Whidbey Audubon Society

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Unusual Bird Sightings and Special Points of Interest

Reporter's name: Darwin Wile

Sighting Description: 200 white pelicans, low tide, foraging off Sunlight Beach Road. 75 of them were walking about on an ephemeral sand island. Good looks with a scope revealed no leg bands. The other 125 were foraging in shallow water near by. When they dipped their heads in the sea, their rear ends would go up and lift their legs out of the water. Fairly good looks at about a third of them revealed no leg bands.

Location: Useless Bay off Sunlight Beach Road

Date and time: 8/22/16; 3:30 pm

Above comment submitted Aug 22, 2016

Reporter's name: George Heleker

Sighting Description: Hello birders,

The American White Pelicans found at Deer Lagoon continue to be there in large numbers (200-205), but their activity has changed in the past two days. The pattern of the past few weeks had been for them to be spread out in various locations at the marsh side early in the day, feeding and standing on small islands, then all retire to the same location by 8:30-9:00 a.m. or so, often out of sight from the view from the dike, but view-able from Double Bluff Rd. At other times they would go to a couple small islands toward the southwest side of the marsh, somewhat distant, but in sight from the dike. There they would spend several hours resting and preening.
Once they get into a large group, they are impossible to count and so it was easy to under count their actual numbers. I was able to get accurate counts on days when I was there for the first birds to make their move to the resting/preening location, when I could count each group as they flew during the next 30 minutes to an hour.
Yesterday, there were only about 50 pelicans at the marsh side of the lagoon area, and I thought that perhaps the rest had moved on. Then around 8:30, approximately 150 flew into the marsh from the east. I didn't know where they had been, but I was glad to see them back. That was the first time that they had left and then come back again. What a sight to see them fly in!

Today I was out there with another birder who had driven down the island to see the pelicans. When we arrived, there were only around 30 birds in the marsh area. I was expecting the pelicans to return, but when 8:30 passed as did 9:30 and 10:00 with none in sight, it was not looking promising. Then a single bird flew in from the southeast, then another single bird about 5 minutes later. Off and on for the next half hour or so, larger groups came flying in, most all of them from the southeast. Back "home" for some preening and resting, just later in the day than before.

We ran into a birder who lives at Sunlight Beach to the east/southeast of the lagoon. He said that the pelicans had been feeding near Sunlight Beach and down toward Maxwelton in the morning the past two days. Mystery solved as to where they had been. With the pelicans now spending time feeding nearby in the bay, possibly they will stay around for awhile. And we're also wondering if the pelicans will choose Deer Lagoon's marsh side as a safe and comfortable place to breed next year. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, it's fun to have them around.

Location: Deer Lagoon

Date and time: 7:30-9:00 am August 12th, and 7:00-11:00 am August 13th

Above comment submitted Aug 13, 2016

Reporter's name: Cindy Willis

Sighting Description: Purple Martins have been near the Langley Marina since at least 7/21/16. Today, 4 birds (2 males and 2 females or sub adults) were hanging out on pilings off Nichols Brothers' dock between feedings.

Location: Langley marina, Langley, WA

Date and time: 8/12/16, 10:00 am

Above comment submitted Aug 12, 2016

Reporter's name: Darwin Wile

Sighting Description: Shorebirding is picking up at Deer Lagoon. Along the woodland path leading up to the west dike, among about a dozen peeps foraging were 2 red-necked phalaropes. Also 8 greater and 2 lesser yellowlegs. From the dike itself, one could see a flock of 150 or so peeps evenly divided between least and western sandpipers. Among them was also one certain Baird's sandpiper. Also 2 semi-palmated plovers. Conspicuous by their absence were black-belied plovers (yesterday they were numerous along the west dike).

Location: west dike of Deer Lagoon

Date and time: 8/9/16; 4:00 pm

Above comment submitted Aug 9, 2016

Reporter's name: Susan Bennett

Sighting Description: 3 Ospreys sitting on the edge of the nest on the platform at South Whidbey High School. Looked like 2 adults and one juvenile. Is someone monitoring that nest?
History: Last year the Osprey nest that was on top of a light at the school playing field was removed and moved to the platform erected by Whidbey Audubon, interested high school staff, a professional nest mover, and Puget Sound Energy. The plan was, if the nest was occupied in its new location, Whidbey Audubon would arrange a nest cam for the site.

Location: South Whidbey High School, between the school building and the playing fields.

Date and time: August 8, 2016, about 10 am.

Above comment submitted Aug 8, 2016

Reporter's name: Lloyd Kiff

Sighting Description: The Golden-crowned Sparrow we first discovered on 3 July set up residence near our bird feeders, and it has been seen almost daily since then. By now, it has become quite tame. I saw a male Peregrine Falcon over the house twice today, and it was being chased by Barn Swallows both times. The best bird of the day was a single Vaux's Swift skittering among the evening flight of Barn, Violet-green, and Cliff Swallows. This one brought our yard list (i.e., seen from the house)to an even 100 species since we moved here in December 2013. I saw Dave Parent's report of a Yellow-shafted Flicker, and it seems worth mention that I found bits and pieces (mostly primaries) of a dead one here on 26 July.

