Date: 6/12/18 9:49 pm From: Christopher Hinkle <christopher.hinkle2...> Subject: [Tweeters] Clallam Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Common Grackle, Yellow-breasted Chat
After a productive trip to Malheur, Em Scattaregia and I headed the opposite direction to try for vagrants in coastal Clallam County.
We arrived in Neah Bay Friday afternoon and started out by walking around town, where we found a COMMON GRACKLE behind Butler's Motel. It posed for a couple photos and disappeared, not to be refound despite a good effort over the following days.
Saturday, after a brief seawatch at Cape Flattery, we spent much of the morning checking alder and willow patches for migrants. We were rewarded with a singing RED-EYED VIREO along the north edge of the Wa'atch River Valley. Rain dampened our efforts Sunday, but the weather did bring down a Western Kingbird, Lazuli Bunting, and dozens of Black Swifts.
We departed from Neah Bay yesterday to camp and hike further south in the Olympics. Before leaving we checked the Wa'atch Valley again and were surprised to hear a singing YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT in the willows/alders along the north edge of the valley east of the sewage plant. It sang only sporadically, but I have no reason to think that it couldn't stick around.
Yesterday afternoon we hiked the coastline west of Ozette Lake and came across a SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER. Its exact location was Sand Point, a six or seven mile round-trip hike from Ozette Ranger Station. The bird alternated between sallying out from an grassy seastack and perching on a pile of kelp. A lack of more suitable habitat along this stretch of coast illustrates why Neah Bay attracts vagrants, and I wouldn't be surprised if the flycatcher shows up there within the next few days.
Despite low overall numbers of migrants, the birding reinforced my theory that Neah Bay and the rest of the outer coast deserve more attention during the spring vagrant season of late-May to mid-June, when attention often focuses solely on the classic eastside traps like Washtucna, Lyons Ferry, Malheur NWR, etc.
Photos of the grackle and flycatcher linked below. Checklists with more details will be posted to eBird.