Late Night Mystery Call

Download Mystery Call

Around 2:45am today while I was out photographing a timelapse of noctilucent clouds, I heard a bird song that I did not recognize. Although I heard it sing twice. In a perhaps unrelated event, shortly afterwards, I saw a bird that gave me the impression of a shorebird (perhaps snipe-sized, but less bulky), but I’m not sure the impression is worth much since it was still pretty much dark, and I just saw a quick flash as it flew through the illumination of a street light. Now it did fly from (or at least passed by) where I had heard the song, but I at the time I didn’t think it was the same bird. It went down off the side of the road I saw it fly over, and when I walked over to look I heard an unfamiliar rasping/rattling call. This was repeated several times, and I was able to get the recording I’ve included here.

When I recorded this, I was at the top of an embankment that sloped steeply down 15-20 feet to a rocky shoreline. The slope was covered in a dense thicket of salmonberry and Sitka alder. My impression was the call was coming from the rocky upper beach below the thicket, but I can’t be sure.

On the recording the mystery call of interest is the softer raspy sort of call that is repeated. There are also birds singing, a Swainson’s Thrush and an Orange-crowned Warbler. I would appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions as to the identity of the maker of the odd call.

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