Location: Near Possession Point

Date and time: Various dates and times

Above comment submitted Aug 7, 2016

Reporter's name: Carla Corin

Sighting Description: Baird's Sandpiper (juvenile) on beach at Joseph Whidbey State Park.

Location: Joseph Whidbey State Park

Date and time: Aug. 7 about 12:45 p.m.

Above comment submitted Aug 7, 2016

Reporter's name: Craig & Joy Johnson photo pic1470273731_zpsplbgccv0.jpg

Sighting Description: While observing birds in our backyard, I noticed a Chipping Sparrow foraging.

Location: Freeland

Date and time: 8/3/16 6:00PM

Above comment submitted Aug 3, 2016

Reporter's name: Sarah Schmidt

Sighting Description: During a shorebird survey this morning at Crockett Lake I saw a single White Pelican. I counted 4 Greater Yellowlegs, 149 Western Sandpipers, 74 Least Sandpipers, 24 Semipalmated Plovers, 2 Killdeer, and 730 peeps not identified to species. Also a single dowitcher feeding near a flock of several hundred California Gulls and a few Caspian Terns.

Location: Crockett Lake

Date and time: August 3, 2016 8 AM

Above comment submitted Aug 3, 2016

Reporter's name: Darwin Wile

Sighting Description: A friend of mine used to say, "Negative reports are just as important as positive reports." So here goes: twice today I have scoped Deer Lagoon and the Useless Bay shore beyond and found not a single shore bird, including kildeer.

Location: Soundview Drive above Deer Lagoon

Date and time: 8/3/16; 2:30pm

Above comment submitted Aug 3, 2016

Reporter's name: Steve Ellis

Sighting Description: 2 swans, species unknown, seen in the fields at Dugualla from Frostad Road. Someone with more time should followup and nail down the species.

Location: Field above Dugualla Lake

Date and time: 8/02 9:30am

Above comment submitted Aug 2, 2016

Reporter's name: Darwin Wile

Sighting Description: There are still more than 100 pelicans hanging out west of the west dike of Deer Lagoon.
In the lagoon itself are numerous black-bellied plovers, close to a dozen greater yellowlegs and at least one lesser, flocks of peeps with both least and westerns and possible Baird's, dowitchers, kildeer.

Location: west dike of Deer Lagoon

Date and time: 7/29/16; noon

Above comment submitted Jul 29, 2016

Reporter's name: Dyanne Sheldon

Sighting Description: A flock of 100-150 gulls circling overhead (high overhead), likely Mew gulls based on their nearly totally white tail/body/wings....with black wing tips with bright white "windows" underneath at the wingtips.
Caught my attention because of the shear number of birds, the high kettling flight of the flock, and their total silence....Looking at on-line resources I might assume they were post-breeding birds moving down from the north. VERY FEW juveniles; estimated over 95% of the flock were clearly not gray-phase juvies. Never seen this number at this time of year before.

Location: South Whidbey, over Cultus Bay Rd and French Rd

Date and time: 4:30 pm, Wednesday.

Above comment submitted Jul 27, 2016

Reporter's name: Kathy Fritts

Sighting Description: Immature redbreasted sapsucker. Only have seen adults on rare occasions.

Location: Freeland at home birdfeeder. East Harbor

Date and time: 7-25-16 9am

Above comment submitted Jul 26, 2016

Reporter's name: Leckey Harrison

Sighting Description: Male Western Tanager and Black Headed Grosbeak on feeder in Langley. Have seen the female Grosbeak around. I know both are uncommon here, according to the list. I have seen the female Grosbeak here at other feeders, so I presume nesting nearby.

Location: 5th Street, Langley

Date and time: 7/26/16, approximately 8:15 AM

Above comment submitted Jul 26, 2016

Reporter's name: George and Lynne Jensen

Sighting Description: We also saw a dead Rhinocerous auklet washed up on the beach to the north of the Keystone ferry inlet, not far around the corner from the campground. Adult size, orange colored beak. So sad to learn that this is a larger phenomenon in this area.

Location: Beach north of the Keystone ferry inlet, just around the corner from the campground.

Date and time: Saturday, July 23rd, 2016, sometime in the afternoon. Tide was low.

Above comment submitted Jul 26, 2016

Reporter's name: Sarah Schmidt

Sighting Description: Sharing a report about ongoing die-off of Rhinoceros Auklets in our area.

Email from Julia Parrish, UW -- Executive Director, COASST

Subject: Re: dead auklets on beach lately

"There is indeed a die-off of rhinoceros auklets happening in the strait this summer. the short story is:
1. started in May
2. continues through present
3. we don't know what's killing them, but believe it is not lack of food
"There are folks throughout the science and resource management communities working on this issue, including COASST."

