Not an Avocet in Sight

As if geese, ducks, hawks, vultures, and songbirds weren’t enough, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge hosts shorebirds that we seldom or never see in the Puget Sound area.  

I always consider it a treat when I see a Yellowlegs at Theler Wetlands or the ocean, so it was hard not to be pleased to see several of them at Sacramento.         


Great Egrets are as common in California as Great Blue Herons are in the Puget Sound, but we seldom see Great Egrets as far North as Tacoma, though they have recently migrated to Vancouver, WA.

Great Egret

We often see Black-Necked Stilt at Bear River Wildlife Refuge in Utah,  but I have never seen one in the Puget Sound area. 

Black-Necked Stilt

White-Faced Ibis are even rarer. In the past we’ve seen hundreds of them at the refuge, but we only saw a very small flock on this visit.  Worst of all, the sunlight was directly behind them so it was hard to tell if they were still dressed in their non-breeding plumage or their brilliant, breeding plumage.  

White-Faced Ibis

Looking back at all the photos we took on our short stop there, it’s hard to believe that I was actually a little disappointed in the day.  I had expected, hoped, to see American Avocets at the refuge, but the only one I thought I saw turned out to be a Black-Necked Stilt.  

You’d think after nearly twenty years of birding that I would have learned to just revel in the beauty we found everywhere we looked, but apparently I still haven’t mastered living in the moment without expectations.