[Tweeters] Field Trip to Wa Coast, Parasitic Jaeger (long)

Kathy Andrich chukarbird at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 28 09:04:31 PDT 2008

Hi Tweeters,

I led a combined Seattle/Eastside Audubon trip to Gray's and Pacific counties yesterday. The weather was unbelievable, unseasonably warm and sunny, with light breezes. We made a brief stop at Mud Bay where we saw our only Hooded Mergansers of the day. Then a relatively brief stop at John's River Park where we saw a large flock of American Pipits and about 50 Greater Yellowlegs. Sharp eyes found a small flock of Semipalmated Plovers which turned out to be our only ones of the day. There was a nice selection of raptors here including Osprey, one Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Coopers Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawks.

We were late for the tide at Bottle Beach unfortunately,but we all enjoyed the new bridge very much! We saw many many migrating Northern Pintails, some Green-winged Teals, a big flock of American Wigeon which included our highlight bird here a breeding plumaged Eurasian Wigeon. One participant saw a Wilson's Warbler which was later heard but not seen.

At Midway Beach the first thing we saw was a Peregrine Falcon perched by the side of the pond on the left, when we were getting out of the cars he flew off. A brave, lone Pectoral Sandpiper flew in for some great looks and we noted about 3 Greater White-fronted Geese. We walked out to the beach and made a loop around hoping to find Snowy Plover, Lapland Longspur or Streaked Horned Lark which we did not find but we did see Sanderlings and Surf Scoters. As we approached the little pond at the end of our loop, two Dowitchers flew in which turned out to be Long-billed and low and behold the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was in the tiny group of sandpipers. We had great looks at the Buff-breasted in comparison to the Pectoral.

We stopped at another beach south of here to try again for Snowy Plover with no luck but there were a few Pacific Loons floating around past the surf.

Then to Tokeland. It is always a treat as a trip leader to take folks to Tokeland who have never been here before. The Marbled Godwits never fail to impress and I never get tired of seeing them myself. Many Brown Pelicans and Heerman's Gulls were perched in close on the old pilings. The Willets seem to have adopted a concrete stucture under the pilings.
Ruth Sullivan was on our trip and she noticed a gull that was floating around the marina was actually a Jaeger!! This created a lot excitement and studying of feild guides because none of has a whole lot of experience with these birds. Ruth got many many nice photo's and some of the rest of took some digiscopes of this bird. We finally decided it was a juvenile light morph Parasitic Jaeger. The bill was very thin and small, and the bird had a small head and buffy edged feathering. We stopped at Graveyard Spit and added a nice flock of Long-billed Curlew, nearly 30 of them. A lone Caspian Tern was in with the gulls.

On the way back we stopped again at Bottle Beach and walked the inside trail to the end. We got good looks at Purple Finch, Cedar Waxwings and a small flock of Red Crossbills flew in for a brief stop.

It was a wonderful day but I had some somber news to share at the end of the trip. Just before I left for the field trip I had a message from Gina Sheridan that Patricia Lott had been killed in a car accident on Friday. I dedicated our trip to Patricia and shared with the group some of the many things Paticia has done for our birding community. I felt Patricia would have wanted it this way for us to enjoy the day without the sad thoughts with us. More information on this tragedy will be posted onto Tweeters.

Roosting in Kent, near Lake Meridian
(chukarbird at yahoo dot com)
Any driving directions contained within this message are given as a courtesy, beware, author is directionally challenged and will not vouch for them.

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