California Quail, Yakima, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Sooty Grouse, Hurricane Ridge, 2015

Also see the PHOTO GALLERY

following the summaries of the 2016, 2015, and 2014 MBWeeks


_________



WASHINGTON - BR. COLUMBIA MBWEEKS I and II SUMMARY

September 8 - 18, 2016 and September 18 - 26, 2016



Just like our six previous six trips here, the success of this MBW pretty much depends on how we do with shorebirds and with pelagic species on the Westport Seabirds trip. True, there are other highly-sought birds to look for since there are so many “non-Minnesota” species which occur in these parts, and we had mixed success with these, as we came up with a composite total of 183 species for these two MBWeeks. MBW I had 160 birds in all (147 plus 13 others only found on the Rainier portion), while MBW II came up with a total of 157.


These numbers are mostly in line with previous years, as the birding in September (along with the relatively mild, clear, and calm weather) seems to be generally consistent every year. Predictably, there were several highlights, with a few of the most notable birds found on both trips including alcids (i.e., murres, guillemots, and auklets), Red-breasted Sapsuckers downhill from Hurricane Ridge, Eurasian Skylarks in our usual field near Victoria, cooperative Pacific Wrens in a few places, and lone American Dippers in two different streams.


On the Rainier portion of MBW I, there was a group of California Quail in Yakima (one was seen briefly on MBW II), a Golden Eagle that nearly snatched a Bighorn Sheep from a hillside (!), a quite surprising and cooperative Northern Pygmy-Owl along the trail to the Mt Fremont Overlook (we heard three of them on MBW II), colorful Lewis’s Woodpeckers, brief views of a Hutton’s Vireo and California Scrub-Jays, and Violet-green Swallows posing nicely on a wire for scope views (only fly-overs seen on MBW II).


Elsewhere on MBW I a Black Swift was picked out among some Vaux’s flying over Aberdeen, and on MBW II we came up with a distant Eurasian Wigeon at Beach Grove and two closer ones at the Hoquiam sewage ponds. But, yes, there were a few disappointments, as there were no ptarmigan to be seen at Rainier, the burned trees along forest roads off Highway 12 failed to produce any hoped-for woodpeckers, Sooty Grouse was missed on MBW I and only glimpsed by a few on MBW II, there were only very brief views of storm-petrels on the boat trips, and no Marbled Murrelets were found anywhere.


As for the shorebirds, though, we did quite well with an impressive composite total of no fewer than 31 species: the first MBW with a total of 26, and 25 on the second. Both trips came up with that winter-plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit among the hundreds of Marbleds at the Westport Marina, although the views (and photographs) on MBW I were better. We also found our own Ruff at the Hoquiam sewage ponds on MBW I, while MBW II’s highlight (also not a stake-out) was the hard-earned Sharp-tailed Sandpiper we found on Three Crabs Road – two days after Minnesota’s first Sharp-tailed was discovered. The latter MBW recorded Pacific Golden-Plover, Snowy Plover, Long-billed Curlew, and Red Knot as well (all missed on MBW I). And both trips found all four “rockpipers” (i.e., oystercatcher, tattler, turnstone, surfbird), with certainly the best and most surprising showing of Surfbirds (60+ of them) at Luna Park in Seattle as dozens of persons strolled by just a few feet away.


And the pelagic birds were just as good as the shorebirds, although the first Westport Seabirds trip was postponed due to high seas. Luckily, our itinerary was flexible enough to join them a day later, and it resulted in the best bird of either pelagic trip as a Laysan Albatross circled the boat and offered everyone close views. Highlights of the second boat trip included good views of cooperative Flesh-footed Shearwaters, several Red Phalaropes, a South Polar Skua standing on a log drifting by the boat, and a most unexpected red-billed juvenile Tufted Puffin. Both pelagic trips provided better looks than usual at Buller’s Shearwaters, and hard-to-identify Short-tailed Shearwaters obligingly swam next to the boat for close study. Of course, there were those “routine” Black-footed Albatross, fulmars, other shearwaters, Sabine’s Gulls, jaegers, and Cassin’s Auklets that we saw as well.               


Itineraries


MBWeek I:


Sept 8 - Meet at SEA in early afternoon and drive to Enumclaw via Black Diamond Open Area; night in Enumclaw. 


Sept 9 - Mount Rainier National Park; late afternoon drive via Hwy 410 to Yakima; night in Yakima. 


Sept 10 - Yakima Arboretum, Popoff Nature Trail, Old Naches Road, Oak Creek Wildlife Area, forest roads 1500 & 1304, White Pass area, and drive to Westport; first of 2 nights in Westport.  


Sept 11 - Bottle Beach, Hoquiam sewage ponds, Tokeland, and Westport Marina.


Sept 12 - Westport Seabirds pelagic trip; late afternoon drive to Ocean Shores; night in Ocean Shores.  


Sept 13 - Ocean Shores area; afternoon drive to Sequim via Quilcene fish hatchery, Gardiner Beach, Diamond Point, and Three Crabs Road; first of 2 nights in Sequim.


Sept 14 - Hurricane Ridge Road, Ediz Hook, Elwha Dike, Salt Creek Recr Area, Oyster House Road, and Three Crabs Road. 


Sept 15 - Port Angeles-Victoria ferry, Clover & Cattle points, skylark field on Central Saanich Road, Saanichton Bay area, Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen ferry, and Boundary Bay @64th Street; first of 2 nights in White Rock.  


Sept 16 - Boundary Bay @104th & 96 streets, Iona sewage ponds, Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary, and Boundary Bay @64th & 96th streets.  


Sept 17 - Blackie Spit, Blaine & Semiahmoo Spit, Birch Bay, Skagit Wildlife Area, and Luna Park (!); final night in Sea-Tac.  


Sept 18 - Departures for home.


MBWeek II:


Sept 18 - Meet at SEA in early afternoon, Luna Park, and Everett sewage ponds; night in Sedro-Woolley. 


