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Fish & Wildlife Weekender for November

There’s more than one way to put a turkey on your table for Thanksgiving. Rather than head to the grocery store, thousands of hunters plan to get their birds during the hunting season for wild turkey that gets under way Nov. 20 in eastern Washington.

Grays Harbor Birds — Least Sandpiper

You don’t have to know how to read Latin to understand “minutilla” has something to do with this bird’s size; indeed it is the smallest shorebird in the world…not much bigger than a sparrow. Another fact, though not pertinent to the harbor, it is believed the eastern populations fly non-stop over the ocean from New England to their winter territory in northeastern South America, from 1,800 to 2,500 miles! There is more.

Grays Harbor Birds — Black-headed Grosbeak

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a bird of our summers, so it seems only fitting that it should be included in the Grays Harbor birds before it heads south for the winter. I have heard many reports from friends who have these lovely birds at their feeders, but I have yet to entice them to visit mine; maybe they aren’t fond of the beach. At any rate, here is a bit more information about them, and a great photo by Gregg Thompson.

Grays Harbor Birds — American Bittern

I keep promising myself more time spent looking for and at birds and less time spent at the computer, but I am woefully short of that promise to myself. Case in point is I have only seen this bird three times in the 30 plus years I have been a birder, and one of those sightings was inside the fenced enclosure at the La Brea Tar Pits, no more than 100 feet off Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, California! There it was, standing on a bed of reeds, out in plain sight. I knew no one would believe me, so I took a photo of the strange sight. That was the first one, and it made an impression. Here are some facts about this elusive bird.

Fish & Wildlife Weekender for August

Washingtonians are reeling in chinook and coho salmon off the coast, pulling up pots full of crab in Puget Sound, and casting for trout in alpine lakes on both sides of the Cascades. Summer fisheries are in full swing, providing some of the best fishing opportunities of the year.

The Fishing Corner: Plenty of options to fish during holiday weekend

The question looms — “what to do and where to fish” — over the Fourth of July weekend. It is understandable that fishing may not have been high on the radar of many on the Fourth; but there is still a chance some will be fishing over the weekend especially since the Fourth falls on a Friday. By now, most have already made a plan as far as fishing goes.

Grays Harbor Birds — Wilson’s Warbler

We are fortunate here in the Pacific Northwest to have a large population of what are called “wood warblers” and the Wilson’s Warbler is one of the brightest colored, and therefore one of the easiest to spot. The only problem is developing “warbler neck,” a general soreness from having to constantly tilt one’s head back while searching for the birds in the overhead canopy. Also to be avoided is the too-quick snapping of the head while trying to follow this sprightly little jewel of a bird as it zips from leaf to leaf. I’m serious. You just try it for a few hours.

The Fishing Corner — Ocean fishery in full turn on the Harbors

One of the biggest fishing interests for our area during the summer is the ocean salmon season. We have already experienced the early season which began May 31 and ended June 13. The season proper has begun June 14 and will continue until Sept. 30. This season may close earlier if the quota of 68,380 hatchery coho or 27,600 Chinook salmon guideline is attained.

Grays Harbor Birds — Brown-headed Cowbird

This is a bird a lot of people love to hate, and I am sure many are wondering why I would even bother covering it in this venue — it’s an interesting bird. Brown-headed Cowbirds are fairly recent arrivals to our state, or at least during breeding season, only being counted here as breeders since 1958.

Grays Harbor Birds — Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

Few sounds say summer is on the way in the PNW like the sound of the Swainson’s Thrush. Their song is beautiful, an upwardly-spiraling flute-like note, and once you hear it you will be captivated by its beauty. Mother Nature has played a real trick with this bird because you may never see the singer; it is a very shy bird of the dense brush, preferring to sing in solitude. In the 15 plus years I have lived in the PNW I have only seen a Swainson’s once.