Saturday, December 1, 2012

South Jetty.

I had an awesome morning at Fort Stevens today.  I completely abandoned my original game plan for the day and it worked out splendidly.  I arrived at the coast yesterday afternoon but by the time I made it to the South Jetty it was too dark for Snowy Owl-finding.  I did find a giant elk though:


I should mention it was also pouring rain with crazy winds.  When I woke up this morning I was pumped to find the rain had ceased though the wind was still kicking.  As soon as it was light out I headed to the jetty ready to conquer.


The dogs and I walked down the gravel trail and through a foot of water...


...towards the beach where I found a white dot sticking out like a sore thumb.  Success!  I gave the bird a lot of space since I was attached to two mutts...


Later on from the beach I climbed up one of the dunes to see if I could spot any others- I found one more and took some blurry photos.  The wind was really gusting up that high and I couldn't hold the camera straight. 


On the beach I found some gulls working on a big ole carcass (fish? seal?), with a Sanderling occasionally nabbing a tidbit. 


The walk down the beach was nice, but the walk back was against the wind...


It started raining off and on during the walk back but I did take a second to photograph these two birds I thought were the same at the time.  Obviously they are not:


Looks like a Least Sandpiper and a Dunlin?  Earlier before I even reached the first Snowy Owl I saw seven white birds fly in and land in the water.  I took some quick shots briefly thinking it was weird that those Sanderlings were swimming.  Of course when I looked at the photos later I realized they were phalaropes- Red Phalaropes in fact...


The last leg of the walk back to the car was rough.  The wind and rain joined forces to the point where I feared if I dropped the dogs' leashes they would in fact blow away.  I think they would have at least been blown off the trail, no joke. 

A very successful outing!  After sitting in the car and warming up for a bit the rain slowed down.  The sun came out.  I decided to ditch my original plan to drive to Tillamook and take advantage of the nice weather at hand and visit a couple other favorite Fort Stevens spots.  I'll save those for another post though.  Good times!

11 comments:

  1. That's a nice assortment of storm birds. I don't think I will get the chance to reconnect with any Snowy Owls this year unfortunately...

    The fish is a salmon, obvi.

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    1. Obvi. I'm sure your Florida trip more than made up for a lack of Snowies...

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  2. Nice collection of white birds!

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  3. BOY That wind was howling by the looks of the moving sands! SO COOL you saw the Snowies!! You Rock...thats Jake? He looks ready to hit the car for some R n R!
    Amazing that you also saw Phalaropes, is that a new bird for your list?

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    1. Thanks, Sondra! Yep that's Jake, his ears were blowing around in the wind. The phalaropes weren't new for me but I think they were only my second or third sighting.

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  4. So I found the water there too deep to walk through and walked/ bushwacked north (?) of the parking lot and looped around to the dune next to the beach. I only had to wade through 6 inches of water, but it was a long hike through grass and over driftwood. So awesome you saw them. I doubt I'll go back out this weekend. I think Ridgefield is calling me :)

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    1. I hear ya, but you should get out there sometime this winter if they stick around!

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  5. Dang that's some hardcore stone cold birding right there.
    Those Owls make ya work for em; it must be pretty exhilarating to pick those white puffs out of the seaside grass.

    That carcass looks like an immature sockeye salmon (the immatures have those cute little nice-lookin' teeth).

    They say this'll be year two of the irruption and then the Snowies won't come down for another 10 years or so.
    Sideways unhappy face.

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    1. Oh dear, sideways unhappy face. You're being a teenage girl again! Thanks for the fish ID- I know zilch about those slippery creatures.

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  6. Wow, very cool seeing the Snowy Owls again this year. I hope to see some in Maryland too. Cool sighting of the Phalaropes. A great outing, I am envious! Happy Birding!

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