Long-billed Curlew_wikimedia
Long-billed Curlew - Image courtesy of Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

As frequently happens, the September and October period of fall migration brought a few new species to Cowlitz County for our year list. This year it was a total of six new species giving us 203 for 2022. Surf Scoter and Pectoral Sandpiper are annual or nearly so, while Semipalmated Sandpiper is a little less frequent but not a huge surprise. Both of these sandpipers are a bit unique in that they are very rare in western Washington in spring migration, but are expected to pass through in the fall. 

The biggest surprise of the period was the county's second record Long-billed Curlew found on a sandbar in the Columbia River in the Woodland Bottoms. Unfortunately it was only seen by a few before being displaced by the incoming tide and disappearing, not to be relocated.

The late September through early October migration of Turkey Vultures along the ridge line east of I-5 north of Woodland has been attracting more counters the last few years. This year the biggest day was October 8th when 1014 passed by. Counters also added Lewis's Woodpecker to the year list with single individuals seen on two different days. There's only been a handful of previous records of this woodpecker. Five years ago when vulture counting started our first record of Broad-winged Hawk was seen in Cowlitz County. This year three different birds were seen and that makes it four out of the last five years they have been seen migrating through. 

Download the pdf here.