Showing posts from July, 2015

13 Jul - Cape Cod whales & birds

I spent this past Monday on Cape Cod and birded for a while with Tina Green. We took a mid-morning whale watch out of Provincetown, followed by scouring the tern flock at Hatches Harbor. Humpback Whales: Fin Whale: And a few birds: Black-legged Kittiwake first summer Arctic Tern Roseate Tern molting adult Black Tern  - NB

Misc birding, flight home (June 27-28)

My last two days in Washington revolved around Ryan and Evie's wedding festivities. On the morning of the 27th I leisurely made my way from Wenatchee to Poulsbo for the wedding that afternoon. My only stop to bird came in Tacoma to quickly check for that Slaty-backed Gull. Again, nothing. mountain stream We all had a blast at the wedding last night. Not much sleep was had, which is a sign of a great time. Puget Sound sunrise The next day I had some time to kill before my evening flight. I decided to check out a few places around Puget Sound I had not birded before. Some were worth the time, others were not. I did not add many new species for the trip, though I did finally run into a Red-breasted Sapsucker. your typical moist lowland forest around Puget Sound I decided to give one final effort for the Tacoma Slaty-backed Gull, this one much more extensive. I radiated out from the place it had last been seen, checking rooftops and parking lots for roosting and ne

Cascades and east (June 25-26)

June 25 Immediately following the Mariners game on the night of the 24th I had a decision to make. My original plan was to drive straight to Mount Rainier and try for Boreal Owl, which is a rare but likely under-detected breeder at high elevation in the Cascades. But Ryan had just gotten a lead on potentially reliable "Franklin's" Spruce Grouse near Mount Adams, south of Mount Rainier and definitely further afield than I had planned on going this week. If I wanted to be at the Spruce Grouse area for dawn, when they are likely to be most active, I did not have enough time to try for Boreal Owl at Rainier. Since I have seen Boreal Owl a couple times in the east, I could not help but go for the "Franklin's" Grouse, which is a subspecies restricted to the Cascades and Northern Rocky Mountains. According to research, this is likely a different species than the Spruce Grouse we know from the rest of the North American boreal forest. So I left Seattle with a 4+ h

Olympic Peninsula & Vancouver Island (June 23-24)

June 23 My plan for today was to bird around Ocean Shores (on the opposite side of Grays Harbor from Westport) for the morning, then leisurely make my way along the outer coast to Port Angeles for a 9pm ferry to Victoria Island, BC. I began the day with a productive 90-minute seawatch from the Point Brown jetty. Birds were moving all over the place, dominated by Rhino Auklets. I would see five species of alcid from this spot, including my first Marbled Murrelets of the trip and yet another out-of-season Ancient Murrelet. Pacific Loons were also numerous, along with three species of cormorant and more Black-legged Kittiwakes. Very few Sooty Shearwaters were evident, except for a large mass of them well to the south off Westport, right about where they were yesterday afternoon. Mule Deer 'likes' include long walks on the beach about as good as I could do for a record shot of this morning's Ancient Murrelet Around the corner I stopped to check the sewage ponds,

Seattle to Westport (June 22)

After a lengthy delay for my connection in Chicago, I finally landed at SeaTac in the early morning hours of the 22nd. A night near the airport, then off towards the town of Westport on the Pacific coast. On my way, I stopped by the port of Tacoma (definitely the least scenic part of the journey) to check for an adult Slaty-backed Gull that may still be residing in the area. Ryan had suggested that I take a look for this bird, a full adult that had wintered here for at least a few years, since I was passing by Tacoma. Last year it was first seen as early as August and lingered at least into May of this year, recorded in every month except June and July, raising the possibility that it might just be there year-round. However I was unsuccessful in finding the bird among the loafing/nesting Glaucous-winged and "Olympic" Gulls. Ryan and Charlie Wright later wondered aloud whether the bird, thought to be a female, could be sitting on a nest somewhere nearby. Now that's a cool,