Two Tacoma Tide Flats Birds on the National eBird Rare Bird Alert Today!

in #birding6 years ago

Ruff in habitat.JPG

I had not planned to do much birding today. After church I took a nice bike ride to Point Defiance Park in sunny cool weather, and half way around the 5-Mile Drive (closed to vehicular traffic until 1 PM on weekends) our Pierce County birders text chirped and Will Brooks had relocated the Slaty-backed Gull at the Puyallup RIver gull bathing spot. I silently grumbled about being so far from my car, but pedaled along and got home, to hop in the car and dash to the spot.

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For the first 20 minutes the Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus was just laying on the mudflat at low tide in the river bed.

After a while the gull got up and walked around giving a better look.
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It also stretched its wings a few times, but did not take flight for flight looks or photos.
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Just as I was about to leave I again checked my texts and at the Gog-li-hi-ti Wetlands mitigation, just about a block away from where I was watching the gull, Michael Charest had located a shorebird of questionable identity. He suspected a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, but didn't have his spotting scope for a close look. I quickly hopped in the car and reparked over there. As I walked out to the third pond where the bird was being seen, Michael texted that he and Will Brooks had identified it as a Ruff Philomachus pugnax for a probable first Pierce County record.

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At this time of year almost all shorebirds migrating through our area are juveniles, as the adults have already passed through. This Ruff was very obliging, and was the only shorebird on the entire mudflats of the tidal pond.

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Note the fairly long yellowish legs, the fresh unworn feathers on the back denoting a juvenile plumage, and the longish neck and fairly short bill for a shorebird of this size.

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As you can see from this screenshot of a section of the eBird Rare Alert from the entire ABA (U.S. and Canada) Pierce County was rocking it today.

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I liked this photo of a very common Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia taken between photos of the Slaty-backed Gull too.

Good Birding. Steem on!

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lovely birds. . /

I know the post's focus were seagulls... but my favourite photo is that sparrow! Great shot. ;)

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