Sept 19 - Skagit Wildlife Area, Bayview State Park, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo Spit, and Boundary Bay @104th & 96 streets; first of 2 nights in White Rock.  


Sept 20 - Boundary Bay @104th & 96 streets, Iona sewage Ponds, Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary, Boundary Bay @Beach Grove, and Blackie Spit. 


Sept 21 - Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry, skylark field on Central Saanich Road, Saanichton Bay area, Cattle & Cattle points, Beacon Hill Park, and Victoria-Port Angeles ferry; first of 2 nights in Port Angeles.


Sept 22 - Hurricane Ridge Road, Ediz Hook, Elwha Dike, Salt Creek Recr Area, and Three Crabs Road (!).


Sept 23 - Hurricane Ridge, Railroad Bridge Park, Marlyn Nelson Park, Diamond Point, Gardiner Beach, Mount Walker, and drive to Ocean Shores; night in Ocean Shores.


Sept 24 - Ocean Shores area, Hoquiam sewage ponds, Westport Marina, Grayland State Park, Midway Road, and Tokeland; first of 2 nights in Westport.


Sept 25 - Westport Seabirds pelagic trip (plus Capitol Forest by Howard); post-dinner option to Bottle Beach.


Sept 26 - Return to SEA via Capitol Forest and afternoon departures for home. 



Bird List


• I = MBWeek I (Sept 8-17)

• I (RAINIER) = seen/heard only on Mt Rainier portion of MBW I (Sept 8-9-10)

• II = MBWeek II (Sept 18-26)

WA = seen/heard only in Washington

BC = seen/heard only in Br Columbia

• species not annotated WA or BC were found in both places

boldfaced species = “non-MN” birds (i.e., casual, accidental, or absent in Minnesota) 


Greater White-fronted Goose        II BC

Cackling Goose        II

Canada Goose        I, II

Mute Swan        I BC (in Victoria; wild?)

Wood Duck        I, II

Gadwall        I, II

Eurasian Wigeon        II (1 at Beach Grove, 2 at Hoquiam)

American Wigeon        I, II

Mallard        I, II

Blue-winged Teal        I, II WA

Northern Shoveler        I, II

Northern Pintail        I, II

Green-winged Teal        I, II

Canvasback        II WA

Ring-necked Duck        I (RAINIER), II WA

Greater Scaup        II WA

Harlequin Duck        I, II

Surf Scoter        I, II

White-winged Scoter        I WA, II WA        

Common Goldeneye        I WA, II WA

Barrow’s Goldeneye        I WA

Hooded Merganser        I, II

Common Merganser        I WA, II BC

Red-breasted Merganser        I WA, II WA

Ruddy Duck        I WA, II WA


California Quail        I (RAINIER), II WA (briefly)


Sooty Grouse        II WA (only briefly by a few; Capitol Forest sighting by Howard)


Red-throated Loon        I WA, II WA

Pacific Loon        I WA, II WA

Common Loon        I, II


Pied-billed Grebe        I WA, II WA

Horned Grebe        I WA, II

Red-necked Grebe        I WA, II

Eared Grebe        I WA

Western Grebe        I WA, II WA


Laysan Albatross        I WA (!) 

Black-footed Albatross        I WA, II WA


Northern Fulmar        I WA, II WA

Pink-footed Shearwater        I WA, II WA

Flesh-footed Shearwater        II WA (better views than normal!)

Buller’s Shearwater        I WA, II WA (good looks on both MBWs)

Sooty Shearwater        I, II WA

Short-tailed Shearwater        I WA, II WA (ditto)


Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel        I WA, II WA (uncooperative on both MBWs)


Brandt’s Cormorant        I, II

Double-crested Cormorant        I WA, II WA

Pelagic Cormorant        I, II


Brown Pelican        I WA, II WA


Great Blue Heron        I, II

Great Egret        I WA


Turkey Vulture        I, II WA


Osprey        I, II

               

Bald Eagle        I, II

Northern Harrier        I, II

Sharp-shinned Hawk        I (RAINIER), II WA

Cooper’s Hawk        I WA, II          

Red-tailed Hawk        I, II

Golden Eagle        I (RAINIER; 2 in pursuit of Bighorns!)


Virginia Rail        I, II

Sora        I BC, II

American Coot        I BC, II


Sandhill Crane        II WA


Black Oystercatcher        I, II


Black-bellied Plover        I, II

American Golden-Plover        I BC

Pacific Golden-Plover        II BC (!)

Snowy Plover        II WA (Grayland State Park)

Semipalmated Plover        I WA, II WA

Killdeer        I, II


Spotted Sandpiper        I BC     

Wandering Tattler        I WA, II WA

Greater Yellowlegs        I, II BC

Willet        I WA, II WA

Lesser Yellowlegs        I WA

Long-billed Curlew        II BC (Blackie Spit)

Bar-tailed Godwit        I WA, II WA (Westport Marina!)

Marbled Godwit        I, II

Black Turnstone        I, II WA

Red Knot        II BC

Surfbird        I WA, II WA (especially at Luna Park on both MBWs!)

Ruff        I WA (juvenile at Hoquiam!)

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper        II WA (Three Crabs Rd!)

Sanderling        I, II BC

Dunlin        I BC, II     

Baird’s Sandpiper        I

Least Sandpiper        I, II     

Pectoral Sandpiper        I, II     

Western Sandpiper        I, II

Short-billed Dowitcher        I BC

Long-billed Dowitcher        I, II

Wilson's Snipe        I, II WA

Red-necked Phalarope        I, II BC

Red Phalarope        I WA, II WA (better looks on II)


South Polar Skua        II WA (!)

Pomarine Jaeger        I WA, II

Parasitic Jaeger        II WA


Common Murre        I, II

Pigeon Guillemot        I WA, II

Cassin’s Auklet        I WA, II WA

Rhinoceros Auklet        I, II

Tufted Puffin        II WA (juvenile!)


