Hello Tweets, I arrived on the Edmonds piet just after "sunrise" this morning to find Mark Walton already seawatching almost perfectly glassy Puget Sound. These conditions reminded me of several other great mornings I've spent on the pier in the wake of storms today, and I was happy to be proven right as the morning went on. Many birders joined us over the course of the morning.
Highlights: Short-Tailed Shearwaters - Four individuals over the course of the morning, most seen fairly well although there was one very distant individual I wasn't able to get anyone on. Leach's Storm Petrel - While I was trying to get the group on a Shearwater headed north, Mark called out another Shearwater headed south. Closer investigation revealed that this was actually a much smaller bird (confirmed when they passed each other). Body proportions indicated it was a Leach's Storm-Petrel, although we never could quite make out the white band at the base of the tail. We lost it to the south, but later heard several birds in King Co. had a Leach's flying south which was almost certainly the same bird. Long-Tailed Duck - Flying south. Tough species in Snohomish County, for whatever reason. As of today, I've actually seen exactly the same number of Long-Tailed Ducks and Short-Tailed Shearwaters from Edmonds over my life (5 each). Ancient Murrelet - At least a couple. More distant Murrelets defied ID. Surfbird - A continuing pair on the breakwater. Later a tugboat towed a huge raft of logs past the pier. Several birds were hitching a ride, including another Surfbird. Bruce Bahmke inspected the breakwater closer and found 7 Surfbirds total. Black Turnstone - Flock of 6 birds flew by and landed on the breakwater. There were likely more already some on the breakwater, but I didn't get an accurate count. Three more were on the log raft. Good count for Edmonds. White-Winged Scoter - At least 35 flew by. Not unusual, but big numbers for here. Shorebirds - Several distant flocks over the sound. One group of four individuals appeared to land on the water which would make them almost certainly Red Phalaropes. Ducks - Again, not rare, but the number of flyby duck flocks was especially high this morning. Many seemed to be Scaup, but most remained unidentified.
I heard other birders further south had even better mornings, but I was very satisfied.