Archive for February, 2010

Steve Murray: More Fine Northwestern Images

February 26, 2010

Top to Bottom:  Mule deer buc watching the watchers.

Red-breasted Merganser.

White-winged Scoter male on Hood Canal where they were often within thirty yards of shore.

Lincoln’s Sparrow in the marsh at Crockett Lake on central shoreline of Whidbey Island, across the road from  the Keystone Ferry Terminal.

Marsh Wren at Nisqually NWR.

Steve Murray’s Focus on Northwestern Birds

February 26, 2010


The only Pied-billed Grebe we saw on this trip.  There were dozens of Red-necked and Horned Grebe plus a few Western and Eared.

Thayer’s Gull

river otters

Eurasian Wigeon male at Nisqually NWR.

Dusky Canada Geese, Sauvie Island

Shade Pictures of the Northwest, II

February 26, 2010

Top to bottom;

Brant on the beach at Dosewallips, along Hood Canal.

Common Loon with heavy beak and squarish head.  The more slender Red-throated Loon with a slightly up-turned beak.

Pileated Woodpecker at Tolmie State Park north of Olympia, WA.

Golden-crowned Sparrow.

White-winged Scoter on Hood Canal.   Male with his fancy face mask.

Red-tailed Hawk juvenile on

Sauvie Island.

Beach at Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island.

February PIB birders sharing the path with Canada Geese at Nisqually NWR.

Some Northwest Trip Pictures From Bob Shade

February 26, 2010

Top to bottom:  Sunrise that first dawn just outside Astoria.

Barrow’s Goldeneye on Hood Canal.

Black Turnstone on the bouldery beach at Seaside, Oregon.  Just after taking this picture, Bob Shade took a tumble among the jumble of rocks.  He and his camera survived, shaken but unstirred.

Winter Wren in the woods.

Birders on the rainy sand at Cannon Beach, scoping Haystack Rock.  We later found Harlequins here but never located the Black Oystercatcher.

Birders all in a row.

All birds seen on February, 2010, Northwest Trip.

February 21, 2010

PIB Northwest Birding Trip, Feb., 2010—Birds Seen:

Greater White-fronted Goose, Sauvie Is.
Snow Goose
Ross’s Goose, Sauvie Island
Cackling Goose,   Canada Goose,    Trumpeter Swans  on Whidbey Island                                                                                          
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Am. Wigeon
GW Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter, Cannon Beach, OR
Long-tailed Duck
Common Goldeneye
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
(we could not locate the YB Loon at Point Wilson)
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe                                                                                      
Red-necked Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican (three off the Oregon Coast)

Brandt’s Cormorant, Whidbey Island

Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret, Sauvie Island
Bald Eagle–seen each day
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk, Ft. Clatsop
Red-tailed hawk
Rough-legged Hawk, Sauvie Is.
Sandhill Crane, Sauvie Island
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer, Potlatch State Park
Black Turnstone
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Marbled Murrelet
Cassin’s Auklet
Rhino Auklet
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon, Whidbey Island
Eurasian Collared-dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl, Sauvie Island
Anna’s Hummingbird, Sequim
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker, Tolmie State Park
Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Northwestern Crow or AmericanXNorthwestern
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper, Sequim
Bewick’s Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren,
GC Kinglet
RC Kinglet
Am. Robin
Varied Thrush, seen  in numbers at Fort Stevens Park
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Sauvie Is.
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow, Whidbey Island
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
DE Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer’s Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Total species:  120                                                              Can you find the Winter Wren?

Our mammals included: harbor seal, California sealion, mule deer, white-tailed deer(on January trip), river otter, orca, eastern gray squirrel, coyote, western gray squirrel, harbor porpoises off Seaside, elk, muskrat, surfers.   Cold-blooded animals included: steelhead on

the surface of Coffeeberry Lake; red-legged frog, ring-necked snake, a newt.

Northwest Birding Pictures From the Watsons

February 21, 2010

Joe and Betty Watson from Contra Costa County, CA, were on the February trip to the Northwest.  Here are some of the great images they captured.  As much poetry as a birding trip can stand.

