Birdingpals Trip Report

Trip report - Finland goes to Washington 2005

Several weeks ago, Marvin Cooper, Georgia Conti, Barry Levine, Steve Sher and I went out for the day with Timo Lahti, and Finnish birder who was starting a grand birding tour of Washington state. We met in Lynnwood, and hit the Skagit Game range and Whidbey Island before splitting up at the Keystone ferry. We had a great day; the highlight for me was watching a serious birder get his first look at a Bald Eagle. Sometimes we forget how spectacular they really are. Below is Timo's trip report:
Jack Stephens( Birdingpal in Washington State

Trip report: Washington State Apr 24th to May 8th 2005.
On this spring I had an opportunity to do a two- week birding in WA, moving mainly on my own except for one and a half day having great guidance of Jack Stephens, Georgia Conti and their friends. This was my trip to U.S. after 1992 when I visited southern California, Arizona and New York - New Jersey.

The itinerary:
24th: Boeing ponds - Fir Island/Skagit Wildlife Area – Western Shore of Padilla Bay – Deception Pass State Park – Dugualla Bay – Swan Town – Hastie Lake Road – San de Fuca/ Penn Cove – Keystone Harbor- ferry to Port Townsend
25th: Sequim/ Kitchen Road – Dungeness NWR – Three Crabs Rd – Graysmarsh Beach – John Wayne Marina – Salt Creek Recreation Area – Twin – Sekiu
26th: Neah Bay – Cape Flattery – Hoh Rainforest/ The Moss Trail – Lake Quinault/ Amanda Park. At 9-11 pm owling round Lake Quinault (just frogs heard).
27th: Ocean Shores between Ocean Lake Way and Oyhut – Point Brown Jetty – part of Damon Point – Sewage treatment - Bill´s Spit – Grays Harbor NWR/ Bowerman Basin
28th: Brady Loop – Wenzel Slough Rd – Westport whalewatch trip – Westport Jetty – Long Beach/Seaview
29th: Fort Canby State Park/ North Head Lighthouse – North Jetty – Lake O´Neil – Ilwaco – Chinook Valley Rd (search for White-tailed Kite in constant rain) – Astoria (OR) – Puget Island Ferry – Julia Butler Hansen NWR – Ridgefield NWR
30th: Fruit Valleys sewage treatment – Ridgefield NWR – ponds in Bingen – Conboy Lake NWR/ HQ - Hansen Rd- Troh Lane Rd – White Creek Canyon – Toppenish NWR
1st: Toppenish – Pump Lake Rd – Fort Simcoe State Park – Yakima (Arboretum, Popoff Nature trail, Sportsman State Park) – road 821/Yakima Canyon – Lower Crab Creek Rd – Othello
2nd: Para Ponds – Morgan Lake Rd – Soda Lake Dam – Marsh Unit – Lind Coulee (no mudflats) – Potholes Reservoir/NW- corner – Frenchman Hills Rd – marshy lake behind ISW Rd – Frenchman Coulee – Withrow - Mansfield
3rd: the prairies soutwest of Leahy Junction – West Foster Creek Unit – Central Ferry Rd – Cameron Lake Rd – Conconully – Sinlahekin Rd
4th: Omak – Leader Lake Campground – Loup Loup - Winthrop/ sewage ponds – Conconully – Sinlahekin (plus S. Creek Rd five miles westwards) – Conners Lake – Molson – Chelan
5th: Lake Chelan State Park – Navarre Coulee Rd – Leavenworth (Blackbird Island, fish hatchery, Sleeping Lady) - Icicle Rd – Mountaineer Creek Rd – Camas Creek Rd
6th: Umtanum Rd – Wenas Rd – Boise Cascade Campground – Yakima Canyon
7th: Mt Rainier NP/ road to Sunrise closed/ in Paradise area a couple of mile long trek upslope – Nisqually NWR – Kent/ 277 street. In the evening parks in W Seattle.
8th: (a half day): Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area – Crystal Springs – Gold Creek

