[Tweeters] Ocean Shores Thursday 8/26 (Mongolian Plover photos)

Ryan Merrill rjm284 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 27 10:13:22 PDT 2010

Tom Aversa and I made the fortunate decision to bird the coast
yesterday. With the early low tide, much of the morning was spent
looking for passerines with limited success at Bottle Beach and
Hoquiam STP. Along Burrows Road there were good numbers of birds,
most of which resident species. There were two types of Red
Crossbills - I believe Type 3 and Type 10 - but I didn't have my
recorder with me to confirm that. The potential Type 3 birds were
giving a lot of 'toop' calls in addition to their flight calls.

Next up was our main attraction for the day, the Ocean Shores Game
Range. Accessing it from the south end of Tonquin Ave, I set up the
scope once the mud came into view. Without specifically pointing at
any birds, I was dumbfounded to see an adult MONGOLIAN PLOVER (aka
Lesser Sand-Plover, Charadrius mongolus) immediately walk into view!
After recovering from the initial shock and taking a few photos we
made our way over to Bob Sundstrom who had arrived shortly before us,
had also found the bird, and had already gotten the word out. We then
birded the rest of the northern half of the game range where
highlights included a/the continuing juvenile STILT SANDPIPER, five or
so Pectoral Sandpipers, about eight Baird's Sandpipers, and four
juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers. We spent quite a bit of time sorting
through the peeps looking for Semipalmated Sandpipers but were unable
to find one, though there were several short-billed, pale juvenile
Westerns that could be confused for them. No luck finding any
golden-plovers or Buff-breasted Sandpipers which was almost surprising
given the date and current habitat there.

At this point the first few people chasing the plover had arrived so
Bob, Tom and I headed out to check a few other places. Bill's Spit
had more Red Crossbills (T10?) and a lot of gulls but not much in the
way of shorebirds. From the base of Damon Point we could see the
female KING EIDER sleeping out on the rocks, now in its fourteenth
month here, as well as a Harlequin Duck. After spending some more
time watching the plover, we made our last stop of the day at the
Ocean Shores jetty where there were about 4000 Sooty Shearwaters
feeding just off the Westport jetty.

Some photos of the plover including several flight shots are online:

Good birding,
Ryan Merrill
Kirkland, WA

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