Monday, November 10, 2014

Neah Bay Washington Nov. 7,8 2014

A very rare Eurasian Hobby (a type of falcon) was reported on the Olympic peninsula at the end of October.  Dian and I couldn't get there right away and then bad weather hit us.  The weather forecast cleared up for the weekend of Nov. 7 and 8th so we decided to give it a try.  It was still blowing and raining on Thursday but we headed out.  When we got to to the ferry at Coupeville it was cancelled because of high winds so we took a detour to the Mukilteo ferry and then over to Edmonds for another ferry.  We got to Port Angeles when it was getting dark so we spent the night there.  It was long day for such a short distance.  The next day was calm and bright making the short scenic drive along the Olympic coast to Neah Bay a treat.  As we entered town we saw a lady scoping the bay.  She was on to a Red Phalarope.  We met her few more times that day and she was a great help in pointing out bird locations.
Neah Bay Washington

Neah Bay Harbour

Totems in front of museum
A 1/2 mile hike to Cape Flattery was well worth the effort for the view and bird life.  We spent about an hour there and although most birds were too far away to photograph we did get a reasonable shot of Ancient Murrelets.  This was the first time we have gotten good looks at this species and we were finally able to add them to our life list.
Black Oystercatchers were abundant.
Black Turnstones surged along the beach in front of the Seniors Centre.
A Black-legged Kittiwake was also at the Seniors Centre.  We almost missed it but another birder had it in his scope and clued us in.
This Brambling was a target bird for most and we were fortunate to have found it.   
Dorsel view of the Brambling which was also at the Seniors Centre.
A Brandt's Cormorant was listless on the beach and may have been feeling the effects of the previous days windstorm.
Bullock's Oriole was at feeders on the main street.  We saw another Oriole there at the same time.  The owner came out of the house at that moment and they both flew off before we could id the second bird.
Some minima geese-some dusky and 2 with rings around neck, sometimes indicative of Aleutian species.
The lady who showed us the Red Phalarope also got us on to this Cattle Egret at the transfer station.
Common Murres were quite common.
One of the lookouts at Cape Flattery.
A Fox Sparrow popped up as I searched for a nonexistent Harris's Sparrow.
Golden-crowned Sparrow was with a group of assorted species.
A nice find was this Golden Eagle.  He flew in and chased away a Bald Eagle that was being harassed by crows.  The Crows then turned their attention on to him.
I have noticed that when Eagles are being harassed they activate their  nictitating membrane .  It must be a protective response.
A Herring Gull was a nice surprise but we would have preferred a Slaty-backed.
Others saw a few but we only found one Heerman's Gull.
The sewage pond area had this Northern Pygmy Owl.  They are always a treat.
This shot shows the false eyes in the back of the head. 
When we first arrived at Neah Bay we were excited to see a Red-throated Loon.  Then we discovered they were as thick as flies.
A cute little Horned Grebe.
Western Grebes were also very abundant.

There are miles of beach to explore.
Cape Flattery
We found the few people we encountered in Neah Bay to be very friendly and accommodating towards tourists.  Dian and I told the waitress at the Warmhouse Restaurant that we were going to share an order of fish and chips so she put on an extra piece of fish and an extra coleslaw;  the staff at the mini mart let us use their cell phone twice and even dialled the number for us; our hostess at the Butler Motel put up bird feeders just for us;  and the owner of the house with the orioles was very sociable.  The two days we were there the weather was just perfect.  Although we didn't find the Hobby we found a place that we will definitely return to.  Following is a complete list of birds we saw.  Scroll past the list for previous blog.

Neah Bay, Clallam, US-WA
Nov 8, 2014 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 mile(s)
Comments:     report covers general area
72 species (+7 other taxa)

Greater White-fronted Goose  20
Cackling Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Greater Scaup  4
Lesser Scaup  2
Greater/Lesser Scaup  2
Harlequin Duck  X
Surf Scoter  4
Long-tailed Duck  1
Bufflehead  X
Barrow's Goldeneye  2
Hooded Merganser  X
Common Merganser  X
Red-breasted Merganser  2
Red-throated Loon  X
Pacific Loon  X
Common Loon  X
loon sp.  X
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Horned Grebe  X
Western Grebe  X
Brandt's Cormorant  2
Double-crested Cormorant  7
Pelagic Cormorant  X
cormorant sp.  X
Great Blue Heron  X
Cattle Egret  1     Transfer Station 
Golden Eagle  1     on dirt road to transfer station
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  X
Red-tailed Hawk  2
American Coot  X
Black-bellied Plover  4
Black Turnstone  20
Surfbird  10     about 5 miles east of Neah bay
Dunlin  20
peep sp.  X
Red Phalarope  1
Common Murre  X
Pigeon Guillemot  X
Black-legged Kittiwake  1
Heermann's Gull  2
Ring-billed Gull  X
Western Gull  X
California Gull  X
Herring Gull  1     Glaucous-winged Gull  X

Northern Pygmy-Owl  1     
Belted Kingfisher  6
Northern Flicker  2
American Kestrel  1
Merlin  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Tropical Kingbird  4     maybe more than 4 seen.  They kept popping up along the main street.
Steller's Jay  X
Northwestern Crow  X
Common Raven  X
Black-capped Chickadee  X
Varied Thrush  6
European Starling  X
American Pipit  1
Spotted Towhee  5
Savannah Sparrow  X
Fox Sparrow  5
Golden-crowned Sparrow  X
Dark-eyed Junco  X
sparrow sp.  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Western Meadowlark  10     across from Sewage ponds
Bullock's Oriole  1     2 Orioles along main street-only identified 1
Brambling  1     continuing bird by seniors centre
House Finch  X
House Sparrow  X
passerine sp.  X

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Scroll down for previous blog and be sure to check out the Grizzly blog of October 2014.


  1. Gorgeous photos of the beach at sunset, Cape Flattery, and so many birds, especially the pygmy-owl!

  2. Great photos Len! Looks like a magnificent time. I am very envious need to get down there! Did you get any photos of the hobby?!

  3. Len and Diane: Too bad you missed the hobby, although to tell you the truth the spectacle of 150 plus birders looking for it may have been more interesting than the bird itself. In any event, you certainly captured the essence of Neah Bay with some great weather to boot. Your pic of the N. Pygmy Owl is outstanding. Cheers, Thor

    Thor Manson
    Gallagher Lake, B.C.