[Tweeters] Northern Shrike at Ocean Shores 7-6-05

Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan godwit513 at msn.com
Fri Jul 7 00:01:19 PDT 2006

Hello Tweets,

Today we enjoyed a rewarding memorable day birding at Ocean Shores with good calm conditions all day with several highlights of note! To begin we discovered a juvenile NORTHERN SHRIKE at the Oyhut Wildlife Area(accessed behind the Ocean Shores STEP and walking north of the fluorescent navigation tower). The bird was viewed only briefly between 12pm-12:30pm,but was clearly a juvenile bird due to the overall dull,dingy plumage. This was an extreme surprise for us,which may represent the first summer record for Northern Shrike in Washington to date! There is a "questionable summer record on the 23rd of July,1968 at McNary published in "Birds of Washington" Status and Distribution by Wahl,Tweit and Mlodinow so that is the only other record we are aware of for the summer season. Whatever the case it was an exciting bird to see,but it's overall behavior was less than cooperative due to it being quite skulky and shy,as it perched from several driftwood snags and outcroppings. We did mange to get 3 very poor quality photos of the bird for proof and some type of documentation beyond what we will describe of the bird.

Overall the bird was very dirty,drab brownish-gray with grayer areas on the head,but the mantle showed definite black on the wings with an brownish-gray back contrasting to the blackish mask extending from behind the eye to the bill. The birds upperparts were also very dingy brown-gray overall contrasting well with fairly pale underparts with very fine barring on the breast,which is not at all visible in our photos of the bird. We were able to get good scope views of the bird,as it flew around from snag to snag. Additionally,the bird showed a rather heavy,fairly long straight bill and a long tail. We watched the bird for 30 minutes until the bird dropped out of view and could not be relocated even after we made a thorough check of the immediate area. We were happy to get what photos we did of the bird due to the distance and the elusiveness of the bird. The question is where did this bird come from and how did it make it all the way south from nesting grounds in northern British Columbia and Alaska? Whatever the case it was an interesting sighting for July in Washington! We have placed 3 very poor and blurry photos of the Northern Shrike onto our website for your viewing,which can be accessed at the following link: http://www.pbase.com/godwit/recent_photos/ . More photos from additional highlights from today will be placed onto our website tomorrow!

Away from the Northern Shrike birding conditions at Ocean Shores were fairly slow,but a steady increase of southbound shorebird migration was evident,which was our primary goal of the trip. We began the day at the Ocean Shores STP,where we encountered our first and largest concentrations of adult Western Sandpipers with a total of 400+ birds noted that all gathered along the edges of 2 of the 3 main ponds within the complex. After checking all the 3 ponds thoroughly we birded the Ocean Shores Jetty with a thorough,productive scoping made from the tip of the jetty for 2 hours before checking the outer beaches north to Marine View Drive. After checking the outer beaches with little activity noted we drove straight to the Oyhut WA by birding the entire area to the west end of Damon Point on foot during outgoing tide. We then drove to Bill's Spit and encountered a good gathering of gulls along with a small assortment of shorebirds including 7 LONG-BILLED CURLEWS,15 Whimbrel and 7 Greater Yellowlegs. After birding Bill's Spit and getting excellent photos of both the Long-billed Curlews and Whimbrel we traveled over to Damon Point and walked to the Damon Point"pond". Upon our approach to the "pond" via the beach area we noticed 3 signs placed just west of the pond indicating nesting are for Snowy Plover and "Streaked"Horned Larks. These signs were not here when we visited this location in May,but they were placed by the Washington State Parks,as indicated on them. The signs indicate not to walk past tem in a sandy,partially vegetated area west of the pond,but we did not see any other signs placed up anywhere else along the southern border of the pond,etc. and we don't know how beneficial they will be to ordinary people visiting the area this summer. After a slow visit to Damon Point we made our last stop of the day nicely along the outer beaches at the Marine View Drive beach access between 5pm-6:45pm. It was a nice way to end our day with a good assortment of species and a great sunset!

Good numbers of Common Murres were very prevalent in offshore waters between the mouth of Grays Harbor north to the Butter Clam Street beach access,where they were noted in large rafts,as well as flying to and from feeding/nesting areas. Smaller numbers of Rhinoceros Auklets were also in good supply,especially during our evening visit to the outer beaches. Sooty Shearwater numbers were still apparent with greatest numbers noted during our evening visit to the Marine View beach access. Here,we encountered numbers varying from 75-125 birds per minute flying south. Earlier in the day Sooty Shearwater numbers were very few off the Ocean Shores Jetty with approximately 40 birds noted.Brown Pelican and Heermann's Gull numbers were noted in smaller numbers than our previous visit on the 25th of June.

A list of additional noteworthy species encountered during the day at Ocean Shores and surrounding areas include the following:

Red-throated Loon
3 off the Ocean Shores Jetty
2 off the Driftwood Drive beach access
4 at the Oyhut Wildlife Area
8 at Damon Point

Pacific Loon
3 off the Driftwood Drive beach access

Common Loon
5 at the Oyhut WA

Western Grebe
1 off the Marine View Drive beach access

Northern Pintail
3 at the Ocean Shores STP

Northern Shoveler
1 female with 4 young at the Ocean Shores STP

Ring-necked Duck
1 lingering male at he Cabana Pond(Ocean Shores)

Greater Scaup
12(with 2 Lesser Scaup)at the Hoquiam STP
1 at the Oyhut WA

Black Scoter
1 female at the Oyhut WA

Surf Scoter
4 off the Ocean Shores Jetty
47 at the Oyhut WA

White-winged Scoter
5 off the Ocean Shores Jetty
9 at the Oyhut WA
2 at Damon Point

Red-breasted Merganser
3 off the Marine View Drive beach access

1 pair at a nestsite at the Hoquiam STP
3 at the Oyhut WA and the Ocean Shores Marina

Semipalmated Plover
7 at the Oyhut WA
4 at Bill's Spit

15 at Bill's Spit
1 along the outer beaches at the Marine View Drive beach access

3(with 4 Black Turnstones)at the Ocean Shores Jetty

1 at the Ocean Shores Jetty
1 along the outer beaches between Driftwood Drive and Marine View Drive

Western Sandpiper
400+ at the Ocean Shores STP
20 at the Ocean Shores Jetty
35(with 16 Least Sandpipers)at the Oyhut WA
55 at Bill's Spit
15 along the outer beaches between Driftwood Drive and Marine View Drive

Red-necked Phalarope
7 off the Ocean Shores Jetty
65+ off the outer beaches between Driftwood Drive and Marine View Drive

PARASITIC JAEGER(noteworthy date)
1 adult bird off the Ocean Shores Jetty

Marbled Murrelet
6 off the Ocean Shores Jetty
2 off the Marine View Drive beach access

Tufted Puffin
1 off the Marine View Drive beach access

Anna's Hummingbird
1 near Bill's Spit

Rufous Hummingbird
1 female-type bird observed flying off the tip of the Ocean Shores Jetty then continuing westward for approximately 20 yards before flying straight north along the outer beaches

Olive-sided Flycatcher
3 birds near Bill's Spit

Western Scrub Jay
2 birds along Hwy.12 at Satsop

Warbling Vireo
1 near Bill's Spit

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
godwit513 at msn.com

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