The GREEN HERON is gone, but masses of waterfowl have arrived along with the residents. Eckman Lake, just east of Waldport by Alsea Bay, is always full of fun surprises.
We stopped at the Walter Nelson wayside first, where a GREAT EGRET was fishing so intently we were able to get within yards of him before he flew to another spot -- still only yards away from us.
Among the hundreds of ducks was a flock of AMERICAN COOT - probably the most I've seen in one spot on the coast. Here's a small group of them.
Other ducks included BUFFLEHEAD, NORTHERN SHOVELER, MALLARDS, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, RINGED-NECK DUCK, and a huge number of HOODED MERGANSER in various plumages. It was awesome!
|Pied Billed Grebe|
Two PIED-BILLED GREBES (my first ever) were among the ducks - I got a pretty bad photo of one, but am just so glad to finally see the cute little birds!
A couple of BELTED KINGFISHERS noisly hunted the water on both sides of the road. We usually see a raptor or two, but none were around.
|Yellowlegs with Dowitchers|
On the Alsea Bay side of the highway, there were about 30 DOWITCHERS in the mud, along with a couple of GREATER YELLOWLEGS.
(I thought they were Long-Billed Dowitchers, but am told more likely to be Short-Billed in these numbers this time of year)
I didn't realize that Yellowlegs could swim!
A lone GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was resting near the Dowitchers. One of the GREAT EGRETS flew over his head, expressing his opinion perhaps? Hmmm.
Driving back on Highway 34, we pulled off to watch two GREAT BLUE HERONS performing some sort of ritual. Turns out that it is a way of defending their territory - very fascinating to watch. Rick Leinen had a similar experience about this time last year.
A bonus for this extra stop included a COMMON LOON, a HORNED GREBE and RED-NECKED GREBE as well as some WESTERN GREBES, making it a 4-Grebe day!
Looking forward to more treks over the long weekend!