Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pt. Roberts (Point Bob) - life's a beach (#188-190)

Hey guys, I just in this very moment made a new year's resolution to keep this blog up to just need to catch up, and then I'll live in the present :)
And on that note, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you a wonderful birding year in 2012.

Alright, let's jump in the time machine for one last ride to the West Coast trip, and then I'm done with it, I promise.
Cormorants on the pier almost right after getting off the ship. Different ones from home, but not 100% sure which! seems to be pelagic.
The cruise was over, but the vacation was not. After the cruise we spent a week at Matt's cabin in Point Roberts, WA. Another bizarre little place, because it is a (little) part of the United States just south of Vancouver (by little I mean 3 km wide and 5 km long), but not physically connected to it, even though it is not an island.

It's not a bad little spot, directly on the ocean, but you have to climb down exactly 100 steps to it, and 100 steps back up to leave...that's why we don't like to leave! (just kidding--I run up and down them for exercise).

Not long after arriving we saw a hummingbird in the trees at the top of the stairs, so not long after we pulled the feeder out of the closet and made up some mix, knowing that there aren't any ruby-throats around there, but Anna's and rufous-winged instead. Well, the feeder hung out there all week, but nary a hummingbird did visit it (that we saw).

We didn't have the great sandbars that we normally do, but did have a decent one toward the end of our trip. We'd seen LOTS of shorebirds at the Riefel Bird Sanctuary, but we added one more shorebird to the list. Walking on the beach I saw these and noticed that their heads were dark, unlike all the other sandpipers we'd seen. They were pretty tolerant of us and let us get really close (unfortunately I felt a little pressure to get out of there because the tide was already coming in).

I snuck out for a run before dinner one night and about 2 km out I saw a large bird sitting on a low wire right beside the road. I got closer and realized it was a beautiful owl, and it didn't flicker when I got really close (not that I was trying to flush it, but it was right on the road I was running on!). I tried to memorize it as well as I could, but didn't look at the most important feature that would have helped me figure out what it was (either a barred or spotted owl). I ran back, got the camera and Matt drove us out there, but it was gone by the time we got there. Of course, I finally spot a random owl and I'm not ready for it! It was either a barred or a spotted...darn, wish I'd had my camera.

Matt's uncle, who we went to Riefel with, lent us his kayaks to take out and what else did we do, but chase  the birds around. I saw lots of great blues in this pose out west, something I have never seen at home. Something to do with the cold ocean water? Apparently they are drying their wings out.
Matt never tires of taking shots of GBHs...he's responsible for these ones!
landing gear out!

Got really great views from the kayak...this little bird seemed confused, or sick, or I'm not too sure what. We got so close, and something didn't seem right. you never know though.
pigeon guillemot?

Some sanderlings let us get so close they were almost too big for the frame even with our 70-300!
#188: Sanderling; Point Roberts, Washington; September 6, 2011

 More pics from the kayaks...
 #189: Pelagic Cormorant; Point Roberts, Washington; September 6, 2011

I feel like we have spent so many summer vacations at Point Roberts trying to chase around the little ducks that scoot along the shore. This was the first year we were better equipped to see them...with a longer lens we headed out. I always assumed they were black or white-winged scoters. I've realized looking at my pics that they were ALL harlequin ducks in nonbreeding plumage!

scoot scoot! once they get going, they start to run on water. it's hilarious!

beautiful birds!

On the last full day we got a decent sandbar and went out waslking. Thought for sure that we'd seen all the shorebirds we would by that point. Although, there's that constant, insatiable feeling that you can better shot you go after more...some of these next birds let us get really close on foot. then we get back to the cabin and clue in that we totally just scored another life bird. Don't you love that moment when you realize, "hey, something's a little different about this one...."!?

#190: Black Turnstone; Point Roberts, Washington; September 7, 2011
I'm almost all caught up now...just have a couple of posts of local birding to get on here.

1 comment:

Funkysandman said...

Is it the kayaking method that let you get so close to these ones? they're all so close & sharp!