Sabine’s Gull        I WA, II WA (more seen on I)

Bonaparte’s Gull        I, II

Franklin's Gull        II BC (rare here)

Heermann's Gull        I WA, II

Mew Gull        I WA, II

Ring-billed Gull        I, II

Western Gull        I, II

California Gull        I, II

Herring Gull        I WA, II WA

Glaucous-winged Gull        I, II

Caspian Tern        I, II


Rock Pigeon        I, II 

Band-tailed Pigeon        I WA, II WA

Eurasian Collared-Dove        I, II 

Mourning Dove        I, II WA


Northern Pygmy-Owl        I (RAINIER; nice spotting, George!), II WA (total of 3 heard,

     mainly in Capitol Forest; also seen by Howard)


Black Swift        I WA (over Aberdeen’s Starbucks)

Vaux’s Swift        I WA, II WA


Anna’s Hummingbird        I, II


Belted Kingfisher        I, II


Lewis's Woodpecker        I (RAINIER)

Red-breasted Sapsucker        I WA, II WA

Downy Woodpecker        I, II

Hairy Woodpecker        II WA

Northern Flicker        I (also on pelagic trip!), II


American Kestrel        I, II WA

Merlin        I WA, II BC

Peregrine Falcon        I, II


Pacific-slope Flycatcher        II BC (seen by Howard)


Hutton’s Vireo -        I (RAINIER; briefly)


Gray Jay        I WA, II WA

Steller’s Jay        I, II

California Scrub-Jay        I (RAINIER; briefly in Enumclaw)     

Clark's Nutcracker        I (RAINIER)

American Crow        I, II

Northwestern Crow        I, II

Common Raven        I, II


Eurasian Skylark        I BC, II BC (in same field as past years on both MBWs) 

Horned Lark        I (RAINIER)

                    

Violet-green Swallow        I (RAINIER), II WA

Barn Swallow        I, II


Black-capped Chickadee        I, II

Mountain Chickadee        I (RAINIER)

Chestnut-backed Chickadee        I, II


Bushtit        I WA, II WA


Red-breasted Nuthatch        I WA, II


Brown Creeper        II


Pacific Wren        I WA, II WA (incl one standing on my speaker on I)

Marsh Wren        I, II

Bewick’s Wren        I, II


American Dipper        I WA, II WA


Golden-crowned Kinglet        I, II

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        II WA


Townsend’s Solitaire        I (RAINIER)

Hermit Thrush        I WA, II WA (Capitol Forest sighting by Howard)

American Robin        I, II

Varied Thrush        II WA (ditto)


European Starling        I, II


American Pipit        I, II


Cedar Waxwing        I, II


Orange-crowned Warbler        I, II WA     

Common Yellowthroat        III BC

Yellow Warbler        I

Yellow-rumped Warbler        I, II

Black-throated Gray Warbler        I (RAINIER)

Townsend’s Warbler        I (RAINIER)


Spotted Towhee        I, II

Savannah Sparrow        I, II

Fox Sparrow        I, II

Song Sparrow        I, II

Lincoln’s Sparrow        I BC

White-crowned Sparrow        I, II

Golden-crowned Sparrow        III BC

Dark-eyed Junco        I, II


Western Tanager        I (RAINIER)


Red-winged Blackbird        I, II

Brewer’s Blackbird        I WA, II WA

                    

House Finch        III BC

Purple Finch        II WA (Capitol Forest sighting by Howard)

Pine Siskin        I WA

American Goldfinch        I, II


House Sparrow        I, II



Significant Others (a partial list):

Eastern Cottontail     I, II

Pika     I (RAINIER)

Eastern Gray Squirrel     I, II

Douglas's Squirrel     I, II

Townsend’s Chipmunk     I, II

Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel     I (RAINIER)

Hoary Marmot     I (RAINIER)

Raccoon     I     

River Otter     II

Coyote     I, II

Mule Deer     I, II

Bighorn Sheep     I (RAINIER; incl one attacked by a Golden Eagle)

Mountain Goat     I (RAINIER; more than usual)

Steller’s Sea Lion     I, II

California Sea Lion     I, II

Northern Fur Seal     I, II

Harbor Seal     I, II

Dall’s Porpoise     II

Harbor Porpoise     I, II

Pacific White-sided Dolphin     II

Humpback Whale     II

Blue Shark     II

Ocean Sunfish     I, II




*          *          *


WASHINGTON - BRITISH COLUMBIA MBWEEK SUMMARY

September 10 - 20, 2015



It all started at Mount Rainier, ended with a Westport Seabirds pelagic trip, and included much more in-between. (Well, if you want the whole story, it actually began when Budget rented us a Ford Transit, an alleged “minivan” with little room for luggage, an odd configuration of seats, and rear-wheel drive – hardly the best choice when trying to drive on beach sand: i.e., one of those “in-between” parts.) Throughout all this we found a grand total of 174 species, with no fewer than 68 of these “non-Minnesota” birds, and thus plenty of lifers to go around. There were 157 species on the main MBW (a bit above average), plus 17 seen only on the Rainier pre-trip, so that 174 was more than any of our five previous trips here.


There were no hoped-for White-tailed Ptarmigan on the trail to Mt Fremont Overlook during the Mt Rainier pre-MBW, possibly due to unusually dry conditions affecting the food supply, but there were several nice consolation sightings. The best of these was certainly the calling N Pygmy-Owl we actually saw en route out of the park, as Black Swifts simultaneously passed overhead, and a second pygmy-owl called across the road! Earlier on the ptarmigan hike there was a nice wave of warblers and other migrants, including Vaux’s Swifts flying by at nearly eye-level. Later, a Prairie Falcon or two circled low over the ptarmigans’ favorite hillside – perhaps that was the real reason for the ptarmigan failing to show themselves. And the next day on the Hwys 410 & 12 loop east and south of Rainier, we had our only sightings of California Quail, Red-naped Sapsucker, several Lewis’s Woodpeckers, and others.


