Date: 4/29/19 2:32 pm From: David Irons <llsdirons...> Subject: [obol] Re: Shorebird Peak Day 4/29/19
Shawneen and I detoured to the coast on our way home after spending most of the weekend in Roseburg. We did extended stationary shorebird counts as birds flew right down the beach at Heceta Beach near Florence and from the lee side of the south jetty at Newport, where we were able to get partly out of the brutal north winds. At Newport we had several flocks go right over our heads within ten feet or so as they went up and over the jetty. When winds are out of the north or northwest at this time of year the experience of watching the northbound shorebird migration can be nothing short of magical. Yesterday was one of those days, with the action being nearly non-stop.
In all we tallied about 12,000 shorebirds, nearly 11,000 of which were Western Sandpipers. Next in order of abundance were Dunlin, 5-15 of which were in nearly every passing group of Westerns. We had about 500-600 in all. We also had 370 Short-billed Dowitchers, about 100 Semipalmated Plovers, 23 Red Knots, about 50 Least Sandpipers, fewer than 20 Black-bellied Plovers and very modest numbers of Sanderlings.
Most of these flocks never touched down and if they did it was briefly before they were off again and winging towards their Arctic breeding grounds. About the only species that seemed to be actively feeding was Whimbrel. We saw widely scattered individuals along all the open beaches that we looked at. The largest group of Whimbrel (about 140 birds) was on the stretch of open beach between the north jetty at Newport and Nye Beach. The best vantage point for this beach is the large parking area behind the Shilo Inn south of Nye Beach (turn down Shannon St.). We had a handful of Marbled Godwits in with the Whimbrel.