Although I had a great time during last week’s trip to the coast, I’ll have to admit I wasn’t as excited as I have been at other times. That’s partially because Fall migrations aren’t nearly as intense as Spring migrations – there’s a lot less birds at any one time. Also, many of the birds have shed their breeding plumage and aren’t nearly as striking. And, yes, I suspect after several trips I have become just a tad jaded. It’s no wonder serious birders who’ve done this many times more than I have flock to see rare birds.
Still, there were hundreds of small shorebirds when I reached Bottle Beach. The majority of them were Western Sandpipers in non-breeding plumage, which certainly makes positive identification harder because, like female ducks, they often look quite similar.
The highlight of the small birds for me, though, was this Semipalmated Plover,
even though it was wearing its winter plumage and missing the dark band that usually makes it so distinctive.
Equally disappointing, the larger shorebirds never came in very close on the day I was there. These Black-bellied Plovers and Dowitchers were so far out I didn’t even realize there were any dowitchers in the picture until I cropped it and put it on screen.
Most of the Black-Bellied Plovers were anything but black-bellied since they, too, had long since begun to don their winter plumage.
It’s hard to complain, though, when it was one of those rare, warm sunny days on the Washington coast. I lived too long in Aberdeen not to appreciate a sunny late-summer day at the beach.