A Little Loony

Though I was disappointed about only having an hour and a half to photograph the shorebirds at Bottle Beach, that gave us plenty of time to visit Westport and Tokeland to see what birds were there.

Although there were very few loons in the harbor itself, I was thrilled when this Common Loon came hurtling across the water directly at us.

Truthfully, I’ve never seen this behavior though I’ve been photographing loons for over ten years now. It was hard to tell whether the loon was trying to fly or was just using the breaststroke to get away from something.

All I know is that it came skidding across the water at me, turned, and settled into the water,

before striking a noble pose.

On to Bottle Beach

Even though I reached Bottle Beach two hours before high tide, I realized I should have been there at least an hour before when I was greeted by this Western Sandpiper

up on the sand. It turned out to be an extremely high tide — a reminder just how critical tides are in seeing birds.

Although there were lots of Western Sandpipers, there seemed to be an unusually high percentage of Black-Bellied Plovers

and I was able to get closer to them than usual.

I particularly liked this shot showing Black-Bellied Plovers in winter plumage, in the back, full-breeding colors, on the left, and in an intermittent stage.

I would love to have had more of a chance to get shots of the brilliantly colored Dowitchers,

but I did like this shot of them resting on this little “island.”

A Day at Ocean Shores

Since the sun refused to quit shining after our return from Hawaii, we decided to take the camper on this year’s inaugural trip this year and stay overnight at Ocean Shores. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, but — considering this was the big Shorebird festival — we saw surprisingly few shorebirds.

This small flock of Western Sandpipers were the only birds I would call “shorebirds” that we saw while in Ocean Shores.

I wouldn’t have been at all happy if that had ben all the birds we saw on our eight miles of walking, but a couple of Common Terns

did a flyby, and we saw a small flock of Greater Scaup.

The best sighting of the day, though, was this Osprey that flew directly overhead and looked me straight in the eyes

before continuing up the coastline looking for the day’s meal.

Having lived in Aberdeen for six months many years ago, I wouldn’t have complained about a sunny day at the beach even if we hadn’t seen a single bird.

A GREBE KINDA DAY

With a rare sunny day forecast at Westport and Ocean Shores this week, we headed out early in the morning. Though there was some fog early, it turned out to be a delightful, sunny day with some brisk winds.

Since I’ve been told many times when birding Westport in the afternoon that people had seen more birds in the morning, we decided to start out our day at Westport and finish at Ocean Shores. Naturally we didn’t see more birds than usual; we saw less.

I went because I love seeing the Common Loons in breeding colors. Not only did we see fewer loons than usual; none of the ones we did see were in breeding plumage.

Our consolation prize was seeing more Western Grebes than I’ve ever seen at the coast before. This Western Grebe

greeted us as we walked down to the marina.

Not more than a 100 yards away, this grebe was finishing a meal.

When I went to the other end of the marina to see if there were any Brown Pelicans (there weren’t), I saw another group of grebes.This one popped up almost under my feet.

Not sure who was more startled.

I didn’t find the Godwits at Tokeland but was greeted by yet another small flock of Western Grebes.

The only place I’ve ever seen this many Western Grebes is Bear River in Utah.