The spring 2008 survey of Red Knots Calidris canutus at Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, Washington


177 – 181

1 December 08

Joseph B. Buchanan

Joseph B. Buchanan
Cascadia Research Collective, 218½ West Fourth Avenue, Waterstreet Building, Suite 201, Olympia, Washington 98501, USA.


Public Files

Two bays in coastal Washington serve as important spring staging areas for Red Knots Calidris canutus, likely of the roselaari subspecies, that migrate along the Pacific coast of North America. Counts conducted in 2006 and 2007 at Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay indicated the presence of several hundred birds, primarily at Ocosta, in Grays Harbor. Three key sites were not visited, however, due to access concerns (Grays Harbor) and ­uncertainty about the condition of tide flats (in Willapa Bay) that had been invaded by exotic smooth cordgrass. The 2008 effort included these three sites (Grass Creek in Grays Harbor, and North River and Willapa River bays in Willapa Bay). The mean of six counts at (or near) Grass Creek between 4 and 15 May was 2,298  (SD =769) and of five counts at North River between 1 and 13 May was 1,144 (SD =866). The  highest count was 3,175 at a roost site near Grass Creek on 12 May. Ground access remains an  issue at the Willapa River mouth. Thirty-three observations of colour-flagged knots were   recorded; nearly all had been banded at Guerrero Negro saltworks in Baja California, Mexico.