[Tweeters] Gray's Harbor and Pacific County
paul.webster at comcast.net
Tue Apr 24 12:01:54 PDT 2007
On Sunday and Monday (April 22 and 23) Barbara and I sandwiched in some birding with family business on the Long Beach Peninsula. We did the eastern part of the Brady Loop, stopped again at the delta of the Palix & Niawaukum Rivers at Bay Center in Pacific County, got in a late afternoon walk on the beach north of Ocean Park, an early morning walk on the same beach with a brief check of the shore at Oysterville, and then birded the north shore of Willapa Bay from the North River to Tokeland sort of on the way back to Seattle.
The shorebird migration is in full swing, though a couple of species weren't present in large numbers -- perhaps they've already gone through or haven't arrived yet: Western Sandpipers (about 50 seen) were present in only handfuls in huge flocks of Dunlin (5000+) and Sanderlings (1,000+), and we managed to spot only four Whimbrels. But at least a thousand dowitchers were present on the ocean beaches and on the north shore of Willapa Bay, most of those we scoped seemed to be Short-billed, and in the dowitcher flocks near the mouth of the North River we picked out four Red Knots. This is a spot that knots have liked in the past, so we figured that most knots still haven't arrived yet. Other birds present in good numbers were Greater Yellowlegs (about 50 seen), and Black-bellied Plovers (about 1,000 birds is our guess). We were at Tokeland just before high tide yesterday, and found four Marbled Godwits at the marina with around eighty dowitchers, otherwise we saw around a dozen MAGOs between the North River and Tokeland, and about the same number at Graveyard Spit (off Fischer Ave in Tokeland), so it seemed that many MAGOs that wintered at Tokeland have already left for points north. We saw about two dozen Least Sandpipers in small numbers on the Brady Loop and near Oysterville, and a flock of 20 Black Turnstones heading north flew past us on the beach near Ocean Park.
Other birds of interest were fifty Band-tailed Pigeons near the west end of the Wenzel Slough Rd, a Eurasian Collared-Dove on the Brady Loop, and 23 Common Loons, 16 of which were foraging in the Palix River near Bay Center.
Our best moment was Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. on the ocean beach south of the Oysterville approach: a huge mixed flock of Dunlin and Sanderlings near us rose and flew south, then turned suddenly north and we were all at once in the midst of a fantastic whirlpool of wheeling shorebirds. The experience may have lasted ten seconds, but we think the memory won't ever disappear!
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