29 Apr Weasel-Moving-Show caps Shorebird Festival
Posted April 29, 2013 from Seattle, WA.
The Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival left me with such a good feeling about Grays Harbor, the Festival, the people and the shorebirds that after vending all day at the Festival I decided to postpone the trip back to Seattle and make one last trip out to the boardwalk for shorebirds and the evening air.
I was also trying to get some shots of the spiffy-looking Red-necked Phalaropes that were out in force. You can see there’s no need to email National Geographic, but I did get a few shots of these gorgeous birds. And one last sight of them doing 360s like ballerinas. I know there’s a biological reason they twirl but but it’s a beautiful evening and for now I’m thinking they just do it to be as cool as they can be. Females are the brighter of the sexes, you know.
On the boardwalk I saw a little critter passing a group of people and thought, “ I don’t remember chipmunk here.” But it became immediately obvious this was a Weasel, using the boardwalk as a freeway, and it seemed to be in a big hurry. As the Weasel scurried past me I judged its tail to be longer than 4 inches and therefore decided this was a female Long-tailed Weasel. Experts are more than welcome to comment on this.
It wasn’t long before the Weasel showed up carrying payload going the other way. I told a family “Oh, it’s either carrying a baby or maybe it caught something to eat,” the latter thought didn’t sit well with the human mom, who’s kid was very engaged with the scene. But no need to go there, because as ma-weasel careened by us we could see the baby held gently in her mouth. It was Weasel-Family-Moving-Day!
She didn’t seem particularly frightened of people, but she did like to give them a wide berth, so whenever she got close to people, she would rocket across to the other side of the boardwalk.
She wasn’t in to resting.
I couldn’t tell by interviewing people how many babies were involved or exactly when this began. I came in late and only saw two, and didn’t stay either. From what some people said, I think it might have been four or five.
She seemed to be moving the family about 150 yards. When someone asked, I speculated that either the area they were living had been hunted-out or there may have been a danger identified there, but that’s speculation. Moving babies is very routine for many or most Carnivore species, I believe.
On the second run I witnessed she stopped right in front of me to reposition the kid, which I very much appreciated.
Out at the Basin, shorebirds were congregated under the driftwood (I didn’t get any decent shorebird shots, the shot below is from Bottle Beach, 2012) . No one it seems has seen Red Knots yet (knock on wood, preferably with a knot in it) and there were rumors of thousands of birds this weekend in Humboldt Bay in CA, what’s that a day’s flight from Grays Harbor? Put Grays Harbor on your list of possible trips next weekend, it could be good, and the area is looking beautiful in it’s own “spring plumage.”
Below is Bottle Beach, the land-side.