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Olympic Peninsula: Day 4

semi-overcast 69 °F

Before taking an overnight flight back home to Chicago, my dad and I had one last day on the Olympic Peninsula, which we spent on a whale-watching boat tour in the Strait of Juan de Fuca! Apart from the obvious, getting to see some of the largest creatures on earth, we chose to do this because it gave us a better shot at finding some aquatic or even pelagic bird species.

The boat pulled out of Port Angeles at 9:30 and we were on our way! A GREAT BLUE HERON was a nice start to the tour:
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4 SURF SCOTERS, a life bird for me just only the day before, flew by:
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The best bird species of the day came early in the trip, and it was MARBLED MURRELETS! This is an uncommon Alcid species, and here is a photo of two sitting in the water in nonbreeding plumage and then two in flight in breeding plumage:
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The scenery as we gradually pulled away from the Olympic Peninsula was stunning:
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RHINOCEROS AUKLET, the most common Alcid species of the whale tour:
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And then we saw...
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Humpback Whales!
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During the tour, we saw 10 Humpback Whales in total, including 8 at the same location! They would surface for about 2-3 minutes, then arch their backs, arch their tales out of the water, and then "deep dive" when they would feed at a greater depth for about 5-8 minutes. Then the cycle would repeat itself over and over again. Very cool to see!
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COMMON TERN, a nice and actually uncommon find:
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Here is my best whale photo, this one was taken just before this whale's deep dive:
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WILSON'S PHALAROPE, very cool find:
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Yet another MARBLED MURRELET:
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HEERMAN'S GULL, a nice ending to an awesome whale watching excursion:
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After a relatively uneventful drive back to Seattle, we met up with my Uncle John for dinner and a walk in his neighborhood of West Seattle. Here are a few Seattle pics from a viewpoint near his house:
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My dad, Uncle John, and his dog Oda Mae:
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And a beautiful sunset from West Seattle:
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It was a great trip! So many life birds (30 in total), so many neat experiences, so much beautiful scenery...I hope to return someday! Big thanks to my dad for birding with me all weekend.

TODAY (Monday, August 25) I am flying out to Sun Valley, Idaho and I will be out there for 4 weeks. The first two weeks I will be at a music camp so I will not be posting; however, the last 2 weeks will be regular hiking and birding like on the Sun Valley trip in past years, so stay tuned!!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (30 life birds on the Olympic Peninsula trip)

Posted by skwclar 04:41 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises trees animals birds boats whales

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