Today Kay and I took advantage of the great weather and headed to Ocean Shores after the traffic, about 9 AM. On arrival we went straight to the golf course targeting the Ross’s goose that has been seen there for the last few days. We spent about a half hour and on the first pass not a single goose of any type, but on the way back we found 15 Cackling geese back near the north end of the course, but no ROGO. We drove back south, parked and I walked up the “authorized vehicles only” dirt road, crossed Brown’s Point Blvd, looked around the driving range, walked back and still no ROGO. We decided to leave and drive around the rest of the golf course and return in a bit to see if the bird would return. It looked like the best access to the course on the east side of Brown’s Point Blvd was from back near the traffic signal, and on turning north on the main road we both saw a white goose with other geese that had not been right back were we started.
We hurried back, to find 13 Greater white-fronted geese and the one Ross’s goose where we had started the morning. The sun was perfect for photos, and we both celebrated a WA first species.
After drinking this in along with other birders we headed for the Interpretive Center to try for White-winged crossbill there. We walked around a bit, and then heard the crossbills of both species had been seen just down the road behind the center. We drove down and near the end of that road found other birders and the crossbills. The large number of White-winged crossbills that have been reported recently did not materialize for us, but at least on bright male WWCR along with about 8 RECR were feeding near the top of some spruce trees and we got good looks, and passable photos.
From here we headed for the jetty, where a very high tide, pushed in by strong easterly winds and high seas pushed the water right up to the dunes, and had washed out most of the beach. We found Brian Patterson and Blair Bernson all over a large flock of rockbirds hunkered down at the base of the jetty, as waved crashed on top of the jetty and swirled around the upper beach. Great photo ops of Rock Sandpipers, along with Black turnstones and Surfbirds. It was just too rough to look at for much else.
From here we went back to the Oyhut game range accessing it from Tonquin Ave. It was also flooded with salt water as the waves were breaking high on the beach, and except for a flock of Gadwall, there were almost no birds to see.
Our last stop was at the outer beach at the first access point at the base of Ocean Shores near the Oyhut rest area. Jackpot for Dunlin (1200) and Sanderling (400) along with a nice flock of Black-bellied plover, Western gulls, a Iceland gull (Thayer’s type) and Ring-billed gull.
The ride home was uneventful with light traffic and we got home about 5 PM.