Sunday, May 21, 2023

Temp in the 40s, mostly cloudy, a few light showers in the afternoon, Wind light NE

Weather, May 21, 2023

I start every day by checking the Seal Drive feeder and then the Sandy Cove Bluffs Rock feeder.

At Seal Drive this morning, I had a Hawfinch.

Hawfinch, Seal Drive Feeder, May 21, 2023

At the Rock, I had a Brambling.

Brambling, Sandy Cove Bluffs Rock feeder, May 21, 2023

At Sweeper Cove, I got this photo of one of several Ancient Murrelets.

Ancient Murrelet, Sweeper Cove, May 21, 2023

Also, at Sweeper Cove, I added Thick-billed Murre to the trip list.

As I was checking the cove, Sam called to check in. I met him at the Naval Admin Building, where they were putting out seed.

As we were standing there chatting, Sam spotted a bird fly by and said he thought it might be a thrush!

We hurried around the building and saw a bird sitting on a utility pole about a hundred yards away. I quickly snapped a few photos. then the bird flew off.

We couldn’t tell on the camera’s screen if the bird was a thrush or just something common here. So I hurried back to the house, downloaded the pics, and confirmed that it was a thrush — probably Eye-browed, although it was difficult to tell from my photos.

I radioed Sam and Steve and they continued searching. I arrived back there a few minutes later and Sam and Steve relocated the bird shortly thereafter. They confirmed it to be an Eye-browed Thrush, but failed to get quality photos (although they did get blurry, but identifiable pics).

As I approached them, the bird flew again, and this game of cat-and-mouse kept up for the better part of an hour until we finally lost it in town. The only photos that I got were the originals.

Eye-browed Thrush, near Sweeper Cove, May 21, 2023

This was a lifer for Sam!

After that excitement, I did my usual rounds. On Bayshore Highway, I found a Common Loon out by the kelp beds.

The Pacific Golden-Plovers were back at their favorite spot along Redshank Drive.

Pacific Golden-Plover, Contractors Marsh, May 21, 2023

I headed up towards Clam Lagoon, but got a call from Sam that they had the Wood Sandpiper in view. So I turned around and headed back, only to find it had flown back over into the marsh where it had been seen previously. I find the marsh to treacherous to walk these days, so I only hike into there for a lifer. I still have ten days for me to see it.

At clam Lagoon, I got a better photo of the American Wigeon.

American Wigeon, Seal Rock Cove, May 21, 2023

And on the drive from Shotgun Lake to Lake Andrew, I got a nice pic of a Bufflehead at Hidden Lake.

Bufflehead, Hidden Lake, May 21, 2023

At the northern end of Clam Lagoon, a number of murrelets were all paired up. Most of them were marbled, but I found at least one pair of Kittlitz’s.

Along the Seawall, I found three loons together — two Pacific and one Arctic. (one with a flank patch, two without). Unfortunately, they were feeding too actively to get a photo of them. They dove and came up farther north, dove again, repeat… eventually disappearing. It was a nice comparison while it lasted.

Then I found another Pacific farther down the Sewall and two more at Candlestick Bridge.

In between, I saw what I believe to be a Minke Whale off the Seawall. It only surfaced twice, but it looked like what I could find online.

When I got back to the Palisades Overlook, the Pacific Loon flock that I had seen yesterday was there again. There were only five in the flock (diving and feeding tightly together!!) and two more a hundred yards or so away — all in breeding plumage. A short distance from the flock was another loon in winter plumage, which turned out to be an Arctic.

So a nice day for loons.

The trip list is 54.

Today’s eBird list can be seen at