Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

Musings about birds, nature, and our meanderings on the Central Oregon Coast

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

Once a week or so we drive by Fogarty Creek and comment that we really ought to stop there one of these days.  Today was the day.  We drove down in the rain - it was cool (low 40's) and drizzling, but not windy.  We stayed on the East side of the highway (Fogarty Creek runs under Highway 101, with easy access to the ocean side along the creek).

Before we were even parked, I saw a tree full of VARIED THRUSH - we parked, and in my excitement, I immediately stepped in a puddle (and spent the rest of the walk in soggy shoes).


A HERMIT THRUSH flashed past us, then reappeared several times, posing on various stumps, branches and posts.  We commented that he sure seemed to want to have his picture taken (I obliged).

Three wooden bridges cross the creek at various intervals, the habitat is lush and quite diverse.  Paved paths curve through the terrain, making the walk easy.

We followed the small flock to a grassy area with picnic tables.  Two large white flashes announced the presence of NORTHERN FLICKER.

Around the same area, we saw SPOTTED TOWHEE - first one appeared out of some tall grass, then two others joined the birds in the grass. 


We heard the flock of chickadees before we saw them, high in the fir trees flitting from treetop to treetop.  The majority appeared to be CHESTNUT BACKED CHICKADEE, but I'm sure there were other visitors in the large flock.

A shy BEWICK'S WREN worked its way around the back of a tree in dense underbrush - my very blurry shot was enough to verify ID, but not good enough to post - wrens are always a treat!

As we neared the last bridge before the parking lot, my husband stopped me in the path to keep me from stepping on this colorful salamander.
As we crossed the bridge, a flock of DARK EYED JUNCO and a couple of SONG SPARROW entertained us.  Our last treat was a DOUGLAS SQUIRREL, rounding out a delightful, albeit damp, walk.

Paved trails wend throughout the park, making walking easy (and would've kept my sneakers dry).  We walked less than a mile, and never did get to the ocean side.  A treat we saved for another day.

Fogarty Creek Recreation Area is a State Park, offering picnicking, hiking, and good bird-watching.  Easy access to a beautiful stretch of beach, with the creek flowing into the ocean, results in a variety of tidepools and interesting fresh and salt water lifeforms.  The park is mid-way between LINCOLN CITY and DEPOE BAY.  There are two entrances on the east side of the highway, "North" and "South" Fogarty Creek.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cutler City Wetlands Nature Trail

The weekend before Thanksgiving, (11/20/2010), we decided to explore a couple of places we hadn't visited - the caveat being they had to be short, easy walks.  One of the places we chose was the Cutler City Wetlands Nature Trail.  The trail is actually a maze of intersecting trails through a designated Lincoln City "Open Space", planned in the late 1990's and enhanced over the past decade.   Total distance if you walk the whole thing appears to be about a mile and a half.

There was little parking, just a pull-off on 63rd across from the trail head.  It was full of piles of cut brush, but there was room for our small car.  Crossing the boardwalk, we found a sign with a large map of the maze and chose our route.

We saw few birds, but several beautiful, varied mushrooms caught our eye along the damp, cool trail.  As I've mentioned before, I am not an expert on mushrooms or any type of fungi, so I welcome you to educate me by identifying the mushrooms we saw along the trail.  This large rain-catcher was the first we saw.

Small mushrooms scaled the sides of a damp stump.

This large leathery mushroom caught our eye at the side of the trail.

At Turtle Lake, we didn't see any turtles, but we did decide to come back in February or March to see if there are any Pacific Tree frogs (one of our favorites) - it seemed like a ideal frog pond!  And of course, we found more mushrooms - including these little beauties next to the boardwalk.

A tree along the trail had this interesting specimen at about eye-level.

These tiny cone-heads were probably my favorites, gracing the side of a fallen log.

The only birds we saw were toward the west side of the open space near some backyards (a song sparrow and a fox sparrow), but we plan to go back at various times of the year and follow up as I understand it really is a good place to see them!

The trails had few markings after the first couple of signs, so we ended up walking the entire perimeter, which was a little too much for me that particular day.  The path is all natural, which meant alot of mud and puddles, but we expected that - and the larger wet areas have really nicely maintained boardwalks.

All in all a nice discovery and worth checking out again.  Cutler City Wetlands is south of Lincoln City - the trail head is off SW 63rd.