Brown Pelicans at Tokeland

As it turned out, going to Tokeland instead of going straight home was the best decision of the day. It didn’t take long to see why I hadn’t seen the Brown Pelicans I had expected to see in Westport. They were on the small offshore island where I’ve always seen the Godwits in the past.

All I had to do to get some great pelican shots was wait for them to fly out from the island when they were hungry

or fly back to the safety of the flock

when they had finished fishing.

As it turned out, it got me much closer to the Brown Pelicans than I would normally get at Westport. The highlight of the day.

Things Can Only Get Better

After hearing that the Fall shorebird migration was taking place, I decided to go to the beach August 15th in an attempt to escape the smoke-filled skies polluting our Puget Sound air. Not only was I unable to escape the smoke-filled air, I saw so few birds that it almost felt criminal to have wasted a tank of gas for the day.

I didn’t get a single shot at Ocean Shores, though I did glance some loons way out and a Brown Pelican out past the jetty. Things weren’t much better at Westport where I only managed to sight this Double-Crested Cormorant

and this Pigeon Guillemot.

I was sure things would pick up when I got to Bottle Beach, especially since there was a large contingent of Seattle Audubon members there before me. Though it was comforting to know that I wasn’t a total idiot to come looking for birds, there were very few shorebirds and they didn’t come in with the tide as they usually do.

Determined not to get skunked, I headed for Tokeland even though I debated whether it was worth it to waste even more gas.

Theler’s Virginia Rails

If you want to spot Northern Harriers, Eagles, or Osprey at Theler Wetlands, you have to keep your eyes on the sky overhead. If you want to spot a Virginia Rail, you have to just the opposite — look down into the reeds that line the river bank and mud flats.

More often than not you hear them long before you see them. In fact, you probably hear them twice as often as you actually spot them. Often you will sense they are in the reeds, subconsciously noticing a slight movement in the reeds — a shadow moving through shadows.

If you’re lucky, and quick enough, you see them as they skirt the reeds,

scat through a thin stretch,

or poke their beak out into the sunshine for a particularly delicious snack.