After Rainier and before the Westport Seabirds finale, there were a lot more highlights. Most memorable were our three Sooty Grouse encounters at Hurricane Ridge and on the way up – for a total of four sightings after a brief view of one at Mt Rainier! Two of them by the parking lot at the Ridge were especially confiding as they literally strolled within a couple feet of Jerry and Scott. Before and after Hurricane Ridge we found the likes of multiple scoters and male Harlequin Ducks, both Red-throated and Pacific Loons, a displaying male Anna’s Hummingbird in full courtship flight, close Rhinocerous Auklets in Victoria’s harbour (remember, this is in Canada), a duel between Red-breasted Sapsuckers, a dozen or so Sky Larks persisting in their partially plowed field, Violet-green Swallows posing on utility wires, responsive Pacific Wrens at close range, three American Dipper sightings, and several migrating Golden-crowned Sparrows.


Among the shorebirds our best sighting – on our second try – had to be that staked-out Bar-tailed Godwit seen well at Boundary Bay. There were also Black Oystercatchers in Victoria and Salt Creek Co Park (with 21 together at the latter site), a Wandering Tattler on the jetty in Ocean Shores, a Surfbird on the Westport jetty, plus a Whimbrel and Long-billed Curlew on the same afternoon near Westport. But we managed to find a total of “only” 23 shorebird species, tying our lowest shorebird total, as the tides never seemed to match with our set itinerary, and that godwit was the only rarity being reported (though a Ruff appeared at Ocean Shores the day after we were there).    


The climax of our MBWeek, of course, came on the Westport Seabirds trip on the day before we flew home. True, nothing particularly rare was sighted and it may have been a bit rough on the way out, but we were lucky since it was even rougher on the trip the day before, and the next day’s trip was canceled due to the conditions. While the Buller’s Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, and Cassin’s Auklets we saw could have offered us longer and better views, there were exceptional views of a hard-to-identify Short-tailed Shearwater swimming next to Sootys right behind the boat! In addition, everyone had great looks at Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmars, Pink-footed Shearwaters, South Polar Skuas, and Sabine’s Gulls.



Itinerary


September 10: Midday arrival at Sea-Tac and drive (via a Hwy 410 dipper) to Crystal Mountain Resort  for first of 2 nights; dinner at Crystal Mountain.


September 11: Mount Rainier National Park (White River entrance road, Sunrise, and trail to Mount Fremont Overlook), and drive to Chinook Pass on Hwy 410; dinner at Crystal Mountain.


September 12: Pre-breakfast walk at Crystal Mt; loop drive on Hwy 410 (incl Nile Road, Bethel Ridge/FR 1500 burn, and Naches River), Hwy 12 (incl Oak Creek Wildlife Area and White Pass), and Hwy 123; drive to Quality Inn in Everett and dinner at O’Donnell’s.


September 13: Everett sewage ponds & vicinity, Skagit Game Range, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo Spit, and Blaine (WA); 104th Street Boundary Bay access, dinner at Ricky’s, and first of 2 nights at Breakaway Motel in White Rock (BC).


September 14: Boundary Bay (via 96th, 88th, and 72nd streets), Iona sewage ponds & regional park, Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and return to Boundary Bay (via 12th Ave in Tsawwassen, and 96th St access); dinner at Ricky’s.     


September 15: 7:00am Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry, Sky Lark field on Central Saanich Rd, Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point & vicinity, 3:00pm Victoria (BC) - Port Angeles (WA) ferry; dinner at Kokopelli’s and first of 2 nights at Port Angeles Super 8.


September 16: Morning on Hurricane Ridge Road; afternoon at Ediz Hook, Elwha Dike, and Salt Creek County Park; dinner at Joshua’s / Cafe Garden.


September 17: Morning at Dungeness River Audubon Center, Dungeness Bay (Oyster House Rd, Cline’s Spit, Three Crabs Rd), Marlyn Nelson Co Park-Schmuck Rd-Washington Harbor area, and Diamond Point-Gardiner Beach area; afternoon drive to Ocean Shores via Quilcene park & fish hatchery, Hoquiam sewage ponds, and Damon Rd beach access; dinner at Alec’s and night at Ocean Shores Quality Inn.


September 18: Morning at Oyhut Game Range, Bill’s Spit, Ocean Shores sewage ponds, and Point Brown jetty; afternoon drive to Westport via Hoquiam sewage ponds, Bottle Beach, Grayland Beach & Midway roads, and Tokeland; dinner at Half Moon Bay and first of 2 nights at McBee’s Silver Sands Motel (a.k.a. Rhonda’s) in Westport.  


September 19: Westport Seabirds pelagic trip; dinner at Half Moon Bay.


September 20: Return to Sea-Tac for afternoon flights home via brief stops at Watershed Park in Olympia and Nisqually NWR.



Bird List


- R = found on the Mt Rainier pre-MBW option (Sept 10-12)

- WA = found elsewhere in Washington (Sept 13, Sept 15-20)

- BC = found in British Columbia (Sept 13-14-15)

- WS = Sept 19 Westport Seabirds pelagic trip

- boldface type = “non-Minnesota” birds (i.e., absent, accidental, casual, or rare-regular in MN)


Cackling Goose        WA (Hoquiam sewage ponds)

Canada Goose        WA, BC

swan, sp.        BC (juv near Reifel: introduced Mute Swan?)

