What popped into my head at some point during the trip was "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt." I couldn't shake it, so I thought I'd have to get it in the blog with a few footnotes. :) I hit Wikipedia to see if it could tell me exactly what I didn't like about the phrase. Here's what it gave me:
From the idea of buying a T-shirt at a tourist spot in order to show others that one has been to that spot.
Phrasebeen there, done that, bought the T-shirt
- (idiomatic, humorous) Expresses the speaker's complete familiarity with a situation, with overtones of cynicism or exhaustion.
So all of that minus the cynicism! I wanted to say that I had been there this year (39 species), that I had done that (50 species for the year), and this time around, I wanted to also purchase that T-shirt (100 species on my life list for the county) by becoming more exhaustively familiar with the county. It's a shame the expression wasn't about buying mugs - I've been picking some up along the way - but I'll still say this was a T-shirt run to Grays Harbor!
|Total lunar eclipse|
Good driving, and a good stop in Thurston County, where I found a Western Gull perched on a light! I stopped to get some lunch, swung by the Home Depot parking lot (still looking for a White-crowned Sparrow in Thurston!) and then continued down the road.
Gray's Harbor - Wenzel Slough Road
|Wenzel Slough Road|
I arrived sometime around noon, and started to explore the farmlands around Elma. My first stop was Wenzel Slough Road. After getting a little turned around, I got over to the south side of Hwy 12 to the start of this seven mile route. Early on, I found some flooded fields and immediately felt the loss of the spotting scope.
|Pintails just out of reach of my binoculars|
|Downy Woodpecker - Wenzel Slough Road|
On the other side of the road, a few trees up against the road held Song Sparrows and a Downy Woodpecker. The field below even gave me a new shorebird for Grays Harbor - a Wilson's Snipe, which let out its scratchy call and flew off to find better cover. I also added American Wigeon and the first of many Buffleheads for the day.
I missed a turn in here, again, and went a bit further south than I had intended - missing Wenzel Slough Road itself. I was still happy to get a little turned around; I had a lot of time, and there was a home that had trees full of 5-6 Varied Thrushes - my favorite bird. :) I also found Red-breasted Nuthatch and Ruby-crowned Kinglet down this little side trip.
|River Otter - Vance Creek Park|
Getting near the end of Wenzel Slough, I finally came across some blackbirds - Brewer's and Red-winged by the hundreds, along with Starlings, which took flight when a Peregrine Falcon swooped in to harass them. I got to the end of the road well over 50 for the year, and with a life-list in the county just over 90, so I decided to do a small piece of Brady Loop.
|Approximately one Sagan of blackbirds|
(One Sagan = billions and billions = 4 billion)
Brady Loop Road
|Brady Loop Road - farmhouse with Trumpeter Swans in the far field|
I was kind of expecting that I would have seen some geese by now! Surprisingly, there were none seen all day - not even a Canada Goose. Trumpeter Swans were using these fields, as well as a few shorebirds (Killdeer, Least Sandpipers and a single Dunlin), and more raptors (Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels). I was able to just get up to 99 by stopping at a house that had Golden- and White-crowned Sparrows, and House Finches.
|Lincoln's Sparrow - Brady Loop|
I looped back around to the start of the road shortly thereafter - realizing that there was an option for a shorter loop. The holes in my list at this point included some birds I thought I could find on a drive from Elma to Oakville on my way down to Ridgefield. Early on, I got off of Highway 12 and took South Bank Road. It was nice to be in a place where traffic was so light - didn't have to worry about "driving like a birder".
Even though I didn't realize I was "done", I enjoyed the minutes there before continuing down the road to find a Gadwall for 101. From there, it was back to the highway, through Oakville, and then back to I5, finding myself in Lewis County. An uneventful drive got me to Ridgefield by 5 o'clock, where I met up with John and Nina who would be birding with me the next day. We grabbed dinner, then returned to the B and B (the Sanctuary Inn in Ridgefield - more about it in the next post - and talked until late about everything from the meaning of life to the upcoming Christmas Bird Count which we'd be doing together on Jan. 1.
A very good day, and 38 of the 39 counties in the state are over 50 now. The next post will be for Skamania where I tried to wrap things up the next day.