Sunday, November 4, 2012

Northern Wheatear

On Oct 28, Dave Irons submitted two posts to OBOL along with a link to BirdFellow where he reported some great birds on the Washington state coast. The birds included two juvenile Bar-tailed Godwits, a Tropical Kingbird, a Wilson's Plover, a Common Eider and this Northern Wheatear. All were found within a 20 mile stretch between Tokeland and Westport. 
As luck would have it, I was heading to Tacoma, WA the very next day on business. Since the day was a travel day, I had time to divert off I-5 and try my luck at seeing these birds and in fact ended up seeing three out of the five, dipping on the Tropical Kingbird and the Wilson's Plover.
The Northern Wheatear and Common Eider were both seen in Westport; the Wheatear along the coast at Westhaven State Park and the Eider in Westhaven Cove. These were the last two stops on my trip and the dreary day was getting even darker as it was past 4:00 in the afternoon.
Dave's directions for finding the Wheatear were right on and I found it almost immediately after scaling the rocks at the point just east of the jetty. It was moving about among some large boulders somewhat out of range for my camera lens, but I decided to take some early pictures as Dave was right about another thing; it was highly mobile and not very cooperative. It wasn't long before it flew off below the rocks closer to the water and I didn't see it again. Luckily I was able to salvage a couple of the distant shots. 
Quite the sight as this bird normally only frequents Alaska and the northern reaches of Canada in all of the Americas!


  1. what a great sighting for you southerners. wish you could see and hear them in breeding conditions in the North. mary, yukon territory, canada

    1. Not used to be referred to as a southerner. :-) Some day I will find a way to travel to far north and see all the birds there in their wonderful breeding colors!