Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Western Washington

We followed the Pacific Ocean to Westport, WA and found a good area for shorebirds on the huge shallow bay of Grays Harbor.  We counted 514 Red Knots, with smaller numbers of Sanderlings, Dunlin, Western Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers and Short-billed Dowitchers.
Red Knot

From the new observation tower on the jetty we watched 7 Jaegers (6 Parasitic & 1 Pomarine) harassing the large numbers of Common Terns and gulls.

We attended a small Baptist Church where the visiting pastor gave an encouraging talk on the "Fourth Wave" of mission outreach.

We settled into Copalis Beach for 3 nights.  This is the season for Razor Clam harvest for the Native Americans (3 days of commercial, 3 for personal use).  They dug like crazy for 4 hours at low tide, then a Ranger came driving along the beach with lights & siren signaling everyone off the beach, except for us bird watchers.

This Glaucous Gull along with many Glaucous-winged Gulls hunted the incoming tide for Dungeness Crab and flatfish.

We drove into Olympic National Park staying one night on the south beach and one in the Hoh Rain Forest.  We walked the "Hall of Mosses" trail of virgin Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and one area of Big Leaf Maple.

We found this dark Red Squirrel along the trail.

Roosevelt Elk rested near the campground.  We heard American Dipper along the river and Varied Thrushes were calling high in the forest.

The western Song Sparrows here are very dark red and have an unusual song.  Everything in the rain forest is darker providing good concealment.

We drove to the most Northwestern point of the lower 48 states and walked to the lookout of colony nesting birds on Cape Flattery.  The beautiful rock caves, islands and many birds were worth walking the mile long meandering steep trail through the forest.

On the drive back off the point, we spotted this Bald Eagle along the shore, stopping for a drink and later a bath.

We spent 2 days a Elwha Dam RV park where they are removing the dam on the Elwha River to restore it for the natural Salmon run.

This Salmonberry is a favorite of the Roosevelt Elk, Black-headed Grosbeaks and other birds.

We arrived early on Memorial Day for the Port Townsend's Ferry and crossed before the heavy traffic began.  We saw large concentrations of Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, some Tufted Puffins along with gulls and cormorants feeding in the tidal currents.

We settled into North Whidbey Island RV Park across the road from Deception Pass State Park.  We walked the trails and this Barred Owl came in as Ty was pishing for warblers.  The owl brought in a whole entourage of scolding & dive-bombing chickadees, robins and a hummingbird.

We walked to the beach and this White-crowned Sparrow landed on the driftwood near us to sing his territorial song.

 There were many beautiful dune flowers blooming in between the driftwood.
Yellow Beach Verbena

This photo of Deception Island was taken from high on Goose Rock overlook.  Early explorers found the turbulent tidal waters coming through the pass to be surprisingly deceptive resulting in many sunken ships.

We will be crossing into Canada tomorrow and be in British Columbia for about a week before driving into Alaska.  Think of you as we go northwest.
Love & Prayers,  Ty & Ida Baumann

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