Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Out and About in the Rain, 3-30-2012

Out and about in the Lincoln City rain yesterday, I visited two favorites - Cutler City Wetlands and Salishan Nature Trail (see list at the very bottom of this page for links to other blogs on these two spots). 

Cutler City Wetlands was, well, WET!  Glad I was wearing my Crocs, as I waded in ankle-deep water more than once along the trail. 

There was alot of damage from last week's heavy snow and recent strong winds.  Mossy, felled trees like these soaked my jeans as I clambered over them.
The birds were vocal, with singing PACIFIC WRENS, cooing EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES and screeching STELLER'S JAYS.  Saw both Jays and AMERICAN CROWS with nesting materials. 

The rain made it tough to get any pictures of the many birds, but I loved capturing the rain drops on the flowers and moss.

Next I made a stop at Salishan Nature Trail, which runs along the south edge of Siletz Bay (photo of the bay, with two adult BALD EAGLES on a log in the center). 

Red-throated Loon

The first bird I saw threw me - a RED-THROATED LOON!  Only the second one I've ever seen, never in the bay.

Almost at the same time, three RED PHALAROPES flew past me - I got a quick photo of them when they landed, but a couple of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS surfaced right next to them and they took off across the bay.  I actually thought they were Red-Necked Phalaropes, but was excited to find out I was wrong (with help from the experts on OBOL) - a new bird for me!
Red Phalaropes
The side trail along the marsh has been bolstered and resurfaced.  It's been closed since December storms washed it partially away.  
Gold-crowned Sparrow

Not sure I like it, but the trees will fill out again and the sparrows seem to think it's great! They didn't want to give up their favorite pecking spots even when I walked right up to them - SONG SPARROWS, GOLD- and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, along with a bunch of DARK-EYED JUNCOS were all foraging in front of me.
The marsh beside this side trail is always a reliable spot for MARSH WRENS (year round) and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (spring/summer). 

The resident pair of BALD EAGLES (see bay photo above) were hunting above the water, although my first glimpse of them was watching one of them chasing a FALCON (assume PEREGRINE) from the area - I didn't know Bald Eagles could fly that fast - but the Falcon was faster!
Bald Eagle

As if that wasn't enough, I spotted one of them diving into the bay - and it stayed there - and seemed to be swimming!?!  Hmmmm.  Repeated the routine three times - not sure if it was after something, but it always rose up out of the water empty handed! It was way to far for my lens, but here's a snap.

Heading back to the car, I was interested to see a bunch of CALIFORNIA GULLS (and a couple of hybrids) working in a sand trap - they seemed to be catching bugs that were hopping on the sand.
California Gulls (and friends) Bug Catching
  A very damp but very good day to be out and about!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lincoln City Backyard Birds

Since moving to the coast a couple of years ago, our backyard birding experience has changed dramatically.  In Salem, we had several feeders with a variety of birdfood that attracted numerous passerines, scrub jays and doves (along with the Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks).

Here in Nelscott, my daily list is more likely to consist primarily of Surf Scoters and Western Gulls. 

Anna's Hummingbird
We do have a hummingbird feeder that we keep filled year-round for the Anna's Hummingbirds who reside here.  It's really fascinating watching them when the wind is blowing - they hover near it, making "test runs" at the rail until they finally can latch on with their feet. Then they ride like bronco-riders, drinking all the while until they finally lose their grip. 

We may have to hang up another one now that the Rufous have returned for the season!

The neighboring yard is wild with coastal scrub brush, so we do have passerines - even a pair of WRENTITS who have made our yard home a couple of years in a row. 
Chestnut-backed Chickadee


The problem is that we're up so high it's hard to observe them unless you sit right next to a window and stare straight down. 

So this week I decided to experiment with hanging feeders on the deck - if you know how windy it is here on the Oregon coast, you'll know how tricky this will be.  The first one I tried, a little metal thistle seed feeder, failed miserably as the wind blew all of the seed out in one day.  I'm now testing a tray feeder along with a small suet feeder.

Northern Flicker

A DARK-EYED JUNCO was the first to discover the feeder.  This NORTHERN FLICKER braved the breezes for some sunflower seed.  A CHESTNUT BACKED CHICKADEE (who won't let me take his picture) was the first visitor to the suet.  I have to take them down often due to the wind -- we'll see how long this experiment lasts!

I really can't complain about our variety though - we've seen BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS from our living room window, BALD EAGLES regularly come by, and a variety of WARBLERS migrate through spring and fall.  

Here's some pictures of some of our birds:
Dark-eyed Junco

Spotted Towhee

Juvenile Gull (no, we don't feed them!)

Western Gulls (visiting "Sid")

Orange-crowned Warbler

Cedar Waxwings

Pacific Wren


And here are some of the sea-ward birds (all photos taken from the house, so they're on my "backyard" list :o).

Western Grebe

Black Oystercatcher

Sooty Shearwater (et al)
Bald Eagle (juv)

So, two hours later - the wind is picking up, the Anna's Hummingbird is balancing on the feeder, Northern Flicker is hanging onto the suet for dear life (a wild ride) and the tray feeder is swinging back and forth like crazy.  Probably will need to bring them in shortly...