Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

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

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Salishan Nature Trail, 1-12-2012

I am restless to be outdoors, but it is windy and raining - a perfect day to sit and watch the stormy ocean waves and marvel at the gulls soaring effortlessly.  Also a good day to look at my bird photos and put together a blog post.

Thursday afternoon I was back at the Salishan Nature Trial that runs along the southern edge of Siletz Bay.  There were BUFFLEHEAD on the bay, but I was surprised by the lack of other waterfowl - usually high tide promises good looks at a nice variety - but come to think of it, there haven't been nearly as many the past few weeks.  Not to be discouraged, I headed on down searching for smaller birds.

Marsh Wren

This little MARSH WREN was hunting along the edge of the bay.

Hermit Thrush

There were a number of HERMIT THRUSH - I counted 5 on my walk - more than I usually see!

Then I ran into a couple of folks who had been down to see the SNOWY OWL -- "Are you going to see him?" they asked.  "Not today," I responded and continued my walk.  When I reached the grassy open space (and yet another Hermit Thrush), I changed my mind.  "Why not?"  I thought, "It is so special having him here - a once in a lifetime thing."  And so I went.

On my way I was delighted to find a number of other little guys, including this WRENTIT.

Keeping to the roads this time, I easily found him at the end of the large pond - near the houses.  (What a treat to have a Snowy Owl in your backyard everyday!)
Snowy Owl

You can see that his back it toward me - amazing how they can turn their heads completely around!

I sat on a log and watched him for quite awhile - he mostly ignored me.  I decided the tide was low enough to head back along the bay, and snapped one more photo before I left...

Snowy Owl

As you can see, he was wary of my standing up and moving around!  He watched me steadily as I moved away.

Along the bay I saw several waterfowl, including some COMMON GOLDENEYE, MALLARDS, NORTHERN PINTAIL, and SURF SCOTERS along with a few DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.  Movement on a long fallen tree out in the water caught my eye - dozens of small shorebirds (DUNLIN, maybe) covered the log - what fun!

The weather was gorgeously sunny with no wind - a nice calm before the upcoming storms!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Eagles in Love

We have a beautiful pair of resident adult BALD EAGLES in the Siletz Bay area.  The pair caught my eye yesterday morning while driving south from Lincoln City.  I stopped at a turnout and watched as they courted one another.

One landed on a branch, followed closely by the other who was flapping its wings and chattering.

He seemed to be showing off (I don't know which was which, but it seemed that the first was the female and it was the male who was flapping and yapping).

Finally he threw his head back and yipped, then settled down, inching slowly down the branch closer to the other eagle.

I've seen them numerous times but didn't realize they were the same individuals until I read more about Bald Eagles mating and nesting in this study BALD EAGLES (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) NESTING IN OREGON AND ALONG THE LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER, 1978-2007, kindly sent to my by co-author and researcher Frank Isaacs.

When I left them, they were seated shoulder-to-shoulder, staring out at the bay. 

How cool is that!?!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Birds, New Friends - Lincoln CBC

It was a gorgeous day for birding here on the Oregon coast - January 1st 2012 was the selected day for the Lincoln county CBC, it was sunny with great visibility, minimal winds and moderate temperatures. 
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
It our first experience doing a CBC - the coordinator put us with some real pros - it was great traveling with an experienced (and patient) team! I have to admit I was so interested in the birds and the information that I took very few photos.

Black Oystercatchers

We spent three hours at Yaquina Head, two of our team took the seawatch while the rest of hiked around Quarry Cove and Communication Hill. We saw several BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS and even a WHIMBREL! New birds for me were RED THROATED LOON and RHINOCEROS AUKLET.


Black Capped Chickadee
Next stop was the Big Creek Park area, where we wandered through neighborhoods before driving up the Big Creek Road. One of the homes had 3 hummingbird feeders and numerous ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS filled the air - the homeowner came out on the porch and greeted us, asking how were were doing on our count! New bird for me here were two VIRGINIA RAIL calling to each other from either side of the road. 

From there we went to 73rd and Avery, near the landfill.  In a waterlogged field, our team quickly flushed 3 WILSON'S SNIPE - another new bird for me!  

Yellow Rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Wandering back toward town, we stopped at a beach across from Yaquina Head to get a better look at the raft of SCOTERS. One of our team stayed to get a count of the Scoters while the rest of us wandered through the neighborhood.We  found a little swail between houses with tons of SPARROWS and JUNCOS. 

When we got back to the beach, our spotter had found a beautiful male LONG TAILED DUCK amongst the SURF and BLACK SCOTERS. We all got to take good looks through his scope.  My fifth new bird on the day!

Common Loon
We drove south to hit the North Jetty before high tide hoping to get some Rock Sandpipers. No luck with the Sandpipers, but saw numerous other birds including a flock of about a hundred SANDERLING that whizzed right over our heads! 

A COMMON LOON floated nearly close enough to touch.

I was hoping to see the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE that had been reported in the area, but thought I was out of luck -- however, my hubby and I had dinner at the Brewery, and voila, a wonderful male Barrow's Goldeneye swam into view below us and entertained us for almost our entire meal -- and ended a glorious New Year's day with my sixth new life bird on the day!