[Tweeters] Pre/Post Pelagic birding this weekend

Ryan Shaw rtshaw80 at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 21 12:25:49 PDT 2011

Greetings all,

I birded a few coastal spots Friday and Saturday in between a Westport Seabirds pelagic trip Saturday.

On Friday, I arrived at Bottle Beach with the incoming tide and was soon joined by several other birders.  We were hopeful the incoming tide would push a plethora of shorebirds our way but unfortunately the birds were not there on the shoreline save a few Black-bellied Plovers and a Short-billed Dowitcher or two. 

I gave up on Bottle Beach and headed to Midway Beach where I had much better luck.  The ponds to the south of the off-limits area were productive with shorebirds: 12 Semipalmated Plovers, 20 Western Sandpipers, 60 Least Sandpipers, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Pectoral Sandpipers.  I also had a Pacific Golden-Plover flying over; calling.  It turned as if it was going to land in the area west of the ponds.  I ran into Andy and Ellen Stepniewski and we tried to find the Golden-Plover on the ground but no luck.  We did have excellent looks at the 4 Pecs running around the grass!  There were also 2 Red-necked Phalaropes in the ponds, 1 adult and 1 juv.  No luck on Snowy Plovers in the area.

As I was leaving, I ran into Bill Shelmerdine at the entrance gate who told me about a Franklin's Gull he found at Graveyard Spit along 7th Street in Tokeland.  Tokeland was my next stop so I made that my first check.  I walked over the berm at 7th Street and along the shoreline at the very large gull flock and found the Franklin's.  Looks like a 2nd year bird; basically in winter plumage with a bit of a black tail band. 

There were godwits in the Tokeland marina; around 80.  In amongst the godwits were the usual Willets and Dowitchers.  That does it for Friday!

Saturday, as we were coming back into the Westport Marina after the pelagic, we observed the flock of ~500 Marbled Godwits on the rocks in front of the Coast Guard Station.  We could not pick out anything unusual from the boat, but after the trip, I along with Andy and Ellen Stepniewski, went down to the docks and scoped the flock from a more stable platform. 

The godwits took to the air, and while in the air I noticed a paler more uniform bird without rufous tones in the wings.  I quickly realized I was looking at a Bar-tailed Godwit, it landed next to a Marbled Godwit and the short legs and supercillium were quite noticeable when standing alongside a Marble.  There was just a bit of rusty red color on the breast indicating an adult and the long bill made me presume it was a female and possibly a different bird from what Brian had a few weeks prior at Bottle Beach?

I watched it for a bit before making my way up and back home.  On the way out of Westport, in the slough near Brady's Oysters, were 2 soaring Great Egrets, my first on the coast this year.

I stopped at the Sportco ponds on the way home, which I will get to in a later post, along with a Westport Seabirds trip report.


Ryan Shaw
rtshaw80 at hotmail.com

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