Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stormy Days, Smelly Plants

Between rain, work and family things we've been too distracted to get much bird-watching or blogging in.  At the risk of boring you all to death, I'll share my smelly plant story.

We arrived home from work to a house full of an obnoxiously glorious perfume -- what in the world?!? 

Checked the fully-open long-stemmed roses to see if they had suddenly developed an aroma -- nope!  Hmmm - tracked the smell to the dining room and found the culprit.

An unknown variety of SANSEVIERIA I received from a co-worker years ago has suddenly decided to bloom.  Sadly neglected (it apparently thrives on neglect!).

I wish I could share the aroma with you - sweet and cloying as gardenias, a bit overpowering in a closed-in house!  Apparently the blooms are only open at night.

If you're a plant fan and know which variant this is, I'd love to hear from you! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tillamook Bay Wetlands (2)

Thursday forecast was cloudy but little rain, so I took a chance and headed up to Rain River. Spent most of the day getting muddy, tired, and hungry but having a great time checking out over 44 different species of birds. Walked 1.48 of the four miles, then turned back - however I ran into a guy who said he thought I'd walked more than half way (almost to the blue barn-thing), so still not sure if I should have kept going.  Another time :o)

Here's a few photos of the habitat in the new area I explored (see my previous blog for the first mile or so of habitat).  Also see Walt's Camera World blog for a map and more information.

You can see the muddy, wet trail - I keep telling my hubby my Okibashi's (flip flops) are water proof but he doesn't buy it!

I was actually glad I turned back, because I had gotten a brief glimpse at what I thought was a NORTHERN SHRIKE (new bird for me) but hadn't been able to get photos.  Coming back, there he was on a post right by the trail - I couldn't get too close, but did get one that's not too bad.
Northern Shrike
Other birds included:
Fox Sparrow (several)

Common Merganser

Red-tailed Hawk

Each time I've been, there have been a number of raptors, with the majority being RED-TAILED HAWKS.  This visit, there were 4 Red-tails, 2 BALD EAGLE (adults), a WHITE-TAILED KITE, two NORTHERN HARRIERS, and an AMERICAN KESTREL.  No owls this trip though.

On the drive home I had some more good sightings with a gorgeous male NORTHERN HARRIER at Tillamook River and eight GREAT EGRETS on a farm near Whalen Island. At Whalen Island I stopped in for a quick look and was excited to see a very early OSPREY! He was harassing (or being harassed by) a juvenile BALD EAGLE. There was a WESTERN GULL involved in the fray as well. Very cool to watch! They all eventually flew off in different directions with no actual contact.

A very good day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tillamook Bay Wetlands aka Rain River

I spent parts of two days at Tillamook Bay Wetlands, aka Rain River, Thursday and Saturday (2/2/12 and 2/4/12).  I've been wanting to go there ever since it was mentioned on Oregon Birds Online listserv a few weeks back.  Not sure I can get everything I love about this place into one blog.  The trail is a four-mile loop through the wetlands along meandering rivers and marshy fields.

Black Phoebe

On Thursday, I reached it late in the day, the apex of a wonderful "Tillamook County Big Day" (personal big day :o) Unfortunately, it meant I only had about an hour of daylight, so I only walked about a half-mile into the area.  My first sighting was a BLACK PHOEBE (seen in this blurry but diagnostic photo).

On Saturday, I dragged my hubby with me - we started in the afternoon, and spent three lovely hours meandering along, racking up a count of over 30 species of birds, several frogs and a few nutria along the way.  Here is some of the beauty...

Northern Harrier

Pacific Tree Frog
The highlight of the afternoon was a big, beautiful BARN OWL - it was perched in a branch above the trail, and when it saw us, removed to another tree not too far away.  I was able to get a few photos through the branches.  
Barn Owl
A few more birds along the trail...
Downy Woodpecker

Marsh Wren with no tail

Red-Tailed Hawk
Of course we're going back (we have 3 more miles to explore!)  And I'll be sure to tell you all about it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I've been putting field reports with pix out on Birdfellow which has kindof supplanted my blogging -- Birdfellow is a very cool site, with lots of bird identification resources, discussion groups, and friendly helpful birders.

Last weekend I had a very cool experience with a GREAT BLUE HERON at Salishan - I wrote about it in a field report here.  

My wonderful Thursday (2/2/12) "big day" in Tillamook County is in a field report here.  I hit Neskowin (pdf), Nestucca, Netarts (bypassing Whalen Island, one of my favs, but trying to make sure I could get some new ones in :o)  From there it was Tillamook River, to Hoquarton Slough, to Bay City (by accident) and then back to Tillamook Bay Wetlands.  Check out my field report for pix.

Yesterday was another gorgeous sunny day - I rambled around town a bit, mostly around Cutler City, another personal favorite.  Pretty quiet except about a dozen (or more) RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS -- I tried hard to make one of them into a HUTTON'S VIREO, but those cute yellow feet and tiny black bill just wouldn't let me do it.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

So I'm trying to balance my field reports on Birdfellow with some blogging - either way, the birds are such great fun!  And spring is coming!