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Baltimore by the Sea

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time Out for a New Lifer Species

A view towards Olympic National Park
Wednesday I decided to have another at viewing the Thick-billed Murre in Port Angeles. So, for a third... forth? - time this week I took a ferry out of the Seattle area, driving the northwest route to the Ediz Hook Bird Reservation on the tippy top of Washington State.

The harbor view facing Port Angeles where I searched for the Murre

I was rewarded with - far off, but distinguishable - view of the Thick-billed Murre.

Thick-billed Murre

Woe, is me, the photo to the right is not mine and more's the pity. The bird was so far across the harbor I could ID with my spotting scope, but my iPhone's camera seemed to be dead set against digiscoping the bird properly. How I hate missing a chance to photograph my first viewing of one of my lifer species.

Other birds in the area was a HUMONGOUS flock of Long-tailed ducks. I only have ever seen them in California where occasionally one of the ducks winds up. Having never seen more than one Long-tail at a time, seeing a long floatilla of 30-something ducks, even at long distance range was marvelous.

Again, not my photo, as when I visited, ducks were too far off for photos
Other highlights to reward my long drive was a single Red-necked Grebe, lots of Pigeon Guillemots including many juvenile birds which are gray while their parents are studies in black and white. Never having seen juvenile Guillemots before, at first I thought I may have discovered some wildly exotic vagrant. Oh well! Thank heavens I always have an ID book at the ready. There were also Harlequin Ducks for which I always admire. And these photos are mine, mine, all mine!

There were Harlequin Ducks a plenty - like this drake and hen
They don't make any sea ducks more striking than Harlequins
I proudly, OK, somewhat vainly, recorded my Thick-billed Murre sighting with Cornell University's E-bird on the spot. The bird brings my ABA area life list up to 606. Whoo hooo!

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