Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Washington State update part 1

The last few days have been spent in Washington State - absolutely blinding scenery of all descriptions from coasts to mountains and all on a grand scale. What's more I've visited the first Starbucks, been to Kurt Cobain's home town and visited La Push beach where a fair bit of Twilight is filmed. So there's the culture. Now for the birding which is why [most of] you read this. Just the first couple of days here for now.
Rufous Hummingbird Blewitt Pass, WA 25th July 2012

Rock Wren Vantage, WA 25th July 2012

The first day was a real whistle stop tour of the Washington Cascades with Seattle birder Robert Riedl who showed me some quality sites for birding. The area east of the Cascades was remarkably warm, and I was taken aback by the variety of habitats at differing altitudes we birded. Just some of the highlights included both Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds at feeders on the Blewitt Pass, Cooper's Hawk, Great Horned Owl, White-throated Swift, American Dipper, Rock Wren, Western Bluebird, McGillivray's and Nashville Warbler, Cassin's Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, Chipping and Brewer's Sparrows, Evening Grosbeak and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Loads of UK interest too with stuff like Common Nighthawk, Cliff Swallow, Swainson's Thrush, American Robin, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers all seen frequently.
Savannah Sparrow Westport, WA 26th July 2012
So the next day I headed to the coast and I was really feeling the birding here. I started off at Westport, did the loop round to Ocean Shores before heading up the coast to La Push. Loads of WP relevancy and in amongst my favourite bird families again - gulls and waders! Hundreds of gull headache photos taken throughout, though as I write this it must be said that the Glaucous-winged Gulls dominate heavily up here. Plus loads of California, Heermann's, Ring-billed and a few Mew and American Herring Gulls too. Wader wise, adult Least Sands seen in their thousands as well as hundreds of adult Western Sands with a few Dunlin and Semi-p Sands mixed in, and both dowitcher and yellowlegs too. Some good looks too at some showy erythrogaster Barn Swallows. All good practice for autumn 2012 way out west. Also good to see some more Surfbirds and Black Turnstones after all these years, while a Wandering Tattler on the jetty at Westport (Washington, not Mayo!) was a new wader species for me.
1st-summer Heermann's Gull Westport, WA 26th July 2012
Ocean Shores was just full of birds, with the Pacific Ocean putting the Atlantic to shame - Sooty Shearwaters literally 100 yards off the beach streaming through in their 1000s, as were Brown Pelicans with loads too of Rhino Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots and Guillemots (Common Murres over here). Heading up the coast I managed to shrug off the crowds and gain some atmospheric mist, and last hour or two spent at La Push produced stuff like Pacific Diver, White-winged and Surf Scoters, five Harlequins as well as really rubbish, distant views of Tufted Puffins (that breed on the stacks offshore) and the crows on the beach here are apparently Northwestern Crows.


  1. Twilight is culture now??

  2. I've never watched Twilight Owen. My informant evidently is very misinformed :)

  3. Nice stuff - Dominic Mitchell is over on the East Coast, just need somebody in the middle now..........

    ATB Laurie -