Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Great Blue Herons and Life on the Coast

Finally escaped a week full of work, flu and rain for a couple of hours of walking around.  It was a weekend of Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles.  The herons were much more accommodating about photos, my eagle pictures all came out blurry and not at all the graceful, powerful images that represent these fabulous birds of prey.  So into the recycle bin they went (sigh).  But the Herons have their own graceful majesty, so here are a few that we've seen recently.

Most of these were taken at D River Open Space.

This was taken from Salishan Nature Trail - where the trail splits, you can almost always find a Great Blue Heron fishing - rarely disturbed by those of us walking on the nearby path.

Look closely and you can see the one that got away -- actually, the one in the bill got away also!

And we end with one of the many that we saw high in the fir trees at both Salishan and Whalen Island.  One sat high on a branch overhanging the path while a couple strolled underneath, oblivious.  I wonder how many Great Blue Herons I have walked under, unknowing, before I started paying attention.

Good birding, everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's Wrong with "The Big Year"? --- SPOILER --

After seeing the movie then reading the mediocre reviews, I had to ask myself "What's wrong with The Big Year?"  
 Here's what I figured out...
Hanging Out

No shooting
   no one died

The wives didn't sleep around
   the husbands didn't sleep around

No one dropped the F bomb - or any other bombs

There were no chase scenes
   and no bloodshed


Preaching to the Choir

It was "nice"
  People were being people --
    eccentric, avid, curious, suspicious, manipulative, funny and sometimes cruel

Just being a bird

And birds were just being, well, birds

Maybe not the "right" birds in the "right" place
   but beautiful and diverse


We can watch the movie and laugh, 
    smiling wryly as we recognize ourselves
        and sigh in relief that we're not quite that obsessive after all

I'm not an expert - 
     didn't read the book, 
don't know the real men who had this adventure, 
     don't know how much was real and how much was imagined.  
But I do know that 

The Big Year was a good movie. 
    I would watch it again.
 I would take my grandaughter.
    I would recommend it to my friends. 
What's wrong with The Big Year?  Not a thing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lincoln City in the Rain

I love the rain - good thing, too since we live on the Oregon Coast!  This afternoon there was a fine mist and I had a couple of hours before suppertime, so I headed out to a couple of my in-town favorite patches. 

At D River Open Space what caught my eye was a small group of COMMON MERGANSERS hanging out with the local MALLARDS and a GREAT BLUE HERON.

Mallard (female)

A couple of the female MALLARDS came up to greet me as they usually do (someone must be giving them hand-outs - they have no fear!)

Mallard (male)

A male chose to hand back on the far side of the narrow channel.

American Coot

An AMERICAN COOT surprised me, floating out among the Mergansers - first one that I've seen in this location.  They are funny looking birds!

Fox Sparrow

The YELLOW RUMPED WARBLERS were busy catching insects mid-air, while a FOX SPARROW chose to do his bug-hunting below.  By this time, the mist had turned into a drizzle and I headed on down to Siletz Bay.

By the time I got to Salishan, the drizzle was a little more serious, but I figured the ducks would at least be out and about, so I tucked the camera in my jacket, donned my purple visor that keeps the drizzle off my glasses, and braved the damp.  And what fun!

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

On the path, YELLOW RUMPED WARBLERS and CHESTNUT BACKED CHICKADEES whizzed by my head, back and forth (guess what, the visor doesn't keep the rain off my glasses when I'm staring straight up)! 

While I was enjoying the show, a lone MERLIN popped out of a hiding place and jetted away  - WOW, those guys can move!  Rounding the corner, the GREAT BLUE HERON was at his usual spot, ready for dinner to come floating by - I must have a thousand pictures of him in this spot.
Great Blue Heron
Greater White-Fronted Geese

Seven GREATER WHITE FRONTED GEESE were a bit of a surprise on the fairway. 

On the bay, high tide was a couple of hours past, but still high enough to get some looks at the thousands of ducks - MALLARDS, NORTHERN PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON, one solitary EURASIAN WIGEON and one GREEN WINGED TEAL (probably more of them a ways across but didn't have my scope and gee, it was RAINING!)

My only duck photo is this one of some Wigeons in flight against the clouded hills - I like it, anyway :o)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Whalen Island in the Fall

If you haven't guessed by now, Clay Myers Natural Area at Whalen Island is my favorite spot for walking, watching birds, looking at the tide, and even eating a BJ's burger at a picnic bench with my sister. 

The walk is a loop around an "island", through a variety of habitat that I love photographing. Sandy dunes, lush green forests, tangled thickets -- the walk is easy, most of it wide enough for two!

High tide brings the ocean into the bay.

Rain on a spider web.


It was quiet in September each time we went - always beautiful and worth the short drive, but few birds.  This month, however, it is hopping.  Hundreds of Robins, Waxwings, and Yellow-Rumps -- numerous raptors, shorebirds, and even migrating ducks and geese.  A birding bonanza!  A few of the birds we saw.
Song Sparrow

American Robin
Golden Crowned Kinglet (in the rain)

Golden-Crowned Sparrow
Brown Pelicans and Gulls
Pacific Wren

Black-Bellied Plover
Yellow Rumped Warbler
So if you are out my way, come walk with me - I just might take you to my favorite spot!