Subject: Bar-tailed Godwit at Tokeland(long)
Date: Aug 18 17:47:53 2002
From: Ruth Sullivan - GODWIT at

Hello Tweets,

Today my mother and I birded portions of Grays Harbor and Pacific
Cos.,mainly starting at the Hoquim STP and continuing to Tokeland,with a
stop made along Ocosta Third Street and Bottle Beach along S.R.105 during
incoming tide. We encountered several highlights during the entire day,BUT
our main highlight was an alternate plumaged adult male BAR-TAILED GODWIT at
Tokeland that we observed and photographed between 11:20am-1pm during slowly
outgoing tide amongst a flock of 218 Marbled Godwits and other large
shorebirds. The bird during our entire observations was identified as an
adult male and NOT an adult female was due to the relatively shorter,thicker
based bill compared to the nearby Marbled Godwits that mainly all showed
relatively,but noticeably longer bills. The entire roosting flock of large
shorebirds that included the Bar-tailed Godwit were quite nervous and alert
to our presence,but after time they seemed to settle down allowing great
views of the Bar-tailed and comparing other key field marks of this
particular bird including the white and brown barred/speckled rump noted in
flight, complete warm rust wash on the throat and upperbreast with warm rust
splothes below contrasting to the white underparts and belly. The white
supercillium was very noticeable contrasting to the dark brown crown and
buffy tertials within the dark brown back as we immediately located the bird
upon our arrival,then the flock was flushed up but returned to the same
location within 3 minutes. At times during our observations the Bar-tailed
Godwit would lift it's wings revealing the pale underwings along with
showing the barred tail,with minor barring dark brown barring on the flanks
within the white underparts. We are confident to the identity of the
Bar-tailed Godwit currently at Tokeland,as going by not only noticeable
field marks,but by the overall size of the bird compared to the nearby
associating Marbled Godwits by being noticeably smaller and slender in
structure and other recent Bar-tailed Godwits we have observed and
photographed recently and in the past this individual seemed much brighter
overall. The bird remained throughout our entire visit and hopefully the
bird will remain for others to observe it amongst the other large
shorebirds. We encountered two adult Marbled Godwits that showed their
overall mottled or "marbled" appearance showing their dark brown/white
"marbled" backs,dark,finely streaked crowns(amongst the large density of
juvenile birds),BUT the alternate plumaged adult male Bar-tailed Godwit
present at the location could not be mistaken for any Marbled Godwit,even a
pale alernate plumaged adult bird. We had an alternate plumaged adult
Marbled Godwit in similiar plumage that did appear to show some
characteristics of a Bar-tailed Godwit,but lacked the strong complete white
supercillium and white underparts contrasting to the partial breeding
plumage of the current individual at Tokeland and any or other Bar-tailed
Godwits noted at anytime. We were able to photograph a single alternate
plumaged Marbled Godwit on the 11th of July for comparision,but after
several minutes of observing the bird we had NO problem in knowing the bird
was a Marbled Godwit. This is our third seperate individual Bar-tailed
Godwit in WA for the season with the other two individuals being adult
females at Ocean Shores.

Throughout are visits to other locations during the day we encountered much
calmer weather conditions compared to windy conditions yesterday at Ocean
Shores. Overall we encountered a relatively good diversity of birds
throughout the day, including our largest shorebird concentrations along
with increased waterfowl migration at Bottle Beach during incoming tide.A
list of our notable highlights for the day at selected locations and times

Hoquim STP 7:50am-8:15am

10 Green-winged Teal
2 Northern Pintails
6 Northern Shovelers
1 Hooded Merganser
18 Semipalmated Plovers
25 Long-billed Curlews
10 Western Sandpipers
28 Least Sandpipers
1 Baird's Sandpiper
1 Pectoral Sandpiper
1 Red-necked Phalarope
12 Boneaparte's Gulls

Ocosta Third Street(accessed off of S.R.105 near Bottle Beach) 9am-9:08am

2 Wood Ducks
34 Green-winged Teal
1 Virginia Rail(heard only)
1 Lesser Yellowlegs

Bottle Beach 9:12am-10:25am

4 Common Loons
28+ Brown Pelicans
58+ Green-winged Teal
18 Northern Pintails
6 Am.Wigeons
114 Black-bellied Plovers
47 Semipalmated Plovers
9 Black Turnstones
675+ Western Sandpipers
58+ Least Sandpipers
57 Short-billed Dowitchers

S.R.105 at MP 20.5(south of North Cove), Pacific Co.

47+ Semipalmated Plovers
58 Sanderlings
17 Western Sandpipers
1 Baird's Sandpiper

Tokeland 11:10am-1pm

22 Brown Pelicans
1 Surf Scoter
2 Greater Yellowlegs
14 Willets
23 Whimbrel
218 Marbled Godwits
2 Ruddy Turnstones
3 Black Turnstones
1 Surfbird
55+ Western Sandpipers
16+ Least Sandpipers
3 Red-necked Phalarope
1 Mew Gull
1 Black-legged Kittiwake
3 Wilson's Warblers

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan