Walking the beach these last few days and seeing all the peeps zoom by, there's been three times that we've seen the following behavior. There might be one or two single peeps (sandpiper of semi plover) on the beach in front of us and then a fast flock of Western Sandpipers approach and actually do a quick U-turn executing a 40 foot diameter circle (one time right around us), calling and "collecting" the stray peeps that seamlessly join the flock in flight and continue on their way. The moving flock never once sets down, but seems to actually "pick up" strays and literally go out of their way for a moment to do this. Has anyone seen this before and is this just a collective survival strategy? It was very moving to witness.
Jimmy Billstine found two Western Kingbirds in the Nehalem meadows area yesterday that I was able to re-find (by now in a private backyard corral area) a couple hours later.
In the same vicinity was a HUGE flock of 700 plus Whimbrel feeding in a field with even more arriving as I left. With all the Whimbrel calls that were going on, it felt like I was back in the Alaska tundra. Amazing.
Just a reminder that on some of these small rural roads, the residents are very wary of cars stopping with binoculars looking around. I've been asked twice what I'm doing out there in previous years. After explaining what I'm looking at (the large number of shorebirds in their pasture, the rare Kingbird, the amazing Peregrine Falcon hunting, etc.), they actually get pretty interested in this information, want to know more and are welcoming of my brief presence.