Wood Duck        WA, BC

Gadwall        WA, BC

American Wigeon        WA, BC

Mallard        WA, BC

Blue-winged Teal        WA

Cinnamon Teal        BC (adult female at 12th Ave access in Tsawwassen)

Northern Shoveler        WA, BC (incl partial albino at Everett sewage ponds)

Northern Pintail        WA, BC

Green-winged Teal        WA, BC

Ring-necked Duck        R

Lesser Scaup        WA

Harlequin Duck        WA, BC (incl several adult males)

Surf Scoter        WA, BC

White-winged Scoter        WA, BC

Bufflehead        WA

Hooded Merganser        BC

Common Merganser        R, WA

Ruddy Duck        WA


California Quail        R (Nile Rd)


Ring-necked Pheasant        WA (probably “countable”)

Sooty Grouse        R, WA (4 separate sightings!)


Red-throated Loon        WA (best at Elwha Dike)

Pacific Loon        WA (best at Ediz Hook)

Common Loon        WA, BC


Pied-billed Grebe        R, WA, BC

Horned Grebe        WA, BC

Red-necked Grebe        WA, BC

Eared Grebe        WA, BC

Western Grebe        WA, BC


Black-footed Albatross        WA (WS)


Northern Fulmar        WA (WS)

Pink-footed Shearwater        WA (WS)

Buller’s Shearwater        WA (WS: brief fly-bys)

Sooty Shearwater        WA (WS; also from Ocean Shores)

Short-tailed Shearwater        WA (WS: exceptional views behind the boat w/Sootys!)


Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel        WA (WS: brief fly-bys)


Brandt’s Cormorant        WA, BC

Double-crested Cormorant        WA, BC

Pelagic Cormorant        WA, BC


Brown Pelican        WA


American Bittern        WA, BC

Great Blue Heron        WA, BC

Great Egret        WA

Green Heron        BC


Turkey Vulture        R, WA, BC


Osprey        WA

     

Bald Eagle        WA, BC

Northern Harrier        WA, BC

Sharp-shinned Hawk        WA

Cooper’s Hawk        R, WA, BC          

Red-tailed Hawk        R, WA, BC

Golden Eagle        R (Oak Creek Wildlife Area)


Virginia Rail        WA, BC

Sora        WA, BC

American Coot        WA, BC


Sandhill Crane        BC


Black Oystercatcher        WA, BC (incl a flock of 21 at Salt Creek Co Park)


Black-bellied Plover        WA, BC

Semipalmated Plover        WA

Killdeer        WA, BC


Spotted Sandpiper        BC     

Wandering Tattler        WA (best at Point Brown jetty)

Greater Yellowlegs        WA, BC

Willet        WA

Lesser Yellowlegs        BC

Whimbrel        WA (Bottle Beach)

Long-billed Curlew        WA (Tokeland)

Bar-tailed Godwit        BC (on our second try at Boundary Bay!)

Marbled Godwit        WA

Ruddy Turnstone        WA

Black Turnstone        WA, BC

Surfbird        WA (WS: on the Westport jetty)

Sanderling        WA, BC

Dunlin        BC     

Least Sandpiper        WA, BC     

Pectoral Sandpiper        WA, BC     

Western Sandpiper        WA, BC

Long-billed Dowitcher        WA, BC (best at Reifel, close & calling)

Red-necked Phalarope        WA, BC (many from Victoria-Port Angeles ferry)


South Polar Skua        WA (WS: close views)

Pomarine Jaeger        WA (WS; also from Victoria-Port Angeles ferry)

Parasitic Jaeger        WA (ditto)

(Long-tailed Jaeger: leaders-only on WS)


Common Murre        WA, BC

Pigeon Guillemot        WA, BC

Cassin’s Auklet        WA (WS: fly-away looks)

Rhinoceros Auklet        WA, BC (best views in Victoria)


Sabine’s Gull        WA (WS: several close fly-bys)

Bonaparte’s Gull        WA

Heermann's Gull        WA, BC

Mew Gull        WA (best at Everett sewage ponds)

Ring-billed Gull        WA, BC

Western Gull        WA  (plus numerous Glaucous-winged intermediates)

California Gull        WA, BC

Glaucous-winged Gull        WA, BC (plus numerous Western intermediates)

Caspian Tern        WA, BC (incl banded juv at Hoquiam sewage ponds)

Common Tern        WA

(Arctic Tern: leaders-only on WS)


Rock Pigeon        R, WA, BC

Band-tailed Pigeon        R (fly-bys at Rainier)

Eurasian Collared-Dove        R, WA, BC

Mourning Dove        R, WA, BC


Northern Pygmy-Owl        R (2 heard & 1 seen as Black Swifts flew overhead!)


Black Swift        R (!)

Vaux’s Swift        R, WA (low & close migrants on the ptarmigan hike)


Anna’s Hummingbird        WA, BC (incl displaying male at Everett sewage ponds)


Belted Kingfisher        R, WA, BC


Lewis's Woodpecker        R (almost easy near Hwys 410 & 12 jct and Oak Creek)

Red-naped Sapsucker        R (en route to the burn on FR 1500)

Red-breasted Sapsucker        WA

Hairy Woodpecker        WA

Northern Flicker        R, WA, BC

Pileated Woodpecker        R


American Kestrel        R, WA, BC

Merlin        BC

Peregrine Falcon        WA, BC

Prairie Falcon        R (great views on the ptarmigan hike)


Western Wood-Pewee        R (heard-only in the burn by Ann & Jerry P)

Say’s Phoebe        R (Nile Rd)


Gray Jay        R, WA

Steller’s Jay        R, WA, BC

Western Scrub-Jay        WA      (seen by Jerry P en route to Sea-Tac)

Clark's Nutcracker        R

American Crow        R, WA, BC

Northwestern Crow        WA, BC (well, sort of….)

