Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Washington Trip II

Our big year of Washington exploration continued on Sunday when we drove to the central coast, site of a great Snowy Owl invasion.

On the way, we visited the Curt Cobain memorial along the Wishkah River in the very blue-collar town of Aberdeen.

Next, we arrived in the not-so-blue-collar town of Ocean Shores and checked into our hotel.

We then drove south to Damon Point in Gray's Harbor.

We hiked a mile down the grassy peninsula and found several birders clustering around some very cooperative owls.

We kept a respectful distance from the eight or nine snowies we encountered and settled for some distant photos.

After some quality time with the visitors from the north, we took one last photo and began walking back to the parking lot. We thought we had seen out last owl of the day when another landed square in our path on the beach.

Fine, we'll take your picture too.

Warm, sunny weather and snowy owls dropping from the sky. What more could you ask for during a Northwest winter?

How about a Yellow-billed Loon a day later?

After several years of scanning the surf, we finally hit pay dirt 90 miles south of Ocean Shores in the the boat basin of Ilwaco, Washington. The pale-plumaged Yellow-billed was swimming with a Common Loon, the dark bird facing right.

We toasted our birding success with a sampler of stouts at the Fort George Brewery in Astoria. Another successful outing north of the Border!

Our count of Washington bird species is now well over 100 and I hope we end the year with more species from Washington than Oregon, just to mix things up a bit.

3 comments:

  1. Nice outing and lucky you. Everybody but me has been seeing snowies here in Minnesota. I'm getting frustrated... :)

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  2. Cool! I've a friend (former student) in Gray's Harbor--from his tales of the place, I don't think he'd live anywhere else in the world. Based on your good pics, I can see why.

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  3. So what was that 9 Snowy Owls? That's an invasion that's easy on the eyes. Very cool.
    Good call on brewing it up at Astoria too--love that town.

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