[Tweeters] Port Townsend CBC boat party

Bob and Barb Boekelheide bboek at olympus.net
Sun Dec 21 15:09:29 PST 2008


Hello, Tweeters,

Quenn and Randy Charrier and I spent a wonderful morning yesterday
(12/20) doing the boat survey for the Port Townsend CBC from their
exceptional little tug boat the Ed Nelson. What a great boat! Cold
weather? No problem! We were more than toasty in the 71 degree
cabin, with a great view from the wheelhouse. Our cruise track went
northeast from the Port Townsend waterfront to around Pt. Wilson,
then southeast through Admiralty Inlet to east of Marrowstone Island,
then around Fort Flagler and south along the east side of Port
Townsend Bay, through the "Cut" to Oak Bay south of Marrowstone Is.,
then returned to Port Townsend on the west side of Port Townsend
Bay. A synopsis:

First thing we found one Rock Sandpiper roosting with 70 Black
Turnstones and a Surfbird at the breakwater of the Port Townsend Boat
Haven. There were several hundred Mew Gulls feeding along a Langmuir
cell off the Townsend waterfront, and several small feeding flocks of
mostly Olympic Gulls and Glaucous-winged types off Pt Wilson,
including one Herring Gull and one little Bonaparte's. There were
roving flocks of Ancient Murrelets off Pt Wilson and in Oak Bay but
not real big numbers, and scattered Marbled Murrelets just about
everywhere. Consistent numbers of murres and guillemots through most
areas, and one Rhinoceros Auklet off Fort Flagler.

Very low numbers of loons - just a few Common Loons, scattered groups
of Pacific Loons mostly in outer Oak Bay, very few Red-throated
Loons, and we couldn't find a Yellow-billed Loon, despite extra
effort. Similarly, grebes were very low, with only one decent group
of Western Grebes in Oak Bay (about 130 total), scattered Red-necks
and Horneds, one Eared Grebe off the Townsend waterfront, and one
forlorn Pied-billed Grebe on saltwater near Indian Island.

Fairly low numbers of diving ducks, with best numbers of RB
Mergansers, Com. Goldeneyes, and Buffleheads. Scoter numbers were
mediocre at best, with Surf Scoters concentrated off Indian and
Marrowstone Islands and White-winged Scoters concentrated in Oak
Bay. No Black Scoters. Long-tailed Ducks mostly concentrated on the
east side of Port Townsend Bay near the entrance to Kilisut Harbor.
Only small groups of Harlequins. No scaup, not even in areas where
they were common in the past. Lots of dabbling ducks along the
shoreline of Port Townsend Bay, since freshwater was frozen, with
sizable flocks of Pintails, Mallards, and Gadwalls flying all around
looking for places to land. A few flocks of Brant in Oak Bay, but
less than a couple hundred visible from the boat.

Not to extrapolate too much, but overall our numbers seemed to
further support the decline of seabirds and sea ducks in local
waters, particularly loons, grebes, scoters, and scaup.

Bob Boekelheide
Sequim
bboek at olympus.net


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