[Tweeters] Olympic Pennisula birding

washingtonbirder.Knittle washingtonbirder at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 30 21:09:53 PST 2008

Friday Tom Mansfield and I birded Jefferson County. Places visited are Leland Valley, Crockett Lake, Center Valley Rd., Oak Bay, Marrowstone Island, Fort Flagler, Port Townsend, Point Wilson, Quilcene marina, south to northern Mason Co. to Eldon, then back to Leland Valley. Birds of note were: Leland Lake had our only Wood Duck of the day and a snag near the southern end of the lake where a Pileated Woodpecker was busy hunting for morsels. Trumpeter Swans were at Crockett Lake and Center Valley Rd. south of Chimicum, Oak Bay had Black Turnstones, Pintails, not much due to high tides, across from Oak Bay on Indian Island were talked a Hutton's Vireo out of hiding on the trail at the first park as you come to on Indian Is. which is across the road from the main gate for the military. On Marrowstone Is. Tom noted a Merlin. Tom's good and finding Merlins and Collared-Doves. Fort Flagler had our only White-crowned Sparrows. We watched Dunlin trying to keep up with Black-bellied Plovers as the flew off the west most point. Point Wilson was windy and we split without finding the Yellow-billed Loon. Later the next day we did find it after running into Bob Whitney and getting pointers as to how and where to look. We went to the very point behind the lighthouse from the parking lot and from a high point we set up the scope and watched the rip tides where loons like to feed.

After not seeing much at Quilcene marina we stopped and tried for Pygmy-Owl just over Walker Pass. We had something respond to Tom's I-pod, but it would not show itself, thus leaving Pygmy-Owl left on the list for another day. The wind was strong on the Hood Canal with white caps. No swans were noted, but did see a Red-naped Sapsucker along the road at the delta of the Hamma Hamma. FR 25 was birdless save for a female Common Merganser. On our way north we took some side roads in the Leland Valley east of SR 101 and had a Barn Owl respond to the I-pod. We weren't sure if the valley was large enough to have Barn Owls, but it proved to be OK.

Sat. we spent birding Clallam Co. We owled before sunrise on Kitchen-Dick Rd. and had 3 Barn Owls. No other owls were located. Shortly after day break we located 3 Northern Harriers where 30 years ago Short-eared Owls use to feed. Once day light arrived we headed east to Ediz Hook. Someone is putting bird seed out on an old log right before one gets to the Coast Guard entrance. House Sparrows were busy feeding along with Black Turnstones and Sanderlings. It seemed odd to not see Thayer's Gulls. The large raft of logs aren't filling the bay as they use to and therefore no resting gulls. Least Sandpipers, Black Turnstones, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers shared the few logs with Harbor Seals.

Heart-of the Hills campground produced Brown Creeper. We found going higher up to the tunnel towards Hurricane Ridge that there wasn't many species of birds. At Dungeness Tom found 2 Eurasian Collared-Doves sitting high in the trees. Turning down towards Jamestown Tom spotted a fly-by hummer. We played the I-pod and at first didn't get a response until we turned around and had a male Anna's Hummingbird front and center on the bush next to the car. On the road to Port Williams we noted a large flock of blackbirds. Might be a good flock to check for a Rusty. There was a Brown-headed Cowbird. Lots of ducks, loons, grebes, etc. at Port Williams. The rest of the day was heading back for the Yellow-billed Loon and end the day along the Hood Canal at Potlatch State Park where Eared Grebes were waiting for us just north and Common Murres were way out in the Hoods Canal.

Sunday we started our day owling in the Skokomish River Valley. A Barn Owl flew as we pulled over for one of many cars (hunters) heading up the road. Many Wilson's Snipe flew from a soggy pasture before dawn when they heard the Great Horned Tape. Passing by a Christmas Tree Farm we noted a Northern Pygmy-Owl sitting on one of the 10 ft. trees waiting for a Junco. We went up the hill heading south pass the trout hatchery and had Evening Grosbeaks calling in the foggy forest. We met Mary Hrudkaj who birded with us until we had to head for home. We tried to get to the west side point of the mouth of the Skokomish River, but unlike past years the road now is gated. This was a super place to bird. Terry Sisson had taken me there several years back.

A quick run down to Kennedy Creek where we picked up Black-bellied Plovers, Least Sandpipers, and Dunlin. A Yellow-rumped Warbler was all we could located at the Mason Co. Fair Grounds. Mary showed up around the many parks and birding places along the Hoods Canal. The view from Mary's place was super as we watched Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, and Douglas Squirrels eating at her feeders.

What a great 3 days birding and for the most part great weather.
Ken KnittleVancouver WA 98665 mailto:washingtonbirder at hotmail.com Washington Birder online http://www.wabirder.com/

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