WHAS - Bird Lists and Wildlife Sightings

2021 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Whimbrel - Image courtesy of USFWS (public domain)
Whimbrel - Image courtesy of USFWS

By Russ Koppendrayer

For the most part we had a very typical month of April, with a new species being added to our list every day or two as migration picked up steam. With only one exception these ranged from species that will soon be abundant to ones that travel through in small numbers and are seen most years, but sometimes completely missed. The exception was a small flock of eight Whimbrels that were seen in the Woodland Bottoms establishing only the third ever record for Cowlitz County.

Whimbrel is quite a distinctive large sandpiper with a long, decurved bill. The only similar species expected in our area would be Long-billed Curlew which has an even longer bill, and also has cinnamon brown under wings and buffy underparts as opposed to the more gray/brown look of the Whimbrel. This year's birds were only seen in flight at about tree top level, and the 2015 group of fifteen birds were also in flight, while the first county record consisted of a flock of over thirty Whimbrels that spent six days of late May 2012 feeding in a farm field in the Woodland Bottoms. Here they would find enough food to fuel their next leg of their migration from possibly coastal Mexico to northern Alaska. Migration is such an awesome spectacle to watch and we have another month plus to enjoy this spring.

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