[Tweeters] Cape Flattery Horned Puffin and other coastal highlights
cameron_cox at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 14 11:28:46 PDT 2006
This past Sunday, the 11th, Jessie Barry and I left Seattle for several days
of birding on the coast. We did not have internet access so this is the
first opportunity to post our highlights.
We drove out to Cape Flattery, birding a bit on the way out. We did some
seawatching at Cape Flattery on the evening of the 10th, spent the night in
Neah Bay, and did some more seawatching the next morning. We then headed
south, making a stop at the Hoh Rainforest, spending Monday night at Ocean
Shores. Ocean Shores was not very bird when we birded it on the afternoon
of the 11th or the morning of the 12th. When it continued to be
unproductive on the morning of the 12th, we got the picture and headed for
Tokeland. We were more successful at Tokeland and later at Westport. We
birded Westport the afternoon of the 12th and a little in the morning on the
13th before heading back to Seattle.
HORNED PUFFIN- Bird of the trip from a rarity standpoint. Seen on the
evening of 09/10. I spotted a large black-and-white alcid flying towards
Tatoosh Island and yelled out directions to the bird for Jessie. She was on
it immediately and we watched it for a short period before in disappeared
behind the island. Just before it disappeared, it twisted toward us so we
could see the sharply defined white belly and crisp, black chest-strap.
Both of us jumped up and started jumping up-and-down and yelling, which was
not very smart considering we were right on the edge of a cliff!
Tufted Puffin- Many. On Monday morning we had 14 different sightings of at
least 10 individuals though we never saw more than 3-4 at once.
Red-necked Phalarope- Hundreds in the water surrounding the island.
Sooty Shearwater- My highlight for the trip was watching all the shearwaters
in flight. I spent long periods both at Flattery and later in Westport just
watching the show. Hundreds were visible from the cape on Monday morning.
Pink-footed Shearwater-5- All on Monday morning and only around quite early,
none were seen mid-morning. No small black-and-white shearwaters.
Pomarine Jaeger-2- An adult on Sunday evening and a subadult on Monday. I
was surprised that we didnt see more jaegers. We did not see Fulmar,
Sabines Gull, or Black-legged Kittiwake either. I thought we had a
reasonable chance of seeing these species.
Anyone who has been here knows we went to see the incredible scenery, not
the birds. Our only bird highlight was a female Sooty Grouse on the Hall of
Very slow as I said before. Strong winds and low visibility. The most
interesting bird was a juv Semipalmated Sandpiper at the water treatment
plant on 09/11. There were a total of 6 shorebirds at the plant, 3
Killdeer, 2 Western Sandpipers, and the Semipalmated.
Marbled Godwit-300-We had fun watching the flock, but no Bar-tailed. There
were 11 Willets but no curlews of any kind.
Just south of Tokeland was a large flock ducks. Many Pintail (~800) and
Wigeon (~300). There was one Eurasian hybrid in the flock. The hybrid was
in almost complete basic plumage (the colorful plumage held in winter) while
all the American Wigeon were in alternate plumage (dull plumage, also called
eclipse). All the wigeon were adult males and the Americans had striking
bright, brick red flanks and were quite attractive though this is usually
thought of as the dull plumage.
American Golden-Plover- 2 juvs on the beach in the cove behind the jetty in
Westhaven St. Park. Hoped they would be Pacific but was disappointed.
Seeing any Golden-Plover is always a treat.
Red Phalarope-Adult in basic- sitting on the beach in the same cove as the
plovers. It was not doing so well but could still fly. I wonder if another
Red Phalarope wreck event will occur this year like last year.
Sooty Shearwater- Big movement on the morning of the 13th. Close to 10,000
per hour by our count! Awesome.
Quote of the trip: Jessie Barry on Bottle Beach trail, through a mouth
stuffed with blackberries: How did I miss these on the way in!
More information about the Tweeters