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Dungeness Spit, Sequim, WA
September 2022

On a late September weekend, we camped at the Dungeness Recreation Area and hiked to the lighthouse at the end of Dungeness Spit. It was a wonderful fall day and summer still lingered in the air. Also lingering in the distance was wildfire smoke from the Cascades, but we were thankfully smokefree on the Strait.

During our early fall visit, there were still many people staying at the campground as well as hiking along the beach. But walk any distance away from the trailhead and there are a lot fewer people. We were lucky that the tides allowed us to hike all the way to the lighthouse and back in the morning without having to trudge on the log-strewn softer sand during high tide. There was a lot of bait ball action in the Strait of Juan de Fuca when we visited. The persistent cries of gulls alerted us to whenever a bait ball was pushed to the surface. Other seabirds joined in the action including Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Common and Pacific Loons, and Red-necked Grebes. From the pictures, I took I was able to see that the bait balls were Sand Lance, an abundant prey species important to not only seabirds, but salmonids as well. We were guessing that salmon or other predatory fish were pushing the fish up to the surface.

Not only did we enjoy the sounds and sights of the wildlife along the spit, but the sunset was spectacular (perhaps enhanced by a little wildfire smoke) over the flat waters. Also a delight to see in the sky was Jupiter at one of its closest distances to us in decades. We could make out the 4 largest moons through just our binoculars. At night, we also witnessed Elon Musk's continued quest to ruin the night sky with his continued launch of Starlink satellites. I read he's going to launch 30,000 eventually, so I guess see another string of lights go across the sky will become the norm.


Pictures (click on thumbnail)

A multitasking Douglas Squirrel can claim its territory and eat at the same time!
A large flock of Cedar Waxwings flycatching from the top of a cedar.
Bait balls attract a lot of action from gulls, seabirds, and a Harbor Seal. How many birds can you id?

Bird List
Cackling Goose
American Wigeon
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Western Grebe
Band-tailed Pigeon
Anna's Hummingbird
Black-bellied Plover
Baird's Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rhinoceros Auklet
Heermann's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Northern Harrier
Bald Eagle
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Steller's Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Pacific Wren
Bewick's Wren
European Starling
Varied Thrush
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
American Pipit
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
Dark-eyed Junco
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Common Yellowthroat
Other critters
Mule deer
Coyote (h)
Harbor seal
Douglas squirrel
Rough skin newt
Pacific Treefrog
Blooming flowers
Puget Sound gumweed
Aster sp.
Pearly everlast


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page updated: 10/5/22