First Beach Cast Bird Found
A Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) is our bird #302. Photo Credit: Steve Weileman

First Beach Cast Bird Found

I really don’t want to think about the number of miles or the total elevation lost and gained that were traveled to find our first bird but it finally paid off with the discovery of our first bird (and second) to document for the volunteer COASST program.

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Third Survey at Toleak Beach
Sunset over James Island. This was our view from Basecamp. Helped make up for the grueling hike to the beach.

Third Survey at Toleak Beach

The trail was heavily overgrown compared to our first trip out in early May. I felt Theresa’s absence like a weight on my back. Bending down for a better look I saw yet another bit of cougar scat. Unlike the previous trip this was obviously not fresh but that didn’t keep my head from constantly swiveling as I started up the trail to Scott’s Bluff.

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Successful Bird Survey At Toleak Beach
Just a portion of the MME (Mass Marine Event); there were 10's if not 100's of thousands of these on the beach.

Successful Bird Survey At Toleak Beach

Looking toward the northwest I observed the dark clouds with a deep suspicion. Last time we attempted to conduct a bird survey on Toleak Beach we were hammered by wind and rain. I double checked the forecast. Saturday had a much better forecast but today the tides were better. A bit of a gamble -- which way to choose?

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First Attempted Survey at Toleak Beach

As I was crawling through the rain slick log jam, I thought, “This can’t be the rain I’m feeling, it can’t be raining that hard, the surf must be dumping on the logs”! Well, it was both. And that was in direct competition with all the noise. This time the battle was between the wind in the tree tops and the dumping surf. Was I on Toleak Beach or an alien world.?

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Beached Cast Bird Workshop with COASST
Learning to identify our birds based on just a wing. Photo credit: Steve Weileman

Beached Cast Bird Workshop with COASST

I’ve been anxious to work with this group for sometime. When I submitted my application last year, I was disappointed to find out that I had missed all of the bird workshops scheduled for 2017. But, as they say, good things come to those who wait.

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