[Tweeters] RAS/TAS Field Trip to Tacoma/Fife Tideflats 10/18/11

Shep Thorp tanwaxlake at comcast.net
Wed Oct 19 16:10:07 PDT 2011

Hi Tweets,

Seventeen of us enjoyed a beautiful day in the Tacoma/Fife tide flats with
temperatures in the 60's degrees Fahrenheit and a high 10'9" high tide at

Starting our morning at Gog Le Hi Te, we had good observation of Thayer's
Gull, a Herring Gull and plenty of Glaucous-winged Gull, Western x
Glaucous-winged hybrid Gull (Olympic Gull), Mew Gull, and Ring-billed Gull
flyover. We had great looks at a immature Cooper's Hawk being harassed by
American Crow. There was a persistent Fox Sparrow swinging but too shy to
show itself unlike the Marsh Wren, Song Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow.
Virginia Rail were heard. There were plenty of Canada Goose, Mallard and
Green-winged Teal to see, plus Northern Shoveler and American Wigeon. One
of the Canada Geese had a large round lightly mottled head with steep brow
which we speculated was a hybridized bird. Red-tailed Hawk was also seen.

Our next stop was Hylebos Creek. Western Scrub-Jay was heard and seen along
8th Ave. We heard Virginia Rail and Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and picked
up Bushtit, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Downy Woodpecker,
Cedar Waxwing, and Great Blue Heron.

We visited the Place of Circling Waters just off Marine View Drive, State
Route 509, 1/4 mile north of where Taylor Ave/54th Ave intersects with 509.
A nice viewing platform but difficult mid-day light we were able to scope
Gadwall, Pied-billed Grebe, Killdeer and additional waterfowl. The area is
a restored tidally influenced estuarine area with mudflats and developing
marsh plain. The hillside was recently planted.

Next, we checked out Julia's Gulch off Norpoint Way, approximately a 1/4
mile up the hill from Marine View Drive, State Rout 509. There we picked up
quick views of Mourning Dove, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Pacific Wren.

To finish up our day, we stopped by the log booms at Dick Gilmur Memorial
Shoreline Public Access where we enjoyed seeing the Black-tailed Gull, and
had good observation of California Gull, Mew Gull, Bonaparte's Gull,
Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt's Cormorant, Black Turnstone, a Least
Sandpiper, Horned Grebe and Rhinoceros Auklet. A kettle of 60 Bonaparte's
Gulls soared 500 feet above the bluff and we speculated they may be foraging
on high flying insects?

A fun day and a chance to enjoy some new places, Place of Circling Waters
and Julia's Gulch, in the Tacoma/Fife area. We saw 57 species with Thayer's
Gull, Herring Gull, Cooper's Hawk, Western Scrub-Jay, and Black-tail Gull
making it extra special. Thanks to all the birders who joined the trip for
their excellent spotting.

Good birding,

Shep Thorp
Browns Point
sthorp at theaec.com
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