MARBLED GODWITS and 2 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS were roosting. On the other side of the road is a house with an old dock and some pilings, and there were 14 WILLETS, 2 WHIMBREL and a good number of HEERMAN'S GULLS. A flock of 7 BLACK TURNSTONE'S flew by, but when we wandered over to the beach to try to see them, we only saw a lone Whimbrel foraging amongst the muck. We also spotted a NORTHERN HARRIER flying over.

Our next to last stop was down Warrenton Cannery Road, and we had quite good luck here. There were 15+ SANDERLING sprinting up and down the shore, foraging and trying to stay out of the waves. That was the only shorebird. Further out though, we noted SURF SCOTER, RED-THROATED LOON, PACIFIC LOON (male in breeding plumage), SOOTY SHEARWATERS COMMON MURRE and a diving CASPIAN TERN. This was a great spot and we had good fun spotting all of the pelagic species so close to shore.

Last, we went to Midway Beach. Again, mostly just SANDERLING, and lots of them. Two seperate groups of 25+ birds each mostly roosting, as well as a number feeding at waters edge. The best part of this stop were 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS swooping and diving. Great fun to watch.

So, we had a great field trip and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the nice variety of birds, even though we didn't see as many shorebirds and plovers as we would have liked. Good birding!

Brett A. Wolfe gismybabe at yahoo.com Seattle, WA

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