Washington Coast.

By Saturday night I had decided that although I was sick and should be resting, rare birds will not flock to my couch for me to see.  I had to go see them myself.  I set my alarm for early on Sunday and headed to the Washington coast where rare and interesting birds keep turning up. 

First stop: Westhaven State Park in Westport.  A Northern Wheatear had been found on Friday and I was crossing my fingers it was still there.  Imagine the scene from The Big Year with the McKay's Bunting (I think that was the bird) with the birders running all over the place.  That was how the wheatear scene worked.  The bird would fly into some tall grass, then suddenly take off to the jetty, then fly out over the bay to a rocky point- all decent distances apart.  Birders were running with tripods, fully decked in bulky rain gear, looking like complete goons. 

I never saw it sit still (though I hear it sat for a nice long time after I left) but I did catch it in flight...

Yeah, bad photos, but I got much better looks with my bins.  It was my first time at the park and I was happy to see some of the other birds around, like a Whimbrel in the distant mist...

And a flyby blur of a Black Turnstone...

The morning's misty rain quit after about an hour, as I returned to the car to retrieve the mutts.  The weather stayed dry till about 1:30 which was awesome and completely unexpected.  I walked the dogs on the beach and found these four finches posing nicely on a stick...

On to the next stop: Harbor Resort Motel next to the Westport Marina.  A Common Eider turned up here awhile back and has so far stuck around.  Some people staying at the motel kindly let us use their deck to view the bird...

Others had determined it is a first year male.  

As you can see it was a good day for bad photos!  At least I saw this guy through someone's scope which made him look more like this photo.  On the drive out of the parking area I noticed someone scooping cat food out for a big stray cat and raccoon population.  It was kind of weird...

From Westport we headed south to our third stop: Grayland Beach State Park.  A Wilson's Plover had been hanging out with some Snowy Plovers here for awhile.  I failed to find the Wilson's (as did everyone else I talked to, though seemed to be found later on) but did find a couple of the Snowys...

This beach also had a nice big pack of Dunlin, a slew of Sanderlings, and a handful of Least Sandpipers...

After the beach we were heading south on 105 when I saw a bird up in a tree that I became convinced was a Merlin.  I pulled over in someone's driveway to take terrible photos of it...

I sent a photo over to Seagull Steve and he verified it was indeed my lifer Merlin!  Yay, second lifer of the day!

Our final stop was at the Tokeland Marina to look for the Bar-tailed Godwits.  I started off in the wrong spot and saw only pelicans, Willets, a heron and a cormorant...

I drove back around to where I was supposed to be and saw the godwits resting on the dock.  I walked down to where someone had a scope set up and saw a Bar-tailed sticking out like sore thumb. 

He woke up for about 30 seconds at one point so we could actually see him...

Yay, another lifer!  What a crazy day... So many birders out and about, and all of them so happy because the weather was great and the birds were cooperating.  Now it's time for me to rest and get better.  Hahahahah yeah right, someone found a Lapland Longspur and a Palm Warbler just up the road!  Plus I get the keys to my new house tomorrow and should probably be packing.  No rest for the wicked!  Or the sick!


  1. I can hardly drag myself 10 miles (or less?!) to see a an owl and you drive all the way up there for shorebirds. Crazy girl! Glad to hear its New House Day! Yah!

    1. Ha, well I figured it was probably my last weekend for grand adventures for awhile... I'll be too busy doing adult things like painting and gardening and such...

  2. Great birds even with the bad weather. Congrats on your lifers, Jen!

  3. Dang! Nice birding Jen, those are some most excellent species. Northern Whiteear and Bar-tailed Godwit? Plus the Eider? What'd you get 3 or 4 new lifers, while sick? You're a stud.

    1. Yep 3 lifers- the wheatear, the godwit, and the Merlin. I'm a total stud.

  4. I say....I was gonna tell you to stay in and get well, but I knew it would be a waste of time..lol
    WOW 3 new lifers? You deserve a medal!! I enjoyed seeing all the photos..very good!
    NOW take care of yourself, feel better, and start packing!! YIPPIE

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  6. Lots of major spelling and grammar errors on that last one... Anyhow...

    Why does it have to hurt me so bad when you present posts like this? Common Eider and Snowy Plover weren't even your lifers? Merlin was? What?

    Waaaaah...waaaaah... (that's me crying at home because I didn't get to see a Wheatear)

    Great birding :-)

    1. I certainly didn't mean to make you cry! Well, maybe a little bit. My family is all back in New England so Common Eiders are semi-old news, and had Snowys down in New Mexico on my road trip this spring... Merlin was a nemesis, now it's just Northern Shrike.


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