Birding Westport

Though birding is slow locally, it’s anything but slow at the coast, though that requires a full-day trip. Because of the distance, I almost always make a full-day of it, spending 12 hours or more on the trip, trying to get to as many different places as possible.

One of our standard stops is Westport because we can always count on seeing animals and birds that we seldom see anyplace else. For instance, it’s the only place I know on the Washington coast you can count on seeing Sea Lions,

California Sea Lion

though they are occasionally seen almost anywhere in the Puget Sound.

It’s one of two places I regularly see Pigeon Guillemots,

Pigeon Guillemot

and the only place I’ve ever managed to get a close-up. Since I’ve only seen them at a distance, I’ve always thought they were black, and most photos show them as black, though my birding guide confirms, in parentheses, that they are (actually dark brown), which would explain why I couldn’t adjust the photo to make them appear black. I also learned that their non-breeding colors are mostly white with a mottled back. I suspect this bird is in a state of transition.

Another favorite I can usually count on are the Brown Pelicans,

Brown Pelican Flyby

which fly by the pier regularly. I suspect I need to spend more time in Westport to discover where they are fishing as I’d love to get some shots of the them diving.

I was a little disappointed to discover that the loons aren’t back yet, as neither Ruth Sullivan nor I could spot a single one.

The first surprise of the day came when this large Great Blue Heron was spotted.

Great Blue Heron in Flight

They’re common on the ocean, but I’ve never seen one in Westport before, especially right in the marina.

The real treat of the day, though, was the sighting of this Rhinoceros Auklet,

Rhinoceros Auklet

the first one I’ve ever seen. Heck, I’d forgotten you could even see them in our area. It was so small that at first I thought it was a Common Murre.

We had a good time there, and it was only the first two hours of a 12 hour day.

What do you think?