Ferryboat taking a test run at dawn, Port Townsend.  Here we saw Pelagic Cormorant, Surfbirds, Black Turnstones, Pigeon Guillemots at close range, Red-necked Grebe, Surf Scoters, Northwest Crows, Glaucous-winged Gulls, harbor seals and two mule deer walking down the sidewalk.

A truly Northwestern experience, birding on a ferryboat.

You might call this next photo, “Birders Adrift.”  It was taken on Penn Cove, Whidbey Island.


Three Eagles along the Nisqually River, in Nisqually NWR.

The locals refer to the genetic admixture of gullness as “Olympic Gull,” a large hybrid of many mixed generations of Glaucous-winged and Western.  Those specks offshore are scoters (Surf and White-winged), Common Goldeneyes,  Common Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, Horned Grebes and probably some Mew Gulls riding high in the water.  This was taken along Hood Canal at Dosewallips State Park.

Olympic Birding, My Last Pics

February 20, 2010

Ferryboat approaches Port Townsend ferry dock.  The water really is that blue.

This lone Sanderling was acting like a “rockpiper” on the boulders at Point Wilson Lighthouse.   From this location we found dozens of Pigeon Guillemot, a dense float of about three dozen Rhino Auklets, saw pairs of Marbled Murrelets and one tiny Cassin’s Auklet.

Dozens of Pintails were grazing in the tall grasses near the Keystone Ferry Terminal on Whidbey Island.  There were also Marsh Wren, Harrier, Bald Eagles and another handful of duck species there.

Left: Kingfisher on pole at Keystone Ferry Terminal.  The right hand Kingfisher was along the beach at Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island.

House Finch at Audubon Center, Sequim, WA.

Black-capped Chickadee at Audubon Center feeder, Sequim.  The center is located in Railroad Bridge Park on the Dungeness River.  Good riparian habitat for birding.  The bird in the logo of the local Audubon Society?  Male Harlequin’s head.

Here’s website for the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

Here’s website for the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, complete with their Harlequin head logo.

Seabirds From Boatside

February 19, 2010

How many Pigeon Guillemots can you see before you stop seeing them?  Our count this final day in the field was in the hundreds and our group noticed them every time.  Birders from land-locked Colorado were expertly spotting the PIGUs at half a mile before the day was out.  Adult on the left.

This pair is likely a male with his young, the pale bird on the right.

Adult Pigeon Guillemots.  They were the most plentiful of the alcids but we saw numerous Rhino Auklets and Marbled Murrelets, plus one each of Cassin’s Auklet and Common Murre.  Most were too far away for even attempting photos.


This loon with the flat top is a Common, motoring away from us.

Much less skeptical of our presence were the Red-throated Loons that seemed to know we couldn’t approach them in deep water.

Horned Grebe, which was one of the two most abundant off the Olympic Peninsula.  The Red-necked Grebe was also plentiful but stayed away from land and boat alike.  Many of these pictures were taken from the Port Townsend ferry dock or on Whidbey Island to the north.


A turnstone tornado on the structure of the Port Townsend ferry dock.  Those would be Black Turnstones.

That gray one with the yellow legs: one of the two Surfbirds I saw among the darker and slightly smaller turnstones.

More Olympians–Avian Degree of Difficulty, 5.6

February 19, 2010

View from Dosewallips westward up the slope of the Olympic Mountains.

Hood Canal from western shore.

Pelagic Cormorants in the fog. The diagnostic neck and head shape clear enough for positive ID.


Cruising Sequim Harbor where the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the bay.

Checking for fish below.

His dives were so swift I didn’t get a picture.

He wasn’t the only one fishing the harbor.

And here’s our band of birders, truly going round the bend along U.S. Hwy. 101:

Olympic Peninsula: Winter Birding

February 15, 2010

Brant on the beach at Dosewallips State Park, north of the river bridge.


This bird is known as “Common Gull” in British bird guides for Europe.