Friday, August 12, 2011

Vashon Island - quick trip 8/11

Ferry with West Seattle in background
 I needed something to do with the kids, and I needed to know how the shorebirds were getting from points north to points south while avoiding King County, so I made a trip over to Vashon Island.  It had been a while since my last ferry trip (January??), and I knew that KVI beach on the south end of the island had some good shorebirds around this time of year in 2010. 

The ferry trip from the Fauntleroy terminal took about 20 minutes, and I was able to see some phalaropes... close enough to get the shape of the birds, but they were so backlit, that it was hard to ID them beyond that.  Red-necked are the most common in this part of the sound, and they'd been seen on Ferry runs from Vashon to Tacoma the previous day, so that's likely what they were. 

We zipped straight down the island, passing the farmers markets and quirky shops that inspire the bumper stickers "Keep Vashon Weird!"  KVI beach itself (which is named for the KVI radio towers planted on the beach) always puzzles me, as far as parking goes... but we found some and tromped out to the beach.  Interestingly, the path we took out to the beach required hopping over a  little stream, and it would have been knee deep wading on the way back out.  It was nice to show the kids the effect of the tide over the course of an hour. 

We took turns burying the kids in the sand before we went down the beach to the little tide pools that had the peeps.  The kids threw rocks into Puget Sound while I picked through them.  I'm stiiiill trying to find my first Semipalmated Sandpiper or Baird's Sandpiper, but none of the birds fit the bill, so to speak.  Most of them had the long droopy Western Sandpiper bills (some more than others), and any that had slightly shorter bills also had the markings and yellow legs of a Least Sandpiper. 

One unusual bird in the mix was a Semipalmated Plover.  There are easier places to find them than King County, and it actually let me get pretty close for pictures, so I was pretty happy with this one.  Getting much closer to the other peeps would have required a bit more tromping through mud and vegetation... so I snapped some distant pictures to look at when I got home.  Nothing stood out as a non-Least or non-Western, but anyone is free to let me know if I missed something! :)

We stopped for ice cream on the way out of Vashon, and had a lovely ferry ride back!

Western Sandpipers

No comments:

Post a Comment