Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper - Image courtesy of Russ Koppendrayer

By Russ Koppendrayer

We have reached the end of August and beginning of September which I consider the heart of fall migration. A few species are already through the county and others will begin to be seen a bit later, but currently there are many birds on the move and passing through our area.

Over the last two months we have added five species to our year list for Cowlitz County. Four of these were migrant sandpipers. Western Sandpiper and Lesser Yellowlegs were two that we happened to miss during their spring passage but caught up to this fall. Semipalmated Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper typically use a route east of the Rocky Mountains in the spring, but some come through Washington on their fall southbound trip. Both have been recorded in the county this fall.

The fifth addition was Black Swift. This species is very likely annual in the county and possibly even nests here, but their small numbers and penchant for foraging high in the sky for flying insects means they are not encountered frequently. Seen at Coldwater Lake near the end of August this year.

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