Friday, July 31, 2015

Pursuing Dragonflies

During the heat of the day yesterday afternoon I decided to try for some photos of Dragonflies on the Lagoon Loop Trail.  They seemed to be out and about and I knew that birds would be scarce this time of day.  There were a lot of Eight-spotted Dragonflies flying around and I got a photo, and I also took several photos of some Red-veined Meadowhawk Dragonflies.  Continuing along the trail I spotted a Black Phoebe.  I was quiet excited to see this member of the Flycatcher Family.  It was a first for me in the Siltcoos Area.  Two minutes after I took the above photo, I took the lower photo----the Black Phoebe with one of my Dragonflies! It was immediately apparent that I was not the only one pursuing Dragonflies. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Help With A Frog

Yesterday on a day off we took a little trip down to Winchester Bay and up to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to take a bird walk around Lake Marie. It's a beautiful trail around the lake.  The area was filled with bird songs, and the berries of late summer of Thimble Berry and Red Huckleberry gave color to the lush green trail.  The unusual colors on this frog caught my attention and I took some photos.  The trouble is, its a frog I'm unfamiliar with.  It's larger than the normal little Pacific Tree Frog and smaller than toads I've seen.  If anyone out there in blog land has any idea as to the identity of the frog please send me a reply.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Raccoon Update

I last posted on July 11 about an adult and baby raccoon we had found in a tree and were keeping track of.  Since then we have not had a sighting until possibly today.  Jeanette has the sharp eyes in our family, and she spotted possibly the mom and baby this afternoon in the marshy area of Siltcoos Lagoon. Its not that far away from where we saw their nest so it makes sense it's the same ones.  Mom was busy digging among the cattails for something, and baby seemed to be trying to emulate the activity.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two Chicks at the Beach

I spotted these two chicks on the beach yesterday.  I managed to get a quick a photo with out them noticing.  I think they had snuck away from the watchful eye of their dad.  They were kind of cute with their matching ankle bracelets. It looked like they were trying to play all grown up, but it was still a little too cold and foggy for any sun bathing.

Monday, July 20, 2015

New Fiend and Co-Volunteer

Meet Glenn Pannier, a new friend and soon to be co-volunteer.  We met Glenn some three weeks ago; we were returning to our campground from a walk with Buster when we encountered this person with binoculars, which of course was all we needed to strike up a conversation. After some exchange about birds he asked if we had seen the mother raccoon and babies.  We had not, and based on a brief description of the the location, we set off to find them.  We came up with nothing.  Later that day or the next we found Glenn fishing off of the bridge and quizzed him down more specifically on the location and a subsequent search was successful and resulted in the photos of the raccoons I have posted on this blog.  Because Glenn was camping in Waxmyrtle Campground where we are, and because he is interested in nature like us, our paths continued to cross. He was curious about volunteering, which was the opening Jeanette jumped on, and before you know it Jeanette had an interview set up for Glenn with our boss.  Glenn has shadowed me for several days, learning the ropes and will official began as a volunteer in August. Glenn's interest in nature, and his people skills will make him an excellent fit for the job. We are excited for Glenn and looking forward to being able to continue sharing time and experiences with him.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dad and Chick

The tide was way out when I arrived at my post for the day on the beach yesterday morning.  A  variety of shore birds were  busy feeding, taking advantage of the newly exposed puddles. There were large numbers of Western Sandpipers scurrying about, a half dozen Semipalmated Plovers, and and a few Sanderlings, but most important to me were some Western Snowy Plovers that had made a run out to join in the feeding. A dad is shown above on the left, standing guard while his chick feeds. He was quiet aggressive in defending the area that the chick was feeding in.  This was the first Western Snowy Plover chick I have seen, and even then it was at a great distance, too far to be seen with the naked eye.  I had to first locate the plovers with my binoculars, then re-find them with my camera and zoom in on them with my 50 power zoom to focus on a shot. In Snowys, the mother leaves the nest once the chicks are hatched, and dad stays around to act as guardian for some weeks until the chicks are able to fly.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Black-bellied Plover

The sighting of Black-bellied Plovers was the story of the day for me yesterday.  Because I am on the beach every day, new arrivals get my attention right away, and Black-bellied Plovers look a lot different than Western Snowy Plovers.  As far as I can tell this is the first reported sighting on the Oregon Coast for this season. This southern migration from their breeding grounds up north is also referred to as the "fall migration", and it is getting more interesting everyday.  The numbers of Western Sandpipers are growing and I have seen a few Sanderlings and also yesterday four Whimbel. The somewhat barren and stagnate bird situation on the beach of June is definitely passed and I am excited about getting to see new birds daily.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Challenges & Rewards

We are finding our volunteer position to be very demanding on our time and energy. Conflict some times tests our patience and goodwill almost to the breaking point. The following is a collage  of our day.

These people kayaking down the Siltcoos River were told specifically not to get out or their kayaks because of nesting snowy plovers.  They assured us they had read the signs and would not get out of their kayaks. Yet, even after being confronted afterwards they denied getting out of their kayaks. (I do have a 50x zoom camera.)

Fortunately our days also have rewarding experiences.

 While taking our before work walk with Buster on the Lagoon Loop Trail we heard this noble Bald Eagle crying out while seeking protection in this spruce tree from harassing crows.

Later while hiking towards the beach I checked out a raccoon family we know about and I saw this adult resting on a limb with the juvenile looking out from the nest cavity.

At the mouth of the Siltcoos River I was rewarded with migrating Western Sandpipers taking a bath.

And here is a Western Snowy Plover I photographed this morning in a tire track for size comparison.  This is one of the wonderful tiny creatures we seek to help protect.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Plovers and Sandpipers

I hiked a section of the beach today and got this interesting photo of two very different birds feeding together at the same time, a Western Snowy Plover in the background and a Western Sandpiper in the foreground.  The plover is the bird we have been charged to help protect. They stay here year around and in fact breed and raise their young here.  The Western Sandpiper is a migratory species, passing by here in the Spring to their breeding grounds in the northern tundra, and then returning back in the fall to winter as far away as South America. The Western Snowy Plover I see in small numbers, today I saw eleven.  The Western Sandpipers I estimate at a ratio of 40 to 1, meaning I saw around 400.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cardinal Meadowhawk

Of the Dragonfly Family, the brightly colored male Cardinal Meadowhawk is the most striking.  I took this photo this afternoon on the Lagoon Loop Trail.  We have been enjoying these dragonflies all summer, but with our focus on birds I have not taken the time to concentrate on getting some photos of them. Our volunteer job in the Western Snowy Plover Conservation Program may seem ideal for us, however the hours we spend daily hiking the trails, dunes and beaches and interacting with the public we are actually finding quite taxing. Yesterday for example we talked to over 50 people. There are always issues about where people want to be on the beach and were they should be on the beach.
I really haven't had much of an opportunity or energy recently to get any good bird photos. So it was extra nice this afternoon after work to take some time and take Buster on a relaxing walk along Siltcoos Lagoon and spend some time enjoying the dragon flies.