Saturday, February 26, 2011

2/25 Peninsular Birding: Kitsap and Jefferson Counties

From the Theler Wetlands in Mason County, I made my way off to two spots in Kitsap County - the waterfront at Gorst was my first stop - no pictures, but I was able to pick up a few ducks and sparrows at from the parking lot looking in to Sinclair Inlet.  From there, I made my way to Point no Point.  This was a stop for Bre and I on our very first road trip.  She liked lighthouses, I liked maps, and we decided to see seven of them in a day (Mukilteo, Bush Point, Admiralty Head, Point Wilson, Skunk Bay, Point no Point and Marrowstone Island).  It was a great little route that took us up to Whidbey Island, down through Port Townsend, and finished in this little corner of the Kitsap Peninsula.  These were the first lines I penned into my Washington map, so it's always a treat to go back to those spots that we'd hit together that lovely day so long ago.

Puget Sound from Point no Point - the map says that's Whidbey over there.
Point no Point Lighthouse
Point no Point is a great place for birds, but I'll be honest - I was a bad birder today.  The wind was making it sooooo cold!  I explored a little bit on the beach, but in the end, I decided to stay on the safe side of the lighthouse where there wasn't any wind to speak of.  Ahhhhh....  The gulls were the highlight here - not that I picked out all that many different kinds, but the little gulls - Bonaparte's and Mew - were out in such big numbers, and were diving all over the water.  Three species of cormorant (Brandt's, Pelagic and Double-crested) were out and about, as well as Brant, Rhinoceros Auklets and the first Sanderlings I'd seen this year.  On the way out, I chatted with one of the Parks employees, and talked about the Killdeer in particular (one of which was walking around on the grass by the lighthouse) with their broken wing display (which is what got me into this whole birding thing in the first place!).  I finished by driving up Twin Spits Road a bit, where I found more Varied Thrushes, sparrows, and deer!

Gulls at Point no Point

Bonaparte's Gull

Varied Thrush
Departing from here, I made my way to Fort Flagler in Jefferson County.  I was unable to get a good picture of Port Gamble on the way out - drat!  It's a very cute town, and we've stopped there on the way to the Olympic Peninsula on more than one occasion!  The day was getting a little late, and I had to get back for date night, so there weren't other stops along the way unless they were right on the road.  I hoped to make it up to Fort Flagler to see another 'lifer' - this one a little more expected: Black-bellied Plover.  I'd just never made it out to the places you'd expect to find them during the seasons when you'd expect to find them.

Oak Bay - driving from Indian Island to Marrowstone Island...
which are connected to each other by a tiny strip of land.
 So off I went over the Hood Canal and into Jefferson County.  Fort Flagler is on Marrowstone Island just west of the Quimper Peninsula (where you find Port Townsend).  There were a few pullouts along the way where I had to stop for pictures or to scan the water for birds.  New birds for the year along the way included Hermit Thrush and Greater Yellowlegs.  (New Birds for the Year will become a bigger deal, especially as fall comes!  138 species is the current count.)

"What is Nordland?"                                    "Correct!"
"I'll take small towns in Washington for 1000, Alex."

 Here's the little guy I was hoping to find at Fort Flagler!  Black-bellied Plover... (I know, right now it's a boring-bellied plover).  About as plain as they come - that's why it's still alive, probably.  Also a lot of Sanderlings scooting around the water's edge, and Brant close to shore. The beach was beautiful, and I was able to get a nice picture of Mt. Baker, which I discovered later had a bird flying across it.  The other pictures below are just there to remind me that it was a very, very cold day.  Track's starting next week.  Hopefully things warm up!  That will also slow down my running around the state for a little bit, but hopefully I'll get at least one March post up!

Bird and Baker


vvvvery cold!

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