[Tweeters] Tokeland to Ruby Beach; Manx Shearwater etc

. KDB . buhrdz at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 19 19:06:00 PDT 2011

Hello, It's the time of year at work where I run the annual spartina beach survey from Tokeland to Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. For the past 2 weeks I've been working my way up the coast, first on a quad from Cape Shoalwater near Tokeland to Moclips, then by truck and on foot for the remainder. Though I can only guess that there were somewhere near half a million birds along the way, things were for the most part fairly uneventful. Near Midway Beach I encountered amongst other things 3 SNOWY PLOVER, as well as a cluster of 25 dead Heerman's Gulls. It was quite strange, flat, dry feather and bone dead gulls loosely scattered in one very, very small area. Two years ago I found a freshly dead Horned Puffin nearby. A bit further north the first of 10 dead Fulmar and 6 dead Sooty Shearwater were noted. Further north yet, there was one quite lively RUTH SULLIVAN. Besides RED CROSSBILL everywhere and a SOOTY GROUSE standing calmly along the Moclips Highway, things got a bit more mundane birdwise after the Copalis River until about 2-3 miles south of Ruby Beach. Here for the past three days, with Destruction Island as a backdrop, have been huge numbers of COMMON MURRE AND RHINOCEROS AUKLET, perhaps totaling 150,000 birds or more. Also seen were dozens of TUFTED PUFFIN, several MARBLED MURRELET, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, a dozen distant SEA OTTER and loads of some sort of small dolphin/porpoise. On a tip from Bill Shelmerdine that he has several times over the years encountered Manx Shearwater in these waters, I narrowed my search image. Today, after probably 3-4 hours scanning the seas in the area over the past 3 days with Manxy in mind, I was rewarded with fine views through the spotting scope of a MANX SHEARWATER flying and landing amongst the feeding gulls out beyond the breakers. A pretty nice 2 weeks at the office!
Keith Brady
Olympia, WA

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