Common Raven        R, WA


Sky Lark        BC (10-12 seen well in flight)


Tree Swallow        BC

Violet-green Swallow        R, WA (best at Three Crabs Rd)

Bank Swallow        WA (leader-only)

Barn Swallow        WA, BC


Black-capped Chickadee        WA, BC

Mountain Chickadee        R

Chestnut-backed Chickadee        R, WA, BC


Bushtit        WA, BC (best at Reifel)


Red-breasted Nuthatch        R, WA, BC


Brown Creeper        WA, BC


Pacific Wren        R, WA (best at Ocean Shores)

Marsh Wren        WA, BC

Bewick’s Wren        WA


American Dipper        R, WA (incl one in pond by Tipsoo L)


Golden-crowned Kinglet        R, WA, BC

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        R, WA


Townsend’s Solitaire        R

Swainson’s Thrush        WA (leader-only)

Hermit Thrush        WA

American Robin        R, WA, BC

Varied Thrush        R, WA (mostly heard)


European Starling        R, WA, BC


American Pipit        R, WA, BC


Cedar Waxwing        R, WA, BC


Orange-crowned Warbler        R, WA, BC     

Nashville Warbler        R

Common Yellowthroat        WA, BC

Yellow-rumped Warbler        R, WA, BC

Black-throated Gray Warbler        R, WA (best at Elwha Dike)

Townsend’s Warbler        R, WA (best on the ptarmigan-hike wave)


Spotted Towhee        R, WA, BC

Savannah Sparrow        R, WA, BC

Fox Sparrow        R, WA, BC (“Slate-colored” types)

Song Sparrow        R, WA, BC (dark & Fox Sparrow-like)

Lincoln’s Sparrow        BC

White-crowned Sparrow        R, WA, BC

Golden-crowned Sparrow        R, WA (many more migrants than usual)

Dark-eyed Junco        R, WA


Red-winged Blackbird        WA, BC

Brewer’s Blackbird        WA

Brown-headed Cowbird        WA


House Finch        R, WA, BC

Cassin's Finch        R

Pine Siskin        R, WA

American Goldfinch        WA, BC


House Sparrow        WA, BC



Significant Others (a partial list):


Eastern Cottontail (introduced)

Pika (on the ptarmigan hike)

Eastern Gray Squirrel (introduced black morphs)

Douglas's Squirrel

chipmunk, sp. (Townsend’s?)

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Hoary Marmot (on the ptarmigan hike)

River Otter (Salt Creek Co Park)

Coyote (Vancouver airport)

Black Bear (on the ptarmigan hike)

Mule Deer


Steller’s Sea Lion (WS)

California Sea Lion

Northern Fur Seal (WS)

Harbor Seal

Risso’s Dolphin (WS)

Harbor Porpoise

Gray Whale (Victoria-Port Angeles ferry)

Humpback Whale (WS)


Ocean Sunfish (WS)




*          *          *


WASHINGTON - BRITISH COLUMBIA MBWEEK SUMMARY

September 11 - 21, 2014



While it's normally difficult to single out the most significant highlight of any MBWeekend, on this trip it was pretty easy. Consider that just finding a Ruff or a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper or a Pacific Golden-Plover during a week in this area would be significant enough, but this time we saw all three species....and all on one day during the span of about three hours....plus a locally rare Hudsonian Godwit along with them! (The Ruff at Iona's sewage ponds; the others at Reifel Refuge.) Certainly, I've never experienced so many rarities of any kind before in such a short amount of time.


This spectacle enabled our total list of shorebirds to reach 28 species, the most ever for this MBWeek. This list also featured a second Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Hoquiam's sewage ponds three days later, and all four "rockpipers" (with the dozen or so Black Oystercatchers at Salt Creek County Park the most impressive of these). And all of this made it easy to forgive those mudflats which were practically devoid of shorebirds – especially curious were the near-empty flats at Boundary Bay and Ocean Shores.     


The runner-up in the highlights department for me would have to be the Westport Seabirds pelagic trip. Even though there was only one semi-rarity (it must be decades since I had last seen a Flesh-footed Shearwater), this was still a better-than-average trip with such good looks at Buller's Shearwater, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, and Cassin's Auklets – all these birds typically give us only brief or distant views. Seeing Black-footed Albatross, a Humpback Whale, some entertaining Dall's Porpoise, and a few Mola Mola (a.k.a. Ocean Sunfish) also helped make this such a memorable experience.


Besides shorebirds and pelagics, there were definitely other highlights to mention. The two-day Mount Rainier option may not have provided any ptarmigan (we missed some seen by others a couple of hours before we got to the spot), but we were still entertained by Clark's Nutcrackers, Pikas, Mountain Goats, and Elk, and awed by some beautiful scenery. And once we found the burn near Nile off Hwy 410 southeast of Rainier, there was a Williamson's Sapsucker to make the drive worthwhile. 


After the main MBWeek got underway, our best sightings included the Lewis's Woodpecker and fly-by Little Blue Heron at Skagit Game Range (both unusual in this part of WA, the Little Blue especially so), calling Sky Larks flying around us near Victoria, the Sooty Grouse along the road to Hurricane Ridge, a Marbled Murrelet and close Red-throated Loons at Elwha Dike, Pacific Loons (along with oystercatchers) a short time later at Salt Creek, and the antics of American Dippers at the Quilcene fish hatchery. 


The woods birding, though, was painfully slow most of the time as it seemed the weather may have been too nice (i.e., clear and unseasonably warm) for migrants, although the light rain and fog we had at times between Port Angeles and Westport wasn't enough to ground any migrants. In all, we still came up with 166 species, including 10 only found during the Mt Rainier portion, and the remaining total of 156 was about average for this MBWeek.



ITINERARY


Sept 11: Morning arrivals at SEA for Mt Rainier option, drive to Enumclaw, then afternoon birding along Hwy 410 en route to Nile and burn along forest roads 1500 & 1503; first of 2 nights at Cedars Inn in Enumclaw and "dinner" at Safeway. 


Sept 12: All day at Mount Rainier and vicinity; dinner at El Ranchito.


Sept 13: Return to SEA for other morning arrivals via birding stops along Hwy 169, then Everett sewage ponds and Deception Pass State Park en route to Sedro-Woolley; night at Three Rivers Inn and dinner at Skagit River Restaurant.


