My younger daughter Rayna and I ventured off to the South Jetty of the Columbia River this evening before and during high tide, after learning earlier in the day of Owen's observation of Hudsonian Godwit (via Mike P.; thanks to you both!) on the flats of Trestle Bay during the earlier low tide.
We started out at the Salacornia flats and tidal channels off of Parking Lot C. at the South Jetty of the Columbia River. There were zero shorebirds, but when we left area, the water was just beginning to flow from under the jetty into the channel that fills the west pond and back channels. Otherwise, in abundance were lots of pretty estuary flowers and plants and Savanna Sparrow songs to brighten our day. Of particular interest to Rayna were the many small crabs concentrated in the remaining few pools dotted throughout the network of the tidal channels that fracture the lowland pocket.
At Parking lot D we headed out the boardwalk to the Trestle Bay beach past the optimistically named wildlife viewing bunker. The mudflats were submerged, but knowing that shorebirds often stage at high tide east towards the end of the spit, we headed that direction. We weren't disappointed, as peeps and five Whimbrel were roosting at the peninsula terminus. Among the 60 WESTERN SANDPIPER adults was a single adult SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER that afforded great looks in the low light. The entire flock was quite approachable, even come back once flushed after a dog and walker passed between us and the flock.
As we watched the shorebirds, a flock of 10 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS flapped and soared in from the east, circled around the bay, and then set down on the water near the island south of the bunker. This is the first I have ever seen them this far down the Columbia. They proceeded to form a scrimmage line and feed in shallows of the west Trestle Bay.
When we left we paused to listen to the evening chorus in the pine and spruce woodlands where the boardwalk passes through. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was singing unseen, but loudly there that reminded me of the Myrtle Warbler song, but without a visual, I will not be certain. Phil P. I believe was asking recently about Yellow-rumped Warbler breeding status along the pine forests of the coastal lowlands of Oregon, and so here is another data point.
We ended the day with a brief stop at the Hammond Boat Basin so that I could check on the rock walls surrounding it for high-tide roosting shorebirds. I found no shorebirds roosting there, perhaps because of the immature Bald Eagle perched atop the rocks of the upriver jaw of the rock piles.
Birding with an 8 and half year-old requires a flexibility of expectations regarding my personal birding interests and her Rayna interests. Today was no exception, but we both came away quite satisfied. She spotted the sandpiper tracks I later photographed for her and while doing so noticed that I could actually see in the substrate the imprint of the semipalmations (webbing between the toe-bases) of the Western Sandpipers that had passed across the sandy mud there.