[Tweeters] Shorebirds at Alki

Randy randimal at comcast.net
Sat Nov 14 09:37:29 PST 2009

Hi Tweeters,
I made a trip to Alki yesterday to look for shorebirds and less common
waterfowl. My main targets were Surfbirds, Sanderlings and Black Turnstones
with Harlequins, Brants and Common Murre as hopefuls. I started at 10:00am
south of the lighthouse in windy and showery weather.

I did a full circuit of Alki via car stopping about every quarter mile to
scope and I found absolutely nothing of interst. My best birds at that
point were a WESTERN GREBE and several BUFFLEHEADS. I did see a flock of
shorebirds way out over the water but they did not come in to land. So I
took a break and went for a drive in the Lincoln Park area while I ate my

After lunch, I went back up toward the lighthouse just as the sun was coming
out. At my first stop south of the lighthouse, I came across a group of 95
SANDERLING sitting packed together on top of the seawall since it was high
tide. The sunshine made for fantastic pictures and the Sanderlings didn't
seem to mind me standing 15 feet away.

I then went through the circuit again around the point, down Alki Beach and
around Duwamish Head. I was thinking I would have to settle for Sanderling
as my highlight, but just past Duwamish Head I ran into the mixed flock of
BLACK TURNSTONE and SURFBIRD, about 30 of each. Once again, they were in
full sun and provided close views and great photographs.

It turns out finding shorebirds at Alki was a bit harder than I expected.
At least at high tide, they congregate on a tiny section of beach and mostly
sleep, making little noise. I guess the secret is to not miss any sections
of beach. Other birds found included RED-NECKED GREBE, GLAUCOUS-WINGED
Brant or Common Murre.

Randy Bjorklund
Federal Way, WA

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