[Tweeters] coastal birding yesterday
mombiwheeler at gmail.com
Thu May 4 10:43:35 PDT 2017
I birded various locations in the Grays Harbor region yesterday (Monday).
Here's just a few highlights and three Ocean Shores access notes.
I arrived at Bottle Beach around 7:45am, an hour or so after high tide, and
stayed for 2 hours. I ran into fellow birder Ian and spent much of the
time there birding with him. As the tide receded, the number of shorebirds
really picked up, with impressive numbers of WESTERN SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN,
SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and lesser numbers of
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS present. We also spotted 15 RED KNOTS, 2 RUDDY
TURNSTONES, and 2 WHIMBRELS. I saw more Whimbrels later in the day at
Tokeland (2) and Graveyard Spit (8).
There were very few shorebirds at Tokeland, but I did see my first LEAST
SANDPIPERS of the day there, the 2 Whimbrels mentioned above, and my only
WILLET of the day.
The beach at the Quinalt Resort/Casino was surreal. It had been drizzling
all morning, but the sun finally came out as I was walking along the beach
and a very thick mist developed. It made it very difficult to bird (and
not get run over), but was wonderful and surreal to walk through. I saw
very good numbers of Western Sandpipers, Dunlin, Semipalmated Plovers, plus
a small number of SANDERLINGS and Least Sandpipers. None of the larger
species of shorebirds were present while I was there.
The winter storms have brought about some access changes at Ocean Shores.
I don't know if this has been mentioned yet on Tweeters, but I wanted to
give you a heads-up in case your heading out that way in the near future.
The access to the Oyhut game range via the trail near the sewage treatment
plant that skirted the tower is now a dead end. Beach erosion had
apparently undermined the tower and it seems to have toppled over. The
foundation is still there, but is tilted at an angle. The tower itself has
been removed and the trail is blocked off at this point. I drove to the
Tonquin entrance, but the water level was high and I didn't have my rubber
boots, so I didn't go exploring here. The only shorebird visible at this
time was a lone Short-billed Dowitcher.
The second change that I came across was that a fence has been built around
the rotting dock by the Interpretive Center, which makes sense but is still
a bummer. The fence extends well beyond the dock, sealing off an area
where I've seen uncommon species in the past.
The third change was at Bills Spit. The access path has been closed. It
looks like the area at the beach end of the path has also eroded, resulting
in a drop-off. I drove a few blocks to the overlook (Mariner Court? I
forgot to note down the name of the short road) of the spit. With the aid
of my scope, I was able to see a little over 50 MARBLED GODWITS, plus the
Whimbrel and a few Black-bellied Plovers.
mombiwheeler at gmail.com
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