[Tweeters] Central Puget Sound near Bainbridge Island

Brad Waggoner wagtail at sounddsl.com
Mon Nov 15 19:49:17 PST 2004


I have enjoyed some recent posts by Matt Bartels (Discovery Park) and Bill
Shelmerdine (a good day on South Puget Sound). Since I take my boat out
occasionally to check the waters around Bainbridge Island, I thought I could
share some of my experience with water-bird distribution at least in my
local waters.

"Rock-loving" Shorebirds - Matt, we are "hogging" a good portion of these
shorebirds over here in Bainbridge waters, as good numbers can be found at
Restoration Point and on Blakely Rock. Unfortunately both places are not
very accessible. This past Friday I had 500-Dunlin, 150-Black Turnstones,
100-Surfbirds, and 3(!)-Rock Sandpipers on Blakely Rock. They seem to
congregate during high tide and then disperse from "the rock" as the tide
recedes. This area of the Island also holds good numbers of Common Scoters
and Harlequin Ducks. By the way Matt, I also had "the pod" of Orcas near
Jeff Head on Friday - pretty incredible!

Cormorants - In general, we seem to get equal numbers of all three species
of cormorants around the Island. However, Brandt's tends to be nonexistent
on the West-side whereas Double-crested and Pelagic are quite common.
Although we can find both Double-crested and Pelagic on the East-side there
are times when hundreds of Brandt's can be found on and around Blakely Rock.

Alcids - Pigeon Guillemot is the most common alcid around Bainbridge Island
with the biggest concentration in the Agate Pass area. Although I typically
can count on finding Common Murres and Rhinoceros Auklets (primarily on the
East-side) they are generally in small numbers (1-10 of each). Interestingly
though, at times I do find Common Murres in large numbers between Port
Madison (Southeast side of the Island) and Jeff Head to the North. A few
weeks back I had close to 1,000 murres. Ancient Murrelets are just not very
reliable. We have found them recently (mostly as fly-byes) from a shoreline
near Restoration Point. I have also had them recently in the Jeff Head area
. Marbled Murrelets are even more difficult to find than Ancient Murrelets.
I found one last Friday on the West-side of the Island for only my second
record for this year. With Matt's alcid results this morning off of
Discovery Park, it seems that the waters to the North (Point no Point) and
perhaps waters to the South (Luhr Beach) are much more productive for alcid
viewing. I saw two Parasitic Jaegers (late?) on Saturday off of Point no
Point amongst the hundreds of Bonaparte's Gulls so as usual there is no
shortage of bird activity up there.

Three other water-birds deserve mentioning for Bainbridge Island as they all
can be reliably found on the West-side near Agate Pass. A very large
concentration (several hundred) Pacific Loons spend the winter on this side
of the Island. It is awesome to see them in alternate plumage when they
first arrive. Eared Grebes (10 +-) winter near Manzanita Bay. Long-tailed
Duck have arrived and I had a dozen or so on Friday. Much higher numbers of
Long-tailed Ducks can be found later in the winter.

I took my boat out last Friday afternoon hoping to stumble upon the Leach's
Storm-Petrel that Bill had on Thursday down in the South Sound. Even though
I didn't find the Storm-Petrel it was still a rewarding time out on the
water. It is always interesting.

Good Birding.

Brad Waggoner
Bainbridge Island, WA
mailto:wagtail at sounddsl.com

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