Tim Boyer Photography

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Red Knot

Bird Quest 2014 #20

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Ocean Shores Ruff! Last month I spent four days around Grays Harbor photographing shorebirds and teaching a Fall Shorebird Photography Workshop.  Here are the new birds for the year from that outing.  I spent most of my time at Ocean Shores, since the first day I drove from the beach access point by the Best Western north towards the casino.  It was near the casino that I found the juvenile Ruff.  What a great start to the trip!

Juvenile Ruff eating marine worms on the outer coast, Ocean Shores, WA.
Juvenile Ruff eating marine worms on the outer coast, Ocean Shores, WA.
Red KNot and a couple of Black-bellied Plovers.
Red KNot and a couple of Black-bellied Plovers.

Fall migration was really happening, I found three Red Knots in a group of Black-bellied Plovers, Sanderlings, Western Sandpipers and Short-billed Dowitchers.  This year was the first time I was able to find Red Knots during the fall migration.  It's interesting to note the different plumage stages of the Black-bellied Plovers as well.

Caspian Tern hanging out on the beach.
Caspian Tern hanging out on the beach.

These big loud Terns hang out on the beach with the gulls, but typically don't allow a very close approach.  I was able to get pretty close by staying in my car and using it as a photo-blind.  Well that and a big telephoto lens didn't hurt any.

Lesser Yellowlegs at Oyehut Wildlife Area, Ocean Shores.
Lesser Yellowlegs at Oyehut Wildlife Area, Ocean Shores.

There was a good mix of Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs at Oyehut Wildlife Area.

Short-billed Dowitcher, Westport, WA.
Short-billed Dowitcher, Westport, WA.

There are a bunch of Marbled Godwits at the Westport Marina, but I used this opportunity to get a comparison shot of Short-billed Dowitcher with the godwits.  It was a bit foggy still, but the birds cooperated. We sat on the beach and let the tide come in and push the birds towards us.  This works because by the time the birds get close, we're just another part of the landscape, not some scary predator.

Red-necked Phalarope, Oyehut Wildlife Area.
Red-necked Phalarope, Oyehut Wildlife Area.

This year there are a lot of Red-necked Phalaropes at the Oyehut ponds and at the Midway Beach access point ponds.

Snowy Plover, Grayland/Midway beaches, Washington outer coast.
Snowy Plover, Grayland/Midway beaches, Washington outer coast.

Well, it's not a great image, but it is a Snowy Plover, and  since there are so few of them around, I'm going to include it.  I wish the fog would have held off a little longer, minutes before it was crystal clear on the beach, and of course that would have made a much better image!

Enjoy!

Thanks

Tim

(PS This brings me to 117 birds photographed for the year. )

Washington Shorebirds in Peril

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment
A Red Knot searching for food on Bottle Beach, Bottle Beach State Park.
A Red Knot searching for food on Bottle Beach, Bottle Beach State Park.

While presenting a shorebird identification program to the Grays Harbor Audubon Society last weekend, I learned that there are plans for railroad oil tankers to offload crude oil into ships in the Port of Grays Harbor.  All of this oil transfer would take place right next to the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. During spring migration it's estimated that 50% of the 17,000 remaining roselaari subspecies of Red Knot use Grays Harbor.  The Red Knots used to concentrate across the harbor on Bottle Beach, but now use an area near Grass Creek which is closer to the Port transfer site.  Grays Harbor has been described by the American Bird Conservancy as the most important staging and stopover spot for shorebirds on the Pacific Coast outside of Alaska. 50% of the remaining 3,500,000 Western Sandpipers also use Grays Harbor during migration. The Western Sandpiper population has already declined by 50% or more, in 1973 there was an estimated count of 6,500,000 just on the Cooper River Delta alone.  Over one million birds use the harbor as a critical feeding spot.  Even a slight degradation on the food supply could make migration more difficult or reduce body fat so the birds can't survive the first few days or weeks on the tundra. For more information visit Friends of Grays Harbor or Grays Harbor Audubon Society.

Photo/Birding Project 2013

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Photographic Big Year Update It's been pointed out to me that really I'm doing a photographic big year, so I think I'll just call it that.  This posting will put me at 95 birds this year.  A far cry from where I thought I would be at this point.  So, this week I'm going to go try to re-focus.  The attached nine birds were seen around Grays Harbor last week.

Red Knot, Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA with Short-billed Dowitchers and Western Sandpipers.
Red Knot, Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA with Short-billed Dowitchers and Western Sandpipers.

There was only  one Red Knot in the group of shorebirds I was close to on this day.

Short-billed Dowitcher feeding at Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA
Short-billed Dowitcher feeding at Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA
Greater Yellowlegs actively feeding at Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA.
Greater Yellowlegs actively feeding at Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA.

Some days the fog never burns off, but when a Greater Yellowlegs walks by as it's fishing, it's still a great day!

Osprey, Brady Loop Road
Osprey, Brady Loop Road

Same day on the way home, I stopped at Brady Loop Road and was able to get a few images of this Osprey with nesting materail in its talons.

Dunlin in breeding plumage, feeding at Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA
Dunlin in breeding plumage, feeding at Bottle Beach State Park, Grays Harbor, WA
Canada Goose flying over Bowerman Basin, Garys Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Canada Goose flying over Bowerman Basin, Garys Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Rock Sandpiper North Jetty, Ocean Shores , WA
Rock Sandpiper North Jetty, Ocean Shores , WA
Wandering Tattler, North Jetty, Ocean Shores, WA in breeding plumage
Wandering Tattler, North Jetty, Ocean Shores, WA in breeding plumage
Breeding plumage Surfbird on teh North Jetty, Ocean Shores, WA.
Breeding plumage Surfbird on teh North Jetty, Ocean Shores, WA.