By Bill Tweit
The second annual WOS meeting was as well attended as our first; almost 100 people participated in the meeting, banquet and/or field trips. The field trips exceeded our wildest expectations for mid September on the outer coast, usually excellent for birding anyway. Our weekend total (including the Friday pelagic trip) was 158 species, with some outstanding rarities. Even the weather favored us.
The speakers at the afternoon meeting focused on shorebird biology and conservation: Dennis Paulson, Bob Morse and Eric Cummins were all articulate and appreciated. Linda Feltner, our banquet speaker, gave a great presentation on the development of a bird print, using a Great Homed Owl watercolor she had done asan example. Linda had some stimulating observations about mixing a birder’s and an artist’s point of view.
A front passed through on Friday, making the pelagic trips a bit uncomfortable for some, but Saturday and Sunday were calm, dry and not too warm-great birding weather. The 158 species included two possible first state records! Both boats on the pelagic trip (over 60 people) had looks at a Manx Shearwater with the Sooties in the Grays Harbor Channel, and an even more intriguing bird was a black and white pterodroma that may have been a Juan Fernandez (also called White-necked) Petrel. The shearwater had been reported from the state previously, but the records had not been officially accepted (they will doubtless be reexamined). Whatever the petrel was had never been seen anywhere near this partof the world before!
Other great birds included a Prairie Falcon (first Ocean Shores record-sparring with a Peale’s Peregrine at one point!), a Ruff and a Palm Warbler at Ocean Shores, a Bar-tailed Godwit and two Elegant Terns at Tokeland, and single Franklin’s Gulls at Aberdeen and Tokeland. This wasa remarkable collection of birds and a pretty remarkable collection of birders as well.