Subject: [Tweeters] Ocean Shores Birding (long)
Date: Jul 18 22:28:20 2009
From: Kathy Andrich - chukarbird at yahoo.com



Hi Tweeters,

I saw the star of Ocean Shores the female King Eider today but it took a bit of effort. I went straight to the spot but didn't see her the first pass, so I went to Pt Brown Jetty to check for alcids. Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, and Rhinocerous Auklet were present, a nice assortment. Also Western Grebe and many many Sooty Shearwaters offshore.

After lunch back to Damon Point, I walked "north" (to the right) all the way to the game range. Along the way this time I saw the King Eider belly up to the Scoter/Eider barnacle/mussel bar. I got to watch her eat a couple of mussels and pick at the barnacles. This location had a lot of fun birds and an ever changing cast of characters. I eventually saw all three scoters here, all three cormorants and the main three loons at this location. Also at least 3 Longtail Ducks, one was on the beach for awhile. And a Greater Scaup. After my long walk on the way back I did not see the eider again, she must have been hiding somewhere. I watched a Pacific Loon beach itself. It seemed to be having some trouble with waterproofing its feathers. Before it beached itself it did some incredibly vigorous shakes to shed water. I couldn't see anything obvious wrong with it's feathers or any gunk like oil on it's bill. It was weird and I have not watched this
before. It seemed to be aware all the time, looking around for predators and getting close to the water when I veered widely around it.

At Bill's Spit I saw about a dozen Marbled Godwits, about half dozen Whimbrel and one Long-billed Curlew. A fairly large haul out of Harbor Seals seems to often be here on the island. A lot of small sandpipers were on the island too but they were too far to ID. At the game range I had seen Least and Western Sandpipers. A group of around 500 California Gulls were hunkered down in the wind. The wind was very feirce here once I got to point where the bay fills in the upper part of the spit.

A new place for me was the Weatherwax Nature Trail, the west parcel, south of Ocean Way and east of Canal Drive SE. It is called a Marine Forest. I heard Winter Wren, Swainson's Thrush, Purple Finch, and Golden-crowned Kinglets here.

Then I went to Cyber Lake which I think is only referenced in Bob Morse coastal book. It is just off the campus of North Beach Middle and Senior High School. This school is on your right before you turn into the entry way to Ocean Shores. There is a carved sign that says something like trail entrance that points you the right way when you drive in. You have to park and then walk to trail entrance across the lawn. I had not been there in a few years. The last time I was there it was very overgrown and the boardwalk over the lake was very storm damaged. Today the trail was only moderately overgrown and the boardwalk has been repaired. I did not go over the boardwalk because 17 Greater Yellowlegs and one Long-billed Dowitcher were using it to roost. They were very stoic because I had to crash through some salal to get to the boardwalk and none flushed but the dowitcher did toodle over behind all the larger yellowlegs. I could hear another
yellowlegs calling but couldn't see it, it sounded like it was up in a tree.

Last stop Hoquiam Sewage Treatment Pond. There are now 2 active (very) Osprey nests here, one off of Paulson Street and one in the lumber yard on the Hoquiam end of the pond. I was very surprised to see a male Canvassback on a log in the back of the pond preening. My first July westside Canvassback I am sure. He still was in breeding plumage at least on the head, neck and chest, I couldn't see the rest of him very well, he was facing me.

All the locations but the two I gave directions to are in the Birder's Guide to Washington.

It was great to spend a whole day away from it all birding.

Kathy
Roosting in Kent, near Lake Meridian
(chukarbird at yahoo dot com)
Any driving directions contained within this message are given as a courtesy, beware, author is directionally challenged and will not vouch for them.