[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic Trip, Sept. 24,
2016. Flesh-footed Shearwater, Buller's Shearwater,
South Polar Skua and a GRAY WAGTAIL!!!
blabar at harbornet.com
Mon Sep 26 16:17:17 PDT 2016
What a day! My recent post really doesn’t capture the excitement that was going on. Lots of high fives, hugs and exclamations! Here is a summary of our sighting from my perspective.
As we were heading back from our chum sight, the spotters in the back of the boat noticed a passerine flying fast towards them with a undulating flight. It became almost immediately known, that based on this flight behavior and the long trailing tail, that this was a wagtail. Next, it was noted that it had bright yellow under parts. The call of “Yellow Wagtail” was sounded to all of us up front and on the sides of the boat. The bird flew up the starboard side and right over us. It then flew around the boat one other time and then headed out to sea. Total time of observation was 1.5-2 minutes. It was seen by all on the boat. Thankfully several photos were taken! We were about 27 miles from shore. Here are my I.D. notes: a small to medium size passerine, undulating flight, a long black tail with white outer tail feathers, bright yellow under parts and black wings with one white wing stripe on each wing. I don’t believe I noticed that back color.
After a large celebration, John (from the United Kingdom) kept commenting to me that it was too bright of yellow and the back color was not of a Eastern Yellow Wagtail. We huddled and started to look at the pictures and noted the back was gray and the wings had those white wing stripes, plus the bright yellow under parts. Eastern Yellow Wagtails don’t have gray backs, white wing stripes or that amount of yellow at this time of year. After Ryan Shaw sent his pictures to others, the confirmation was, what we started to believe, that this was Washington’s first sighting of a Gray Wagtail or Grey Wagtail (for my Brit friends). This is only the second 48 state record. British Columbia has a least 2 records and the various islands off Alaska have several.
We, also, had other highlights that included 1 Flesh-footed Shearwater, 6 Buller’s Shearwater, 25 Red Phalarope, 2 South Polar Skua and 1 Scripp’s Murrelet( that only a few saw flying away).
The mammal highlights included 15 Dall’s Porpoise and 12 Pacific White-sided Dolphins.
The weather was great and for 23 birders, a very remarkable trip!
Fork-tailed Storm Petrel-3
Wandering Tattler-1, jetty
Marbled Godwit-400, boat basin
Black Turnstone-4, jetty
South Polar Skua-2
Glaucous-winged x Western Gull-227
Pacific White-sided Dolphin-12
Northern Fur Seal-1
California Sea Lion-8
Steller’s Sea Lion-11
And 122 Pacific Ocean Sunfish(mostly small young ones)
There are only three trips left in October. For reservations and any other information, please visit our website at www.westportseabirds.com
Leaders for this trip were Ryan Shaw, Jim Danzenbaker and myself. Boat personnel and spotters were Phil and Chris Anderson.
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