Monday, July 03, 2006

The First Shall be the Last: Black Brant

The main reason I got interested in Dungeness Spit in the first place was reading that it was a good spot to find Brant. They are actually referred to as Black Brant in parts of the Pacific even though they are the same species as those found on the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic birds are supposedly more white, though I have yet to spot them here. Reports in the Winter sometimes place them off an island south of Melbourne.

With the crummy weather that had dropped on top of the area as I began the hike, I wasn't feeling I would be that successful. However, after a mile of so up the beach a large bird flew in from the south and right past me. Letting the wind hold the umbrella against my back I managed a shot.


'Had to be a Brant', I thought to myself (and probably said aloud) and followed it down the waves. It landed father out from me so I still couldn't be sure. Especially in the rain. It eventually drifted closer to the beach. More bad lighting was my companion.


I had to keep up the pace to the lighthouse before the tide turned on me so I struggled on in the weather and picked out a few different birds along the way. Shortly, a flock appeared over the waves and flew in circles around me.


This time, I could clearly see the marking by eye and knew I had the Brants. The rest of the birds I would find on the hike would be gravy. The planning worked out. I had the Brant and the Harlequin Ducks and later a new Grebe, Merganser, Cormorant, and Loon.

I had a great view of Harbor Seals just as I arrived at the entry way to the lighthouse.

Harbor Seals

Despite the cold, wind, and rain I was more than happy. Completing the hike was the larger challenge but I was strangely less tired than I thought I might be by the time I got back to the car. Several new Life birds will do that to you.

I would still find more Lifers that day. You can find posts to those Lifers by digging through the archives.

This post is the final of the birds from our March Washington state trip. Finally...

Now I can start catching up on local happenings.
Next up, babies in the neighborhood.

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