Last Saturday both a black-necked stilt and a Cassin’s auklet visited the Ilwaco harbor. The stilt was lounging on the bay’s mudflats, east of the port with a large group of marbled godwits, while the auklet swam and bathed in the harbor across the road.

According to bird expert Ryan Merrill, “it is rather late for a black-necked stilt anywhere in the Northwest and they are rare anywhere in Western Washington, but particularly on the coast.” This sighting appears to be only the second record for Pacific County. The black-necked stilt is a large, elegant, crow-sized shorebird. It winters from Southern Oregon to California.

The Cassin’s auklet is a small seabird about the size of a robin. In Pacific County it is classified as harder to find than most birds, but usually seen annually. It winters offshore on the Pacific coast. Thus, most of us would not likely ever see the Cassin’s auklet. Merrill indicated that the auklet is also an unusual sighting in our area especially close to shore. It prefers the open ocean.

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