During the recent Grays Harbor Shorebird &Nature Festival, a woman showed me a photo she had taken of a non-shorebird that had dropped down in front of her out on the Sandpiper Trail. She wanted to know what I thought it was, and with just a short hesitation I blurted out “American Pipit.” It’s not that I have seen a lot of pipits, but they are fairly distinctive and unlike most other Grays Harbor birds with which I am acquainted. This photo by Gregg Thompson shows one in non-breeding plumage.
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The fishing community is gearing up for the next big event on the fishing calendar for this season. Of course, that fishery is the opening of rivers, streams and beaver dams on the first Saturday of June which is June 4. With this opener, all inland fishing is open to fishing where legal to do so.
If there is one bird that epitomizes the birds of Grays Harbor, the Western Sandpiper would be the one. This bird is the most abundant shorebird in Washington, seen on most beaches on the outer coast from July through May. They are lumped into a group of small shorebirds called peeps, which includes the Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Add the larger and paler Sanderlings and you have the most common birds seen running in front of the waves on the beach.
Every sport has its classic opening day. People wait with baited breathe for the event. They purchase tickets or even get season tickets and settle in for the year.
Here is a mystery; when doing the research on this bird I found Cornell Lab of Ornithology uses the Latin name Spinus pinus, while the western sources and one eastern (Crossley) use the Latin Carduelis pinus. Since I use all the references I can find I choose to use Carduelis, lacking any further information as to why they are different. Meanwhile, enjoy this lovely photo by Mike Hamilton.
Deadline to apply for special hunt permits is May 18
While doing research on this goose I was struck by the range maps showing where it breeds and where it spends the rest of the time. This goose breeds on the tundra from Russia, Siberia, through Alaska, Nunavut, and into Greenland. Then it winters down the west coast into Mexico, and up the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Recreational fishing has been hit hard in the past months. It has not been the fault of the anglers, yet it has impacted them greatly.
We currently find ourselves in a wrap-up segment of the 2015-16 fishing season. This wrap-up has many faces to it.
Once seen, this duck is rarely mistaken for any other thanks to its large bill; for those of you of a certain age or over, think Jimmy Durante. It may change plumage but that distinguishing bill is a dead giveaway no matter what season it is seen. The female’s plumage may appear drab, but again the bill gives a clear I.D. This photo by Mike Hamilton shows a male in breeding plumage.
2016 halibut seasons include new measures to heed quotas
This is our largest native swan, and never fails to get the oohs and aahs deserving of stars of the fields. I used one of Mike Hamilton’s group photos to show you what to look for out in the fields. The adults are white and the immature swans are gray through spring migration of their second year. Aren’t they gorgeous?
This weekend will wrap up the inland salmon season. January 31, which falls on Sunday, is the final day to retain a salmon where it is legal to do so.
Mid-January should be prime time to connect with a hatchery steelhead. The records from previous years indicate that most of the hatchery steelhead are taken from late December to early February. This makes January the optimal time for successful steelheading.
Take a good look at Gregg Thompson’s great photo of this Whimbrel. What a noble-looking bird. One of the amazing thing about shorebirds is how each one has a bill specifically designed for the job of getting food; each one probes for food at various depths in the mud and sand, as well as nooks and crannies among the rocks. The Whimbrel is an interesting bird as well, as you will see.