Some noteworthy and other observations, including 65 species (the trip total was 215):
Sooty Shearwater
230 birds between 1,00-1,20 pm Point Brown Jetty on the 27th. Some movement later afternoon, too.
American White Pelican
14 Othello/ Para ponds on May 2nd
42 + 6 north of town Yakima on the May 6th
American Bittern:
2 Ridgefield on the 30th
Wood Duck.
2 Brady Loop, 11 JB Hansen, 2 Glenwood, 23 Winthrop
Eurasian Wigeon
a pair at J.B. Hansen NWR on the 29th
7 Molson/Sidley Lake on the 4th
Harlequin Duck
7 Whidbey Island/ Hastie Lake Rd on the 24th
3 Dungeness, 18 J.Wayne Marina, 4 Salt Creek Rec.Area, 2 Sekiu on the 25th
13 Cape Flattery on the 26th
Barrows Goldeneye
6 Cook Lake, 3 Conconully Lake on the 3rd
18 Molson Lakes on the 4th
2 White Pass/a small lake on the 6th
Black Scoter
2 in Dungeness on the 25th
3 Whidbey Island/ Swantown on the 24th
Hooded Merganser
1 male near J.Wayne Marina on the 25th
a pair in J.B. Hansen NWR on the 29th
Northern Harrier
Common: total 19 exx
Golden Eagle
1 imm. Cameron Lake Rd on the 3rd
2 adults Yakima Canyon
American Kestrel
Common, total sum 34
2 Yakima Canyon on the 6th
1 Sinlahekin on the 4th
Sage Grouse
12 males at lek SW off Leahy Junction on the 3rd
Blue Grouse
male displaying in Sinlahekin (only heard)
3 Brady Loop Rd on the 28th
Virginia Rail
1 Ridgefield on the 29th
Sandhill Crane
4 Conboy Lake on the 30th
11 Cameron Lake Rd/ Duley Lake on the 3rd
Pacific Golden Plover
1 Brady Loop on the 28th
American Avocet
Lesser Yellowlegs
1 Ridgefield on the 29th
Long-billed Curlew
4 solitary birds in Waterville Plateau and southwards
Marbled Godwit
A larger concentration: 328 Ocean Shores/ Damon Rd and to north on the 27th
2 Westport Jetty on the 28th
+400 Ocean Shores on the 27
Western Sandpiper
Larger concentrations: +22.000 Ocean Shores, within a three mile long beach on the 27th
+14.000 Bowerman Basin on the 27th
Red Knot
1 Ocean Shores on the 27th
e.g. +2000 Ocean Shores on the 27th
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Larger concentration: +500 Ocean Shores/ Ocean City State Park on the 27th
Rock Sandpiper
2 (of which 1 in winter plumage) Point Brown Jetty on the 27th
2 (both in breeding plumage) Westport Jetty on the 28th
Wilson´s Phalarope
1 Toppenish NWR on the 30th
Black-legged Kittiwake
6 (3 ad 3 imm) Point Brown Jetty heading NW on the 27th
3 off Ocean Shores on the 28th
Sabine´s Gull
1 (almost in full br. plumage) off Ocean Shores (whalewatch) on the 28th
Forster´s Tern
1 Lower Crab Creed Rd on the 1st
2 Othello/Para Ponds on the 2nd
Tufted Puffin
2 at the strait in Keystone ferry on the 24th
16 Cape Flattery, the waters of Tatoosh Island on the 26th
Barn Owl
1 young at the twinbarns in Ridgefield
Northern Pygmy-Owl
1 in Sinlahekin on the 3rd
Barred Owl
a pair in Western Seattle on the 7th
Anna´s Hummingbird
1 Hoh Rainforest on the 26th
1 Seattle on the 7th
Rufous Hummingbird
1 male in Fir Island on the 24th
Calliope Hummingbird
1 male in Conconully on the 4th
Lewis´s Woodpecker
12 within less than 400 yards in Fort Simcoe State Park on the 1st
Williamson´s Sapsucker
1 female at Loup Loup on the 4th
White-headed Woodpecker
1 female Leavenworth/fish hatchery on the 5th
a pair Camas Creek Rd on the 5th
1 male Wenas/Boise Cascade campground on the 6th
Pileated Woodpecker
1 Cape Flattery on the 26th
1 White Creek Canyon on the 30th
Vaux´s Swift
5 White Creek Canyon on the 30th
a few in Sinlahekin on the 4th
4 Rattlesnake Recr. Area on the 8th
Cassin´s Vireo
1 Wenas Road on the 6th
Warbling Vireo
Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area on the 8th
Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 male near the uttermost end of Westport Jetty(!) on the 28hth
1 female Loup Loup on the 4th
White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ridgefield on the 29th
1 Conconully on the 4th
Rock Wren
2 Frenchman Coulee on the 2nd
1 Yakima Canyon on the 6th
Townsend´s Solitaire
1 Yakima/Sportsman State Park on the 1st
2 Boise Cascade Campground on the 6th
Hermit Thrush
1 Westport Jetty on the 28th
2 Fort Canby State Park on the 29th
Varied Thrush
3 Cape Flattery, 1 Amanda Park 1 on the 26th
1 Cape Disappointment on the 29th
2 singing Mt Rainier N.P.
Sage Thrasher
1 southwest of Leahy Junction on the 3rd
American Pipit
1 singing Mt Rainier/ Paradise on the 7th
Cedar Waxwing
about 25 in Yakima´s Arboretum on the 1st
2 Leavenworth/behind the fish hatchery on the 5th
Sage Sparrow
1 Silica Rd (north of Frenchman Coulee) on the 2nd
Grasshopper Sparrow
1 Frenchman Hills Rd on the 2nd
3 Cameron Lake Rd on the 3rd
Lincoln´s Sparrow
1 Grays Harbor on the 27th
2 Yakima
Cassin´s Finch
4 Wenas Rd on the 6th
+ Probable escape:
Egyptian Goose
1 Boeing ponds on the 24th

The trip was great with many aftersought species, although a handful of wanted (and not so rare) species unfortunately not seen, e.g. White-tailed Kite, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Wild Turkey, Gray Flycatcher, Rosy Finch and Evening Grosbeak. Of all the beautiful habitats visited I found the rainforests of northwestern Olympic Peninsula with all giant trees to be most stunning and unique.


Timo Lahti

Last update 30/12/2012