Grass pipers! Another weekend in Ocean Shores/Westport, WA (9/7 – 9/8/2013)

It took a lot of a luck to run into the Upland Sandpiper at Damon Point near the spit. The bird was first reported about 2mi further at the Game Range. It was very antsy, flushing early and calling a lot. The photo is that bad that you can hardly recognize the species …


A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was near the tip as well.

At the Game Range small numbers of Lapland Longspurs have arrived. A Pacific Golden-Plover was mixed in with 1000s of Western Sandpipers.

On Sunday morning, after seeing an adult Elegant Tern feeding a young in the fog at Westport in the harbor, I headed over to Midway Beach and then Grayland SP. About 3/4mi south of trail 5 was Bob Sundstrom’s juvie Buff-breasted Sandpiper.


A seawatch at Twin Harbors SP yielded 2 Parasitic Jaegers and 1000s of Sooty Shearwaters. One small white-bodied tubenose was on the water far out and had to be left unid’ed.

The final stop was the outgoing tide at Bottle Beach and it was anemic. Dan noted a couple of peregrines off shore. We followed them for a while and watched one of them pick off a Common Tern.


A Labor Day AZ trip (8/31-9/2/2013)

This is actually a relatively typical juvenile Gray Hawk. Nevertheless, it often takes a moment (or two) before it actually clicks since I don’t see this species very often. This particular bird was calling a lot (and another juvenile was responding).


At the Madera Canyon Lodge, the star of the show was this male Lucifer Hummingbird.



Overall a slowish trip with an even 140 species, but many misses. I was likely the last person to see the Blue-footed Booby at Patagonia State Park. The bird had started kettling with Turkey Vultures and was very high when I lost sight of it. Amazing that it was able to tolerate the boat traffic for so long. Hope he made it out alive.

Other highlights included 2 broods of Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets (Patagonia SP), a long overdue Zone-tailed Hawk (along 82 north of Patagonia), a gnoma Northern Pygmy-Owl at Miller Canyon, a female Painted Bunting at Kino Springs and a single singing Cassin’s Sparrow at Sonoita Grasslands (just after sunset). I looked for a Brown Pelican in Tucson twice (at 2 different dreadful little parks), but came up empty. My “lifer” Rosy-faced Lovebird was easy to find near Encanto Park in Phoenix (near the airport).

The most magical moment came at Montosa Canyon in the middle of the day when I watched a family of Varied Buntings calmly feed near a little creek. The birds were completely unfazed by my presence and just went ahead with their business.