Some good shorebirds from the Ocean Shores/Westport area, WA (10/1-2/2011)

The first notable birds of my trip were many Swainson’s Thrushes going over at a rate of 30/min Friday night at about midnight near the Ocean Shores visitor center.
My most productive spot was the early morning to Oyehut (Game Range) on Saturday accessed via the end of Tonquin Ave. Rattling LAPLAND LONGSPURS seemed to be everywhere. A (or the) SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER was in the taller grasses in the company of about 15 Pectoral Sandpipers. The previously reported golden plovers (1 American, rest Pacific), a total of about 14, were in the driftwood by the beach. An eager Savannah Sparrow very intent to catch a bug in the rip-rap but who failed miserably made me smile.
A walk around Damon Point yielded my only Baird’s Sandpipers of the trip.
The super-high tide had me show up at Bottle Beach too late (2+ hours before the official high tide was WAY too late), so I opted for the Westport Marina where the 2 Bar-tailed Godwits were again present at high tide at the rocks of the Coast Guard properties to the east of float 21. You can actually ask to access the property (register at the visitor information) and will get a personal escort. Many Long-billed Dowitchers and Greater Yellowlegs were perched up on several logs on the opposite side of the river at the parking lot of John’s River WA at high tide. Other than 5 elk, there was nothing to report from there. There currently is no real shorebird habitat.
On Sunday I started my day at the Hoquiam sewage ponds. Lots of the regular sparrows, Purple Finch and Orange-crowned, 2 Black-throated Gray and 1 Townsend’s Warbler joined the oodles of Yellow-rumpeds. The mud in the sewage ponds had 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, several Wilson’s Snipe and lots of American Pipits and Long-billed Dowitchers.
Bottle Beach between 1-2pm was hopping with the 2 Bar-tailed Godwits from the Westport Marbled flock, 2 Red Knots, 3 Short-billed Dowitchers, lots of Dunlin and Sanderlings and an out-of-place Surfbird.
17 Long-billed Curlews and 6 Whimbrels were near Graveyard Spit in Tokeland. The godwit flock at the marina was very flighty, so I didn’t linger.

These pix were really hard to get as the birds were pretty skittish. Down on my belly, I was pushing forward on my belly for about 50ft. The tracksl that I left behind likely puzzled some of the regular beach walkers (“what the heck …”). A sharp birder/photographer would have been able to id my tracks easily I’m sure … :-)

The following Bar-tailed Godwit shots were obtained in the Westport Marina.

The details of the underwing are almost shocking. Also a clear view of the tail.



  1. What beautiful photos of the Pacific Golden-Plover! They were well worth the belly-crawl, I would say. Your pix of the Bar-tailed Godwit also are superb. Both long-distance migrants deserve a photographic record of this caliber.


  2. Wow, the photo of the Bar-tailed Godwit underwing is amazing. Really beautiful. Great Pacific Golden-Plover photos too.


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