Posts Tagged ‘Sequim’


February 13, 2011

Our Colorado birders got 114 species on the Oregon/Washington State trip last week.  As we headed south from the Olympic Peninsula we got our final two species at the Wild Birds Unlimited Store along Hwy 101 southeast of Sequim.  Pine Siskin and Cassin’s Finch were among the crowd in the garden full of feeders there at WBU.

Look at the beak on this fella.  It would make a House or Purple Finch jealous.  It’s a serious seed-crunching implement.

Amonmg our 114 species: five alcids including a few fly-by Cassin’s Auklets and good look at Rhino Auklets. There were twenty-nine species of waterfowl from Trumpeter Swans to Eurasian Wigeon, three mergansers, two goldeneyes, Harlequin, Long-tailed Duck and both scaup in large numbers.

You got your Wood Duck, your Mandarin Duck, your Cinnamon Teal or even your Red-breasted Goose.  But this guy in full breeding regalia…Parisian courtiers could not conceive of such glamor.  Neither could I until I finally saw this duck up close a few years back.  This male and his mate paddled around the Keystone Ferry harbor, Whidbey Island, within thirty feet of us for half an hour.  An ecstatic half-hour for our birding group.

We did OK on raptors, with over sixty different Bald Eagle sightings. 

And we enjoyed some pretty good land-birding as well, from Pileated down to Pacific (nee Winter) Wren and both kinglets at close range.  And then there is the Northwest’s scenery where snow, fog, steep mountains, volcanoes and blue seas combine for a panorama not found in most of the world.

Not the overcast skies but no rain.  While the Coloradans’ friends and family struggled with blizzard and sub-freezing, we breezed around the Northwest under mild temps of 45-55 degrees and only a half day of rain in seven days afield. 

Finally there were several satisfying looks at Varied Thrush, including one in the garden at Wild Birds our last day.

The park is named for the Dr. Tolmie who gave his name to the Latin binomial for MacGillivray’s Warbler.

This group of VATH was in the shade beneath the Sitka spruce at Tolmie State Park near Olympia, WA.


October 26, 2010

More pictures from the birders on our 2010 winter trips to the Pacific Northwest.  HERE YOU CAN FIND OUT ABOUT OUR TRIP IN 2011.


Brant loafing along the shore of Hood Canal, Washington State.  Photo by Steve Murray.

Male White-winged Scoter, Hood Canal.  By Steve Murray.

Harlequin couple on the rocks along Hood Canal.  Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

Male Olds… Long-tailed Duck cruising the yacht harbor at Sequim, Washington.  Photo by Ms Mitchell.

A Glaucous-winged Gull struggles to get up enough speed to show its disapprobation of an adult Bald Eagle.  The eagle seemed to be carrying a Coot  in its talons.  This action shot by Ms Jeannie Mitchell.

Red-tailed Hawk dining on fresh rodent, Sauvie’s Island, Oregon.  Photo by Ms Mitchell.

Trumpeter Swans in flight, Sauvie’s Island, Oregon.  Photo by Ms Mitchell.

Whidbey Island beach, photo by Jennifer Hyypio.  Here we saw a large flock of Black Oystercatchers.  A flotilla of Harlequins, several species of loon and grebe fished offshore and a Pacific (nee “Winter’) Wren came down to insect-hunt in the driftwood.

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.

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:

Brant and more Brant

February 9, 2010

Lovely necklace, no?

All these Brant were along the shore in Dosewallips State Park along Hwy 101, Washington State.

Besides the beatific Brant there was the whizzing Merlin shattering a flock of Starlings; the hundreds of Siskins hissing in the alder tops; a trio of Long-tailed Ducks with the male as caboose, his spiney stern ruddering across the surface of the sound; Hooded Mergansers and Bufflehead diving in water so clear we could see every feather as they swam after prey.  But those are stories for a later blog.

Location:     Potlatch State Park
Observation date:     2/8/10
Number of species:     28

Canada Goose     15
American Wigeon     50
Mallard     20
Greater Scaup     6
Surf Scoter     65
White-winged Scoter     4
Long-tailed Duck     1
Common Goldeneye     35
Barrow’s Goldeneye     12
Hooded Merganser     2
Red-breasted Merganser     4
Pacific Loon     3
Common Loon     2
Horned Grebe     5
Red-necked Grebe     4
Eared Grebe     1
Double-crested Cormorant     4
Pelagic Cormorant     3
Great Blue Heron     2
Bald Eagle     2
Western Gull     2
Thayer’s Gull     1
Glaucous-winged Gull     16
Pigeon Guillemot     1
Belted Kingfisher     1
American/Northwestern Crow     5
Chestnut-backed Chickadee     12
Red-breasted Nuthatch     2
American Robin     3

Location:     Dosewallips State Park
Observation date:     2/8/10
Number of species:     27

Brant (Black)     250
Canada Goose (Large)     15
American Wigeon     16
Mallard     45
Northern Pintail     10
Greater Scaup     8
Surf Scoter     250
White-winged Scoter (North American)     125
Common Goldeneye     36
Barrow’s Goldeneye     2
Common Merganser     6
Horned Grebe     3
Red-necked Grebe     2
Western Grebe     1
Pelagic Cormorant     2
Great Blue Heron     2
Bald Eagle     2
Cooper’s Hawk     2
Merlin     1
Mew Gull     50
Ring-billed Gull     25
Glaucous-winged Gull     30
European Starling     120
Song Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     6
Red-winged Blackbird     1
Pine Siskin     300

