This was the weekend I set aside to look for shorebirds at the coast. I headed to the ocean beaches in Clatsop County. As they were a few weeks before, when I arrived at low tide at Gearhart the beaches were packed with clammers.
Not my favorite way to bird, driving around and in between parked cars and people.
I tried to scan the large flocks of Western Sandpiper for rarities.
None found except I spotted one lone Baird's Sandpiper on the back side of a flock, no photo. I drove the 4.7 miles from 10th St to the Sunset exit. I got tired of the crowds and dodging cars, I bailed despite all the birds. I estimated 10,000 Westerns and 3000 Dunlin, One Western every yard over that distance would be 8,300 birds. I am probably low in my numbers.
Whimbrel were also scattered about the beach.
After a quick stop at Parking Lot B and C to see if any beaches were empty of clammers, they were not, I headed to the Airport Ponds. They had some warblers singing and Savannah Sparrows out as well. Savannah Sparrows are one of my favorite sparrows: if you see them , you are in a good spot to bird.
I checked out a few spots around the airport with no luck on shorebirds. I decided to head back to Parking Lot C and just wait for the tide to come up and watch the birds stream off the beach.
When I got to the jetty, I could see groups of birds on the beach. Things were looking up.
Four Red Knots and a Dunlin.
Cape May or Clatsop County? Three Red Knots, two Black-bellied Plover and a Ruddy Turnstone.
I decided this was a Short-billed Dowitcher, no hump and even flank marks. I think I heard it call.
Nice group shot. Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover and Dunlin.
Sanderlings prefer feeding in the waves, rather than the sand. But not as far out as phalarope, which is one shorebird I did not see today.
Birds were flying off the beach up over the jetty and on northward.
Four species flying by. I think the Sanderling is a first-spring bird. Looks like it is still in basic plumage. I was wondering if it molted yet still maintained a basic aspect. I could not relocate it,
When he is done he goes up to the edge of the dune and drops his stick. I think he is hiding it from other dogs.
After a few cars came and went, most of the birds had left the ocean beach. I walked out to the River Beach and relocated the flocks.
Three different views of Red Knots. The gray rump is a good field mark.
My favorite Red Knot photo of the day. Stocky bird with broad-based wings.
I was scanning the peeps looking for a stint when I saw this plover, it was obviously smaller than the Black-bellied Plover nearby.
Bill looked long for an American and body was not elongated looking due to the longer wings on American. White extending down the sides. I decided it was a Pacific Golden-Plover.
White under-tail coverts. I do not see long wings.
I had to smile when it ignored the aggression from the much larger Black-bellied.
I always hope to spot a Royal Tern that was dragged north with the Caspian Terns in early spring, no luck today.
All black shorebird, I was thinking Spotted Redshank, but went with Turkey Vulture instead :)
I did not ask what was on the menu, I assumed sea lion.
Done with the river, I cut back over to my car, Whimbrel were arriving at the shorebird flats for high tide.
My total shorebird count for the beaches around Parking Lot C and the flats totaled
Least Sandpiper (just two)
Baird's Sandpiper (one)
Short-billed Dowitcher (plus a few dowitcher flocks, tried for Long-billed)
Marbled Godwit (one)
Wandering Tattler (one)
Pacific Golden-Plover (one)
Wilson Snipe (one)
Ruddy Turnstone (thanks to Marcia for noting I forgot the Ruddy when first posted)
Great day at the beach.
Thanks for visiting.