A Day at the Beach

Sighting a Pigeon Guillemot at Port Orchard reminded me that I hadn’t been to Ocean Shores and Westport recently since I’ve gotten my best shot of Guillemots in the Westport marina. With sunshine forecast for the beach and Leslie still working, I headed out early to Ocean Shores.

I can’t remember a nicer day at the beach with temperatures in the mid-60’s and none of the usual fog the beach gets when it’s warm inland. It was probably too much to ask that it also be a great birding day, and it wasn’t. Although I managed to skin up my knee walking the Jetty, I didn’t see anything but Gulls. The first pond at the sewage plant didn’t have a bird in it, and the only shot I managed to get at Ocean Shores was this one of a male Greater Scaup in the foreground and a brown, female Greater Scaup in the background.

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Things didn’t look too great in Westport, either, when I first arrived. The only Pigeon Guillemot I spotted the whole day was a long ways off shore.

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The only Loons I saw when I first arrived were way off shore, too, apparently taking advantage of the low tide to fish areas that might not have been as easily accessed in normal tides. Though I usually see them with crabs in their beaks, this one appeared to have a clam, not a crab.

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Despite some quick online research, though, I couldn’t confirm that clams were part of loons’ diet.

I decided to drive further south and return to when the tide was higher. Recent rains made Midway Beach totally inaccessible and construction had totally changed the harbor at Tokeland, but I did manage to get some fairly nice shots of a Western Grebe.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t spot a single Marbled Godwit in the harbor or on the island where you’re also apt to find them. I wondered if the recent port construction had forced them to find more suitable habitat, or if they just hadn’t arrived yet.

I didn’t have to wait long to discover that there are, indeed, some Godwits in the area for they were waiting for me when I returned to the Westport marina.

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Because there was a small body of water between us, I was able to get closer to these Godwits than I had been able to do previously.

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It’s also the first time I realized that they are a relatively small bird and, despite the long legs, a little smaller than a typical gull.

The high point of the day, though, came when I found a Common Loon near the dock as I entered the marina. Not sure I’ve ever gotten a shot from this particular angle,

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but this is the angle I work to get,

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and the reason I keep returning to Westport year after year.

For me, this is Loon Heaven.

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