Location:     Sequim and Dungeness
Observation date:     2/8/10
Number of species:     20

American Wigeon     10
Mallard     16
Northern Pintail     6
Ring-necked Duck     15
Greater Scaup     8
Surf Scoter     6
Long-tailed Duck     3
Bufflehead     18
Common Goldeneye     6
Hooded Merganser     12
Common Merganser     8
Red-breasted Merganser     4
Pied-billed Grebe     1
Horned Grebe     4
Western Grebe     1
Pelagic Cormorant     4
Great Blue Heron     2
Pigeon Guillemot     8
Belted Kingfisher     1
American/Northwestern Crow     40
Song Sparrow     3

List of species from Northwest Birding Trip, January, 2010

February 2, 2010

PIB Northwest Birding Trip, January, 2010
Birds Seen–Updated Feb 15, 2010

Harlequin Duck pair at Hama Hama.

Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

Snowy Goose
Ross’s Goose, Sauvie Island
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan, Sequim
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon, Sauvie Island
Am. Wigeon
GW Teal
[Common Teal, the European teal not yet seen as separate species by AOU]
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter, Hood Canal
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, Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Brandt’s Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret, Sauvie Island
Bald Eagle
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-tailed hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Merlin,  Cannon Beach
Sandhill Crane, Sauvie Island
Black-bellied Plover
Black Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Marbled Godwit, Sequim\
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Cassin’s Auklet, Marbled Murrelet
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-dove
Mourning Dove
Short-eared Owl, Sauvie Island
Anna’s Hummingbird,                Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker                     Northern Shrike, Sauvie’s Island, seen by two of our group
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, Nisqually NWR (seen by only part of our group on final day)
GC Kinglet

RC Kinglet, Hermit Thrush,  Am. Robin
Varied Thrush, seen by only a few of the group, Fort Stevens
Wrentit, heard by all, seen by only two of the group, Coffeeberry Lake, Ft. Stevens
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
DE Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer’s Blackbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Total species:  117 including Common Teal

Pictures From Puget Sound

January 29, 2010

Here are some fine pictures by Tom Bush, one of the PIB expedition members on the Northwest birding trip.  We expect to do another trip in 2011.  The next group to go will gather in Portland next week.

There could not be a more emblematic bird for our trip than the Harlequin.  This delicately marked duck goes from breeding on crashing streams to wintering on cold, open water.  Here’s a pair of males cruising off Whidbey Island.

Here’s a pair on the rugged shore at Hama Hama on the Hood Canal.

Here’s that same pair, now alerted to our staring gaze.

Top to bottom:

Barrow’s Goldeneye male on Hood Canal at Potlatch State Park.

Common Goldeneye male practices for the spring displaying competition.

Truly a golden eye.

Black Oystercatcher feeding on the beach at Sequim yacht harbor.

Young Bald Eagle at Nisqually NWR.  We probably saw four dozen different Bald Eagles on this trip.  Sightings included a copulating pair at Railroad Bridge Park in Sequim.  Tow different eagles with ducks at Whidbey Island.  Most amazing was a young eagle catching, then losing, a Cackling Goose on a lake on Sauvie Island.  That action attracted three other Bald Eagles and not even the mature individual could re-capture the goose which actually dove to escape capture.

Trumpeters at Sequim.

Song Sparrow, Nisqually.

Sequim and Whidbey Island

January 29, 2010

Top to bottom:  Bewick Wren sings at Railroad Bridge Park in Sequim.

A “beach wren.”  This is Winter Wren feeding among the huge driftwood logs along rocky shore on Whidbey Island.  At Fort Ebey State Park.

This looks like a very busy male Bufflehead with his harem on Admiralty Inlet off Whidbey Island.

Black Oystercatcher along the shoreline at Fort Ebey State Park.

Two Dunlins on the mudflats along Penn Cove on Whidbey Island’s east side.

Greater Yellowlegs on the same mudflats.

Yellowlegs high stepping.

Loon offshore of Whidbey Island. There were also numerous Harlequin Ducks and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks far from the beach.

Location:     Whidbey Island
This includes birds seen from ferryboat between Port Townsend and Whidbey Island.

Observation date:     1/26/10
Number of species:     46

Brant (Black)     6
Gadwall     4
American Wigeon     120
Mallard     15
Northern Pintail     150
Lesser Scaup     6
Harlequin Duck     25
Surf Scoter     10
Long-tailed Duck     3
Bufflehead     80
Common Goldeneye     45
Hooded Merganser     4
Red-breasted Merganser     50
Red-throated Loon     1
Horned Grebe     16
Red-necked Grebe     10
Eared Grebe     2
Western Grebe     3
Double-crested Cormorant     20
Pelagic Cormorant     40
Great Blue Heron     8
Bald Eagle     5
Northern Harrier     1
Red-tailed Hawk     2
American Coot     10
Black-bellied Plover     30
Black Oystercatcher     25
Greater Yellowlegs     10
Western Sandpiper     80
Dunlin (Pacific)     200
Mew Gull     1
Western Gull     6,     Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)     100
California Gull     4
Herring Gull (American)     3
Glaucous-winged Gull     150
Common Murre     1
Pigeon Guillemot     50
Cassin’s Auklet     3
Rock Pigeon     40
Belted Kingfisher     2
Northwestern Crow     8
Winter Wren     4
Golden-crowned Kinglet     10
Song Sparrow     5
Golden-crowned Sparrow     6
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     8