"No thanks, I already have Hairy woodpecker on my year list"
This was a really good laugh. I politely declined since 9:30pm didn't work for me! Anyway, let's get on with it....
Today was mainly a moving day to position myself for the start of my Pacific Coast birding this weekend. I had a very nice morning with my college friend, Joe, and his wife, Jen, in Olympia, WA. It was nice to lounge around with them and do a bit more catching up. I only had to ride ~50 miles today, so there was no real pressure to hit the road early. When I did get rolling, it was cloudy and cool - perfect riding weather. I did make one rather major birding stop at Capitol State Forest. I was not completely sure what to expect. It was incredibly quiet, but I did scape up my first Varied thrush of the year for bird #530! It was a bit scruffy looking, so I am still looking forward to finding a nice clean adult male at some point later in the trip. There was a fair amount of ATV activity today (UGH), so what Sooty grouse might have been around were surely scared off by these "outdoor enthusiasts".
48 miles today
I reached Aberdeen, WA in the late afternoon. Tomorrow morning I will bike the 27 miles to the southern tip of Ocean Shores. The birding will really heat up at this point. The most sought after prize is Pacific golden-plover. There have been several of these birds hanging around the area for the last week; Hopefully they will stay put for one more day. Outside of this particularly tricky species, I will certainly find a number of other more common birds that will be new for the year. These include:
Black oystercatcher (possible, though unlikely at this spot)
Greater white-fronted goose (they have been seen migrating over the area recently)
Elegant tern (still on bit far north, but they've beed seen near here)
Tufted puffin (how lucky could I get - I got word today that there are still birds at Haystock Rock, OR. I'm racing to get there before they leave!)
With enough searching of jetties and oceans in next 3-4 days, I fully expect to find the the first 10 birds listed above. The last four will come at some point either this weekend or later, I am sure of it. This is also a really good time for shorebird rarities, so I will be on the look out for birds like Bar-tailed godwit which are annual at this location. I am very good at identifying shorebirds, so if there is something good floating around, I am confident I will pick it out. I now have my spotting scope and tripod back in my hands after it was completely overhauled by Lecia during the summer. I use the original 77mm APO Televid. Interestingly, when I sent it into be serviced, it had a straight eyepiece. When it came back, it had an angled eyepiece! This doesn't bother me one bit as now I can more easily share views with shorter observers. Only problem with the scope/tripod is the 8 lbs that it adds to my kit!
I am going to have a hard time sleeping tonight since I am so excited about birding tomorrow. Could you imagine if I could get 10 year birds tomorrow?!!? Its going to be exciting.
Oh, if you ever make it to Aberdeen, you simply MUST check out the Star Wars Store! It is just incredible!
Props in front of store
Mural on side of store
Lastly, the ABA has decided that Egyptian goose is now a countable species if observed in South Florida. Please see this article for specifics. I saw two of these birds fly over the Wakodahatchee Wetlands on March 1st. I made a mental note of this since I knew there was a movement afoot to make this a countable species. I see no reason why I cannot add this bird to my list. It's not a terribly satisfying addition, but I did see it. It was not countable on the day I saw it, but it has been made countable during my big year. I am not sure whether to add it to the list as the number when I actually saw it, #218, or add it as #531. I would note the nature of the addition at either position. I am curious what if any discussion this will generate!