Yesterday evening when I was headed home from checking for shorebirds at the park, the clouds lifted a bit and I saw the snow level had dropped to under 1000 feet, which is pretty low for this time of year. Still, the shorebirds are moving and I like to see what comes through, so I headed down to Totem Park again this morning to see if anything had changed. Unfortunately, my timing wasn’t that great – graupel was starting to fall as I left, and by the time I got to the park, it was coming down pretty hard. Out on the flats, visibility was not great and it felt quite chilly with a bit of a breeze coming from the East.
Despite difficulty seeing what was out there, I ventured out to the water’s edge on the flats near the river mouth. We’re in the midst of a minus tide series, and this morning’s low was somewhere in the neighborhood of a -2.5, which meant the water’s edge was quite a ways out there. So far this spring, the bulk of the shorebirds seem to be hanging out on either side of the river mouth (Totem Park flats or the beach over off Eagle Way), and this morning was no exception.
Most of the birds were on a sandbar that was far enough away that I couldn’t really see well enough through the falling pellets of snow to identify things very reliably. As I looked around, it seemed like the snow shower would let up soon – I could see where things were clearing up a bit in directions I thought the weather might be coming from. In the end, I ran out of patience with the conditions, mostly I was just getting quite uncomfortable (cold and wet). In hindsight I probably could have waited it out if I had dressed more like I might for mid-winter outings.
A while after I left the park, it snow flakes actually started falling, but by early afternoon the sun came out and though it was still a bit chilly the sun took the edge off. I was able to check at Eagle Way beach and saw 10 Marbled Godwits (among other things) – the highest count I’ve had so far this year.