Kitsap Peninsula.

I took a day trip yesterday up to the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington.  I left pretty early and found that I-5 was completely covered in ice.  Awesome.  I saw 5 separate accidents in my first hour of driving.  Cars were just sliding right off the highway.  I crossed my fingers that the trip would be worthwhile. 

The first place I wanted to visit was Point No Point near Hansville.  I read about the place in Birding Washington, and hoped like heck that it would be as bird-filled as they made it sound.  

It was beautiful for sure.

That may or may not be Mount Baker.  To the east I could see Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline...

Pretty sweet.  It looks like a beautiful day, right?  Well.. the wind was so strong it was hard to hold the camera straight, let alone keep the sand out of my eyes.  Anyway, the birds....  Lots of gulls, mostly Mew and Bonaparte's.

The bird in the front of this photo is bugging me... It seems to have almost no streaking but everything else fits a Glaucous-winged Gull.

Another shot of either the same or a similar gull later on...

My only idea is a Glaucous-winged X Herring Gull... I see that Sibley's says Herring Gulls can get their breeding plumage in February so maybe that is why it's so clean-looking.  Or I am way off and it's something else completely.

Here's a Glaucous-winged Gull snacking on a dead bird...

Some Mew Gulls soaking up the sun, or trying not to be blown away:

There were tons of Bonaparte's Gulls...

That was cool because I've only ever seen three together at once and there were well over a hundred there.

Three Brant flew by at one point and landed in the water...

Way up above the beach in a fir tree on a cliff were two Bald Eagles...

So I didn't see the birds I had hoped for, probably because I don't have a scope, but I did see some good ones.  

My next stop was Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck.  It's located on the east side of Hood Canal and faces the Olympic Mountains.  I had initially thought it was a dumb name for a park, but really, it was about as scenic a beach as they come....

And yes I had a big piece of something on my lens which I didn't notice.  Oh well!  The dogs enjoyed yet another freezing and windy walk on a beach....

The wind was making their ears stick up.  It was funny.

On our way back I stopped in the town of Seabeck to look at some ducks in the water...

Some pretty Barrow's Goldeneyes.

That was about it for my trip... I definitely need to get myself a scope so I can finally see those alcids!


  1. Even though your trip started out as a white-knuckle experience, it turned out great. I enjoyed your post immensely. I haven't been on the Kitsap much but I guess I need to remedy that. I think the one picture is not Baker. Baker has a pretty defined squared off top. I just can't tell which one it is from your viewpoint in the picture. There are so many! It might have been Glacier or Three Fingers.

  2. Wow! The scenery is amazing. I hope to get back out there someday soon. Its alot different for us flatlanders. Cold is cold though.

  3. GWGU X WEGU is the common hybrid on the west coast I for the closer shot of the gull, maybe the clean head is just a molt thing? It has a little bit of black left on its bill, which probably means its just now becoming an adult.

  4. I am most certainly a novice when it comes to gull identification, but I think yours looks good for Glaucous-winged in all ways save one. Its primaries are the exact same light shade of gray as its mantle, its face/head is bright white in its breeding plumage, but the head and bill shape instinctively remind me of Western Gull. Somehow, I think Glaucous-winged by Western is a good candidate.

    Also, I simply thought the crud on the lens was a strange moon I had never noticed before :-)

  5. I'm going with Glaucous Winged Gull. If it was a hybrid there would definitely be a darkening of the primaries. This bird shows none.

    Also the primary projection is minimal -- classic GWGU.

    I don't think the bill is out of normal range for a GWGU either. Take a look at a bird found in Westmoreland Park this Saturday on the OFO field trip.
    (Photo by Greg Gillson)
    You'll note this bird to is molting into breeding plumage.

    Regarding the smudging of the head: as others have noted this bird is moving into breeding plumage and has molted out the black/brown head feathers.

    Anyway, glad you are safe. I would've turned back for sure.


  6. Thanks for all the help guys! Glaucous-winged it is!

  7. Thats some beautiful country you visited--nice birds too! Here I'm inland so gulls is not the problem its many different ones and they look so similar its hard to tell them apart!

  8. Looked like a lot of wind out there on your trip. I can't wait for the posts of your next adventure.


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