Sept 14: Dipper-less Gilligan's Creek, Skagit Game Range, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo Spit, and Blaine; first of 2 nights at Breakaway Motel in White Rock, BC and dinner at ABC Country Restaurant.  


Sept 15: 104th St Boundary Bay access, Iona sewage ponds & Regional Park, Reifel Bird Sanctuary, brief return to 104th St, and Blackie Spit; dinner at ABC Country.


Sept 16: 7:00am Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay ferry, Central Saanich Rd Sky Larks, Codova Spit, Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point Park and vicinity, and 3:00pm Victoria - Port Angeles ferry; dinner at Kokopelli's and first of 2 nights at Super 8. 


Sept 17: Hurricane Ridge and vicinity, Ediz Hook, Elwha Dike, and Salt Creek County Park; dinner at Joshua's.


Sept 18: Railroad Bridge Park/Dungeness Audubon Center, Oyster House & Three Crabs roads, Marlyn Nelson Co Park/Schmuck Rd/ Washington Harbor, Gardiner Beach Rd, Quilcene fish hatchery, Mt Walker, and Hoquiam sewage ponds; night at Quality Inn in Ocean Shores and dinner at Alec's.


Sept 19: Ocean Shores (incl jetty, sewage ponds, Oyhut Game Range, Bill's Spit, Ocean City State Park), return to Hoquiam sewage ponds, and Tokeland; first of 2 nights at Rhonda's Silver Sands Motel and dinner at Half Moon Bay Restaurant. 


Sept 20: 6:30am - 3:30pm Westport Seabirds pelagic trip aboard the Monte Carlo; dinner at Bennett's in Grayland.


Sept 21: Morning return to SEA for flights home via Nisqually NWR.



BIRD LIST


MR = seen on Mount Rainier option (Sept 11-12-13)

WA = seen elsewhere in Washington (Sept 13-14, 16-21)

BC = seen in British Columbia (Sept 15-16)

boldfaced species = "non-Minnesota" birds (i.e., Casual/Accidental/absent in MN)


Canada Goose     MR,WA,BC

Gadwall     WA,BC

American Wigeon     WA,BC

Mallard     MR,WA,BC

Cinnamon Teal     WA,BC (plus possible Blue-wingeds among them)

Northern Shoveler     WA,BC

Northern Pintail     WA,BC

Green-winged Teal     WA,BC 

Ring-necked Duck     WA

Greater Scaup     WA

Lesser Scaup     WA

Harlequin Duck     WA,BC (lots of them around Victoria and Port Angeles)

Surf Scoter     WA,BC

White-winged Scoter     WA,BC

Hooded Merganser     WA

Common Merganser     WA

Red-breasted Merganser     WA,BC

Ruddy Duck     WA


California Quail     MR only (along Nile Rd)

 

Sooty Grouse     WA (nice spotting, Mary P!) 


Red-throated Loon     WA (adult and juv together right next to shore!) 

Pacific Loon     WA (breeding-plumaged adult with juv)

Common Loon     WA,BC


Pied-billed Grebe     WA

Horned Grebe     WA,BC

Red-necked Grebe     WA

Western Grebe     WA


Black-footed Albatross     WA (numbers down but close views of a few)


Northern Fulmar     WA (several close looks)

Pink-footed Shearwater     WA (by the dozens)

Flesh-footed Shearwater     WA (almost a lifer for me)

Buller’s Shearwater     WA (better views than usual)

Sooty Shearwater     WA (by the hundreds)


Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel     WA (several seen well)


Brandt’s Cormorant     WA,BC

Double-crested Cormorant     WA,BC

Pelagic Cormorant     WA,BC

 

Brown Pelican     WA


Great Blue Heron     WA,BC

Little Blue Heron     WA (only Accidental in Washington)

Green Heron     WA

Black-crowned Night-Heron     WA


Turkey Vulture     MR,WA,BC


Osprey     MR,WA

                

Bald Eagle     MR,WA

Northern Harrier     MR,WA,BC

Sharp-shinned Hawk     MR,WA,BC

Cooper’s Hawk     BC          

Red-tailed Hawk     MR,WA

Golden Eagle     WA


Virginia Rail     WA

Sora     WA

American Coot     WA,BC


Sandhill Crane     WA


Black Oystercatcher     WA (mostly at Salt Creek) 


Black-bellied Plover     WA,BC

Pacific Golden-Plover     BC (close well-marked juvenile!) 

Semipalmated Plover     WA

Killdeer     WA,BC


Spotted Sandpiper     WA,BC     

Solitary Sandpiper     WA

Wandering Tattler     WA (best at Ocean Shores jetty)

Greater Yellowlegs     WA,BC

Willet     WA

Lesser Yellowlegs     WA,BC

Whimbrel     WA

Hudsonian Godwit     BC (a rarity in WA)

Marbled Godwit     WA

Black Turnstone     WA,BC (the easiest of the 4 "rockpipers")

Surfbird     WA (leader-only at Westport jetty)

Ruff     BC (on our second try!) 

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper     WA,BC (we saw 2 of them!)

