Birding Ocean Shores, Washington

The scarcity of birds locally and the smoke from Eastern Washington polluting the air convinced me it was time to go to the beach last week. Though sunshine was predicted, I had hoped that I wouldn’t get the fog that often occurs at the ocean when it’s sunny inland. That wasn’t the way it turned out in the morning, though.

Foggy Ocean Shores Spit

Still, after 50 plus days of drought here in the Pacific Northwest, the fog felt good and the air definitely wasn’t polluted.

With a little help from Photoshop, this picture of a Black Turnstone almost looks like it was taken in sunlight.

Black Turnstone

I didn’t know what this bird was when I first shot it, but I knew I had never seen one since I’d started birding.

Wandering Tattler

Turns out, it was a Wandering Tattler and finding it made my day, particularly since birding the rest of the day was, at best, mediocre.

My second-best sighting of the day was a few yards down the beach at the sewage treatment plant where I saw a small flock of Pectoral Sandpipers.

Pectoral Sandpiper

At least, that is what I think they are.

As you can see clearly in this photograph,

sandpipers

their coloring is very similar to other sandpipers, though their bill and their size is considerably different.

Following a common pattern lately, birding was good at Ocean Shores but I got virtually skunked out at the beaches around Westport. Although I got to Bottle Beach three hours before high tide, it turned out it was an EXTREMELY high tide, and the birds were almost gone before I got there.

The only interesting picture I got around Westport was this shot of a first-year Heermann’s Gull,

first-year Heermann’s Gull

which I didn’t recognize because it looks almost nothing like the adult’s striking plumage.

Birding may not have been great, but I got in over 5 miles of strenuous walking in air that was breathable, a nice break from recent conditions at home. I’ve been planning a trip East of the mountains for a while now, but I won’t be going unless we get some rain and the forest fires finally die down. I’m even worried about my upcoming trip to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Colorado.

What do you think?