COASST is interested in all anecdotal information, as well as recruiting additional volunteers into the COASST surveys. If you encounter beached Rhinoceros Auklets, report your observations to: coasst@uw.edu

Location: Coastal beaches

Date and time: July 25, 2016

Above comment submitted Jul 25, 2016

Reporter's name: Patty blouin

Sighting Description: Backyard noticed two Anna's interacting and realizes one white. Grabbed phone got a quick pic to realize has pink beak so albino

Location: Off whales run in coupeville

Date and time: July 23, 3 p.m.

Above comment submitted Jul 24, 2016

Reporter's name: Steve Ellis

Sighting Description: I saw a light morph adult Parasitic Jaeger while scoping from the old gun battery closest to the Ft Casey Lighthouse this evening. It was twisting and turning but flying rapidly west.
Lots of other birds around: Heerman's & Bonaparte's Gulls; Rhinocerous Auklets; Common Murre; Double-crested Cormorants.

Location: Ft Casey State Park

Date and time: 7/22/2016 6:15pm

Above comment submitted Jul 22, 2016

Reporter's name: Darwin Wile

Sighting Description: shorebirds in Deer Lagoon this afternoon include 2 least and western sandpipers, semi-palmated plovers, greater yellowlegs, and numerous black-bellied plovers

Location: Deer Lagoon

Date and time: 7/22/16; 4:30 pm

Above comment submitted Jul 22, 2016

Reporter's name: Craig & Joy Johnson

Sighting Description: I noticed a White-throated Sparrow foraging in our front yard this morning.
Posting a photo to the WAS site.

Location: Freeland

Confirmation: Photo will be posted

Date and time: July 22, 2016 10:00am

Above comment submitted Jul 22, 2016

Reporter's name: Libby Hayward

Sighting Description: A group of eight White pelicans seen from the south end of Deer Lagoon Road / entry to the west dike trail.

Location: entry to west dike trail, south end of Deer Lagoon Road

Date and time: 7/21/2016, 8:00AM

Above comment submitted Jul 21, 2016

Reporter's name: Brooks Allen

Sighting Description: About 20 Semipalmated Plovers and numerous Western and Least Sandpipers in a flooded field south of Coupeville on the road to the Keystone Ferry. Marsh Street/Engle Road. Migration has begun! Also, 4 female Hooded Merganser in one of the ponds between the beach and the road east of the Keystone Ferry, Hwy 20. White Pelicans still at Deer Lagoon.

Location: Coupeville, Crockett Lake, Deer Lagoon.

Date and time: July 18' 7:00PM

Above comment submitted Jul 19, 2016

Reporter's name: Reiner Giesler

Sighting Description: Red-breasted sapsucker at the parking lot at Lone lake.

At least five dead rhinoceous auklets at the shore at ebey landing. One came up on the shore while we were standing there and it did not look very healthy. Dont know if this happens regularly with the auklets here but not observed anything similar back home in Sweden.

Nice info on birdings spots on your home page, very helpful for a visitor from abroad

reiner Giesler Umea, Sweden

Location: Lone lake and ebey landing

Date and time: 17 July after noon

Above comment submitted Jul 17, 2016

Reporter's name: Ann D.

Sighting Description: Hooded merganser, female

Location: Greenbank Farm pond

Date and time: July 15, 2016 @ 3 p.m.

Above comment submitted Jul 15, 2016

Reporter's name: George Heleker

Sighting Description: I was at the lagoon yesterday and counted approximately 140 American White Pelicans. It is difficult to get an exact count, even when all the birds are standing. I was quite surprised given that on Sunday the 10th, I only saw three and figured I might have been seeing the last of them. Today I went back with the hope that I could get a more accurate count. Fortunately, after a couple hours, the birds started flying to a different location in many small groups of two up to 35. Each group flew straight to the next spot, making an accurate count easy. After about 30 minutes they had all moved, and I had counted exactly 180 birds!

Location: West side of Deer Lagoon

Date and time: 11:00

Above comment submitted Jul 14, 2016

Reporter's name: Barbara Paul

Sighting Description: Numbers of Pelicans in Deer Lagoon is up again.The smallish batch that has been there for a while has increased to around 50.

Location: Deer Lagoon

Confirmation: WCC

Date and time: 11July, 2pm

Above comment submitted Jul 11, 2016

Reporter's name: Dave Parent photo pic1468366016_zpsfijw0ktn.jpg

Sighting Description: I euthanized a paralyzed juvenile Yellow shafted (intergrade?)Northern Flicker today.

Location: Woodard Rd, Freeland

Date and time: 7/11/16

Above comment submitted Jul 11, 2016

Reporter's name: Dave Parent

Sighting Description: Cassin's Vireo persistently singing for three hours from the evergreen trees.

Location: Greenbrier Ln, Langley

Date and time: 7/10/16 2pm

Above comment submitted Jul 11, 2016

Reporter's name: Dave Parent

Sighting Description: Late report; Single Black Swift flying over the bluff overlooking Saratoga Passage

Location: Greenbrier Ln, Langley

Date and time: 7/9/2016

Above comment submitted Jul 11, 2016

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