Today I birded the greater Westport, WA area. The morning was spent sea watching while the afternoon was dedicated to (not) finding Pacific golden-plover. I am not going to spend too much time discussing the un-events of today as I now face some major logistical challenges. Missing the plover is incredibly painful. Several of these birds were seen on the other side of the inlet again today. The Oyhut Game Range where the birds were seen is only 3 miles from Westport as the crow flies, but at 60 miles around the bay, I didn't have enough time to bike back to see them today. The plover has now been seen on 9 of the last 10 days at Oyhut. The outlier day was the one I chose to visit - UGH. I had lots of other eyes with me that day, so I can say with confidence that we didn't just bird carelessly and miss the plovers.
34 miles around Westport and surrounds
Birders Kyle, Chris, and Eric that I met today
Sooty shearwater feeding frenzy off Westport today.
There were tens of thousands of bird involved!
Audio is terrible, sorry.....
1) Race the 106 miles to Haystack Rock tomorrow and pray that there are still some puffins hanging around. If they have already left, then I'm chasing a bird that isn't there while simultaneously folding a great chance to tick the plover. I just hope I can do this ride in 1 day.
2) Backtrack to Oyhut tomorrow to try to nail down the plover. I may get it right away, but, if I were to go back, I must be willing to spent at least 2 days to make it worth the return trip. I could then head south down the coast towards the puffins. They could leave during this time though if they haven't left already.
I will certainly have chances at the plover as I move south into California. However, this is exactly the same situation in which I find myself with the Sooty grouse. I can get it further south, it's just going to be a much bigger pain-in-the-ass than had I been able to deal with it sooner. The grouse and plover would both be hanging over my head and require my constant attention. These 2 species could not live in more disparate habitats; This means heading in opposite directions to track them down (coast, mountains).
In a car it's so easy; Drive to Haystack tomorrow, try for Puffin, then come back up to Oyhut and stay there until the plover is found.
Here are two more Surfbird photos from yesterday!
Late afternoon light showing natural coloring
Here the color is provided by the setting sun