[Tweeters] Sage Thrasher - Westport

B & P Bell bellasoc at isomedia.com
Sun Apr 29 19:24:01 PDT 2007

Hi Tweets

Rachel Lawson, Phil Kelly and I led 12 people on the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival trip today to Westport and vicinity. Sunny all day, but with stiff winds all day. The highlight of the day was a SAGE THRASHER that popped up near the base of the South Jetty at Westhaven State Park. As we were approaching the jetty area a bird hopped up on one of the wood pieces that was obviously not one of the birds we would regularly expect there. My first thought was American Pipit, but it was too big, not quite the right shape and not the right color. Some other people coming up the slope flushed the bird, but we found it again about a minute later. It posed nicely for us out in the open and in full sun. Sure enough it was a SAGE THRASHER - thrasher shape, right size for Sage, yellow eye, white breast with dark spotting/marking and thrasher behaviour. We watched it for about a minute when it flew off back toward the Half Moon Bay side of the area.

The rest of the day was very nice - we started out at the Hoquiam Sewer Ponds with a nice variety of waterfowl including NORTHERN SHOVELER, MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, BUFFLEHEAD, GREATER & LESSER SCAUP, GADWALL, HOODED MERGANSER. A couple of GREATER YELLOWLEGS were over near the building. Lots of flights of shorebirds overhead. An OSPREY was on the nest near the ponds.

Next we blasted out to BottleBeach to catch the tide on the upswing. Loads of shorebirds with at least 2500 WESTERN SANDPIPERS, 2000 DUNLIN, and good numbers of LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, a few SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, about 200 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, about 3 RED KNOTS, some BLACK TURNSTONES and a single RUDDY TURNSTONE. Three MARBLED GODWITS flew over. The shorebirds were feeding and resting peacefully until a PEREGRINE FALCON made a pass thru them (unsuccessful) and they scattered. When they reformed they were in separate groups, but we got lots of good looks. Six BRANT came in and settled on the bay waaay out (almost impossible to see in the chop).

We stopped at the marina in Westport and walked out the boardwalk - several COMMON LOONS most in breeding plumage but one still in winter dress and one about half way between. Some PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, a single RED-NECKED GREBE, Eight or nine BROWN PELICANS, many WESTERN GULLS, and also CALIFORNIA, RING-BILLED, MEW and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS. As we started our walk back we had a flight of at least 9 BLACK TURNSTONES come in. When they landed we could also see 2 SURF BIRDS and a single LEAST SANDPIPER (our only one of the day). When they changed location on of them looked differently in flight - when they landed it was a nice RUDDY TURNSTONE. Eventuall we counted at least 30 BLACK TURNSTONES. At the overlook platform we got nice views of DOUBLE-CRESTED, BRANDT'S and PELAGIC CORMORANTS. One of the Brandt's was in full breeding plumage with an incredibly bright blue gular pouch.

Out at Westhaven we saw SAVANNAH and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, and 2 PACIFIC LOONS in breeding plumage in Half Moon Bay.

A great day, with 70 species and that marvelous SAGE THRASHER!

Good birding,

Brian H. Bell
Birding & Natural History Guide
Woodinville WA
bellasoc at isomedia dot com

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