Stilt Sandpiper     WA

Sanderling     WA     

Baird’s Sandpiper     WA

Least Sandpiper     WA,BC     

Pectoral Sandpiper     WA,BC     

Western Sandpiper     WA,BC (mostly seen at Reifel)

Short-billed Dowitcher     WA,BC

Long-billed Dowitcher     WA

Wilson's Snipe     WA

Red-necked Phalarope     WA (pelagic trip)


South Polar Skua     WA (only a few distant sightings) 

Pomarine Jaeger     WA (2 close fly-bys on the pelagic trip)

jaeger, sp     BC (leader-only from the Tsawwassen ferry)


Common Murre     WA (best on the pelagic trip)

Pigeon Guillemot     WA,BC (

Marbled Murrelet     WA (decent scope views at Elwha Dike) 

Cassin’s Auklet     WA (dozens close to the boat)

Rhinoceros Auklet     WA,BC


Sabine’s Gull     WA (pelagic trip)

Bonaparte’s Gull     WA,BC

Heermann's Gull     WA,BC

Mew Gull     WA,BC (best at Clover Point)

Ring-billed Gull     WA,BC

Western Gull     WA

California Gull     WA,BC 

Herring Gull     WA

Glaucous-winged Gull     WA,BC

Caspian Tern     WA,BC 


Rock Pigeon     MR,WA,BC 

Band-tailed Pigeon     MR,WA (flying overhead)

Eurasian Collared-Dove     WA,BC 

Mourning Dove     MR,WA,BC


Anna’s Hummingbird     WA,BC (just a few females/juveniles)


Belted Kingfisher     MR,WA,BC


Lewis's Woodpecker     WA (staked-out rarity at Skagit)

Williamson's Sapsucker     MR only (our highlight at the burn)

Red-breasted Sapsucker     WA (only a couple seen by some) 

Downy Woodpecker     WA

Hairy Woodpecker     MR only

Northern Flicker     MR,WA,BC

Pileated Woodpecker     MR,WA


American Kestrel     MR only

Peregrine Falcon     WA


Hutton’s Vireo     MR only (close comparison with kinglets)


Gray Jay     WA

Steller’s Jay     MR,WA

Clark's Nutcracker     MR only (panhandling at Mt Rainier) 

American Crow     MR,WA,BC

Northwestern Crow     WA,BC (well, I'm assuming some were this species)

Common Raven     MR,WA,BC


Sky Lark     BC (close fly-bys of calling birds) 

                    

Bank Swallow     BC

Cliff Swallow     BC

Barn Swallow     WA,BC


Black-capped Chickadee     MR,WA,BC

Mountain Chickadee     MR only

Chestnut-backed Chickadee     MR,WA 


Bushtit     MR,WA


Red-breasted Nuthatch     MR,WA,BC


Brown Creeper     WA


House Wren     BC

Pacific Wren     WA (one of our few cooperative woods bird)

Marsh Wren     WA,BC

Bewick’s Wren     WA,BC


American Dipper     WA (again at the fish hatchery)


Golden-crowned Kinglet     MR,WA

Ruby-crowned Kinglet     MR,WA


Western Bluebird     MR only (along Nile Rd) 

Townsend’s Solitaire     MR only (only briefly by some)

Swainson’s Thrush     WA

Hermit Thrush     MR only

American Robin     MR,WA,BC


European Starling     MR,WA,BC


American Pipit     MR,WA,BC


Cedar Waxwing     MR,WA


Orange-crowned Warbler     MR,WA,BC     

Common Yellowthroat     WA

Yellow Warbler     WA

Yellow-rumped Warbler     BC (both Audubon's and Myrtles)


Spotted Towhee     MR,WA,BC

Savannah Sparrow     MR,WA,BC

Fox Sparrow     WA,BC (a potential split?)

Song Sparrow     MR,WA,BC

White-throated Sparrow     BC

White-crowned Sparrow     MR,WA,BC

Golden-crowned Sparrow     WA,BC 

Dark-eyed Junco     MR,WA


Red-winged Blackbird     WA,BC

Brewer’s Blackbird     WA,BC

Brown-headed Cowbird     WA

                         

House Finch     MR,WA,BC

Red Crossbill     WA (nice looks at Deception Pass)

Pine Siskin     WA

American Goldfinch     MR,WA,BC


House Sparrow     MR,WA,BC 


Significant Others (a partial list)


Eastern Cottontail (introduced)

Pika (MR only)

Eastern Gray Squirrel (black-morph; introduced)

Douglas's Squirrel

Townsend's Chipmunk

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (MR only)

Coyote

Mule Deer

Elk (MR only)

Mountain Goat (MR only)


California Sea Lion

Northern Fur Seal

Harbor Seal

Humpback Whale

Pacific White-sided Dolphin

Harbor Porpoise

Dall's Porpoise


Mola Mola (Ocean Sunfish)




*          *          *


PHOTO GALLERY




Laysan Albatross, Westport Seabirds, 2016

Black-footed Albatross, Westport Seabirds, 2013

Wandering Tattler, Westport, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Bar-tailed Godwit, Westport, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Surfbird, Luna Park (Seattle), 2016

Short-tailed Shearwater, Westport Seabirds, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Ruff (with Greater Yellowlegs), Iona sewage ponds, 2014

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary, 2014

South Polar Skua, Westport Seabirds, 2016 (Jeff Stephenson photo)

Black Oystercatcher, Cattle Point (Victoria), 2016

Rhinoceros Auklet, Victoria harbour, 2016

Pacific Golden-Plover, Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary, 2014

(©Douglas L Brown, douglaslbrownphotography.com)

Tufted Puffin, Westport Seabirds, 2016 (Jeff Stephenson photo)

Mew Gull, Diamond Point, 2013

Northern Pygmy-Owl, Mount Rainier, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hurricane Ridge Rd., 2015 (Jerry Pruett photo)

Prairie Falcon, Mount Rainier, 2015 (Jerry Pruett photo)

Clark's Nutcracker, Mount Rainier, 2014

Chestnut-backed Chickadee, 2015 (Jerry Pruett photo)

Bushtit, 2013 (Dennis Randall photo)

Northern Fulmar, Westport Seabirds, 2013

Pacific Wren, Ocean Shores, 2015 (Jerry Pruett photo)

American Dipper, 2015 (Jerry Pruett photo)

Black-throated Gray Warbler, Mount Rainier, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Buller's Shearwater, Westport Seabirds, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Lewis's Woodpecker, near Naches, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Violet-green Swallow, near Naches, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Pika, Mount Rainier, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)

Northern Fur Seal, Westport Seabirds, 2016 (Jena Highkin photo)