Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Out of area: WA/OR trip

On probably the last birding trip of the year - since I do mainly late winter and early summer trips - I went to the last chunk of the lower 48 that I hadn't really birded, the Pacific NW. I wound up with 19 life birds which is rather remarkable given that I started out with 622 USA species and it's hard to envision adding 19 in one trip. 9 of these were added in one day on a Westport Pelagic trip on 6/25: Sooty Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Leach's Storm-Petrel, Black-footed Albatross, Laysan Albatross, Short-tailed Albatross, South Polar Skua and Cassin's Auklet. The Laysan's is fairly rare, but the Short-tailed Albatross is a real rarity with much excitement on the boat - there are only ~2,400 in the world. This one was an immature. Laysan is also unusual but it's possible that the tsunami kicked many off their breeding grounds this year. Previously I'd seen one Albatross species: Royal Albatross in NZ. I added 3 new ones on this trip.

Other lifers: Rhinoceros Auklet, Marbled Murrelet, Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Pacific Wren, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Northwestern Crow, Vaux's Swift, Cassin's Vireo, Tricolored Blackbird.

Pretty much impossible to see more than a few life birds in one trip in the Lower 48 going forward.

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