The Birdwatcher

Posted by Ellen

He had driven a thousand miles for the chance to set up his scope at Deception Pass, on Puget Sound about an hour north of Seattle. But the notebook in his left hand received no new entries; he saw birds, to be sure, but he'd seen them all before. The only thing he saw that day of even mild ornithological interest was the long line of black dots way out at sea–they were grebes, he told us, a very common waterbird, but a kind that didn't usually flock together so massively; there were hundreds of grebes out there on the tide, he estimated, bobbing and diving, more by far than he'd ever seen in one place before.

The Audubon Society reports that grebes are pretty standard inhabitants of Deception Pass and thereabouts, along with mergansers, cormorants, black oystercatchers, alcids, and common and Pacific loons. But the big ornithological draw, especially in the wintertime, is the red-throated loon. Maybe this birdwatcher will schedule another trip when the weather is a whole lot worse.