Saturday, August 31, 2013

Early Arrival

Last night we witnessed this lone female Northern Pintail fly in and land on Beaver Creek. She was most elegant in the evening light, and instantly ignited my imagination. Where had she spent her summer, British Columbia or as far away as Alaska?  Will she stay put here, or venture on to California or Central America to spend the winter? And where are her traveling companions? These are all unanswerable real possibilities.  What I do know, is that this is the first reported sighting on eBird for Lincoln County of this fall’s southern migration of Northern Pintails. The last of the northern migration was reported in May.       

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bird of the Day - Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpipers turned out to be the most numerous bird of the day.  Jeanette counted 72 of them in two or three flocks that worked the water’s edge along the beach. It was dense fog this morning at Ona Beach State Park, which might have accounted for our luck in sneaking up on a large variety of sandpipers.  In addition to these Western Sandpipers we also saw one Least Sandpiper, one Spotted Sandpiper, two Greater Yellowlegs, two Killdeer, and a Semipalmated Plover, all of which belong to the Sandpiper Family. We also saw five other species of birds, non-sandpipers, that I won’t burden you with.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pacific Tree Frog

It’s a very rainy windy day here at the Welcome Center at BeaverCreek State Natural Area, making birds and human visitors pretty scarce. While Jeanette was doing some vacuuming in an upstairs ranger’s office, she spied this little Pacific Tree Frog on the outside deck. He was a very curious fellow, repeatedly crawling in and out of the crack between the deck and the wall.  I don’t imagine the rain bothers him, and evidently heights either as he is on the second story deck.    

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing

We have been seeing huge numbers of Cedar Waxwings lately; in fact they are the dominant species right now. We can easily count sixty birds in an evening. We have been a little puzzled as to why the increase in numbers as compared to a month ago.  Last night we took a closer look, and noticed that some of them looked different, they did not appear to have the distinct crest.  I got a photo, and when we checked we realized that some were juveniles.  Cedar Waxwings have an average of four young ones in a brood, so our number of waxwings has tripled, which probably explains our increase.  You may notice that the breast feathers do not look like a Cedar Waxwing, but resemble more the “vest-look” of an Olive-sided Flycatcher.  Last night we also solved a mystery bird cry, and think it belongs to a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.  The cry matches that of a recorded juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk. No photo or even a sighting, but we did witness a tremendous confrontation between some Steller’s Jays, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and American Crows.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Just Another Heron

Oh, it’s just another Great Blue Heron; it’s such an easy trap to fall into. Reminds me of the common saying, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen em all”.  And that’s kind of what I was thinking this morning when we were birding along Beaver Creek at Ona Beach State Park. But, because it was one of the easier birds to photograph, I decided to see if I couldn’t get maybe a better one than the great number I already have.  To my surprise, when I got home and down loaded them into my laptop and started looking closely, I realized this bird was different, and after checking found I had a juvenile.  Looking closely revealed that it lacked the white strip on the head of an adult, had stripes all along the neck, and lacked the bearded plumes on the back and chest. Although I’ve taken photos of many adult birds, to my knowledge this is the first juvenile Great Blue Heron. I hope it was an important lesson learned.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Drying Out

I photographed this Red-tailed Hawk this morning, apparently drying out its wings. We have had a couple of days of rain, so he was probably ready for the sun this morning.  I’m used to seeing Turkey Vultures and Double-crested Cormorants engaging in this behavior on a regular basis, but this is the first time I can recall seeing a Red-tailed Hawk doing this. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Elegant Terns

Saturday night I read on the Internet that Elegant Terns were reported on the South Jetty in Newport.  Ever since the showing of the movie Big Year, most people assume that serious birders go to unbelievable lengths to chase after unusual sightings of rare birds as depicted in the film. I often explain to people, as well as tell myself repeatedly, that I don’t “chase birds”, rather just enjoy the birds that I find where ever I happen to be, and yet on Sunday morning I found myself bolting out the door and speeding off to Newport in search of the Elegant Tern. It’s classified as a rare bird in Oregon and would be a new listing on my Life List.  When I arrived in Newport I could barely see the jetty due to the fog.  An hour and a half of peering through the fog provided a few birds including Caspian Terns, but no Elegant Terns. As I was driving away I came across a birder who had found them on a finger jetty and I stopped and took some photos.  Not the best photo due to distance and fog, but a new Life Listing. In the time of year that many bird species are beginning to head South, the Elegant Tern who neither nests or winters here occasionally  makes a brief journey North up the Oregon Coast before turning around and going South for the winter. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Incidental Observation

When I submit my bird sightings to eBird there is a category titled “Incidental” which is further explained as when “Birding was not your primary purpose”. This is what was going on when this bird was spotted. Jeanette was busy mowing the lawn at the Welcome Center when she saw it. She motioned me over and I came and took this photo.  We were both unsure of the identification. Turns out it is a Red Crossbill, but because it is a juvenile it does not have the bright coloring of the adult which would have clued us in right away.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dual Images

Because of the distance and the fog when I took this this morning I didn’t realize that I was also getting a second image from the reflection on the water. This was taken on Beaver Creek just before it flows into the ocean at Ona Beach State Park. The bird is a Red-necked Phalarope, but because it is a juvenile it lacks the red neck plumage from whence it gets its name.  From what I have read it’s possibly on its migration route from Northern Canada or Alaska to the Southern Hemisphere where it will winter at sea. I believe we saw this same bird in the same location last evening.  Not sure what he is doing all by himself, I would have expected to see him in a migrating flock. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Barred Owl

Jeanette and I took my sister Susan, and her husband Jeff hiking yesterday morning on some of the Loop Trails of Beaver Creek State Natural Area.  It was great fun to share some of the beauty of the area, get in some exercise, and enjoy a good visit. The highlight of our wildlife sightings was this Barred Owl we got to see on the Beaver Creek Loop Trail. It flew up into a nearby tree and perched for some time so we all got a good look at it.  Barred Owls have had an interesting range expansion from the East Coast, to the West Coast of Canada, and South into Washington and Oregon.  They are now being viewed with concern in forest management circles because there is evidence that they may be replacing the environmental sensitive Spotted Owl.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Extra Volunteer Help

We have discovered that Jeanette has some extra volunteer help with the lawns here at the Welcome Center of Beaver Creek State Natural Area.  For three evenings in a row we have watched as this big bull Elk has come and mowed through the clover. He is not much interested in the dried up sections of the lawn, just the lush green clover. Sometime after dark he evidently also helps himself to the apples. We know it’s him as he always leaves his “calling card”. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Birthday Birding

Yesterday was my 73rd birthday, and I got to do whatever I wanted, so we went birding. We spent the morning birding along the Yaquina Bay Road from Newport to Toledo, and the in the afternoon made a brief stop at Yaquina Head. I was able to add five good bird photos to Cascade Ramblings, two of which were new additions to my Life List.