[Tweeters] Cape Flattery Horned Puffin and other coastal highlights

Cameron Cox 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.

Bird highlights:
Cape Flattery-
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 didn’t see more jaegers.  We did not see Fulmar, 
Sabine’s Gull, or Black-legged Kittiwake either.  I thought we had a 
reasonable chance of seeing these species.

Hoh Rainforest-
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 
Mosses trail.

Ocean Shores-
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!”

Good Birding,
Cameron Cox
Seattle, WA

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