Bayocean Spit birding

2012 Birding Field Trips and Birds Spotted


November 10, 2012
Cascade Head Scenic Area along the Salmon River, Oregon

ASLC held a photo tips class and a field trip on the Salmon River at the foot of the Cascade Head Scenic Area. Birding was great with 20 people participating. Photos were taken from the road that goes along the river next to the riverhouse. Martha Wylder's house is just above this spot and is where she experienced the taking of one of her beloved Gray Jay's while feeding them under the eaves of her home. She thought it might have been one of the small migrating hawks such as the Sharp-shinned Hawk or Merlin Falcon. Meanwhile, down below, the group viewed and ID'd two Peregrine Falcons cruising along the foothill.
Cascade Head Scenic Area grup Sightings of the Day
American Crow
Belted Kingfisher
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Common Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Fox Sparrow
Great Blue Heron
Northern Flicker
Peregrine Falcon
Pine Siskin
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red Crossbill
Ring-billed Gull
Song Sparrow
Surf Scoter
Western Gull
White-fronted Geese
Steller's Jay

October 13, 2012
Beaver Creek State Natural Area

Sightings of the Day
Northern Flicker
Hooded Merganser
Northern Harrier
Common Snipe
Canada Goose
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Pintail
Chestnut-back Chickadee
American Robin
Pied-billed Grebe
Virginia Rail
Bald Eagle
Steller's Jay

Beaver Creek

Neither the threat of heavy rains, nor the threat of high winds, nor a downright soaking kept eleven birders from enjoying the canoeing/kayaking field trip at Beaver Creek State Natural Area. It may not have been one of our best days for spotting our fair feathered friends, but as always the camaraderie was joyous and upliftng. We didn't travel the full length of the creek but we did enjoy the sound of a Virginia Rail, the sight of a Northern Harrier, the sounds and sights of other birds, as well as our ever-present visitor, the Bald Eagle.


September 8, 2012
Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Heading due east from the central Oregon coast, birders made their way to Baskett Slough. Welcomed by an American Kestrel sitting high on a wire, the travelers met on Coville Road between 2 bodies of water. Although the water's height had extremely dropped due to hot, dry weather, a number of bird species were seen. To get from one body of water to the next, several Great Egrets flew right over the birders and gave the photographers in the group a perfect opportunity to catch their images against a brilliantly blue sky. Sandpipers of several species skittered along the water's edge seeking a meal of invertebrates. A group of Dowitchers hugged the water's edge next to the road and they, too, offered an excellent photo op for the birders. The Corvallis Audubon group was also here to bird watch. We saw them at the observation deck on the hill above. As they came down below and were driving out, our field guide Mark Elliott, made introductions and got the word that birds were sparse on the hill. Before driving to the parking lot for the hillside hike, a Red-tailed Hawk made its presence known by flying low, right over the group. Prune and apple trees lined the path to the parking lot. Blackberries were also abundant though smaller than what is found on the coast. All were delicious! As announced by the Corvallis group, we didn't see very many birds from the observation deck but we did see a flock of Great Egrets, a patrolling Northern Harrier, and several small bird species. Oh, and let's not forget . . . Bald Eagle was once again present at our bird walk! In all, we report the presence of 34 species seen by the group. Impressive, indeed!

baskett slough

Sightings of the day
American Kestrel
Great Egret
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Long-billed Dowitcher
Red-winged Blackbird
Spotted Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
American Goldfinch
Northern Harrier
Great Blue Heron
Mallard
Ruddy Duck
Gadwall
American Robin
Brewer’s Blackbird
Turkey Vulture
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-tailed Hawk
Raven
Bald Eagle
California Quail
Scrub Jay
Oregon Junco
Spotted Towhee
Western Tanager
Wilson’s Warbler
White Pelican
Western Meadowlark
Morning Dove
Green Heron


August 11, 2012
Bayocean Spit, Tillamook Bay, Oregon

This writer is truly beginning to believe that the ASLC bird walks are scheduled by retirees! :-)
Last month, some folks from Lincoln City had to get out of bed by around 6:30am to make it to the Yaquina Head bird walk. This walk wanted us at Bayocean at 8:30 in the morning! Yes, I'm complaining about the early morning hours but, ahhh, what a totally enjoyable experience.

After introductions in the parking lot, we chose to walk the fog-laden ocean side of the spit of land. As we approached the sandy beach, birds were visible mostly only through binoculars. It's amazing that what looks like a barren, seaward vista to the naked eye becomes a parade of seafaring birds flying here, there, and everywhere through the glass of a pair of binoculars! Cormorants, murres, gulls, pelicans, and other sea birds. Drop your binoculars and, poof, they're all gone!!

From there, we walked through the woods of the spit and were surprised by the quiet and the near non-existent activity of birdlife till we arrived at the bay's shore. American Crows began squawking loudly. Birders know that means there is either a raptor or raven nearby. We heard but couldn't see. But we did see Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Sandpipers scouring the mudflats for aquatic invertebrates and other delectables.

Sightings of the Day
Barn Swallow
Great Blue Heron
Brown Pelican
Mallard
Common Raven
American Crow
Cedar Waxwing
Common Murre
Pelagic Cormorant
Brandt’s Cormorant
Western Gull
Savannah Sparrow
Double-crested Cormorant
Caspian Tern
Common Loon
Marbled Murrelet
Northern Flicker
Western Sandpiper
Red Crossbill
Wrentit
American Robin
Bewick’s Wren
Bald Eagle
Least Sandpiper
Fox Sparrow
Semipalmated Plover
Ring-billed Gull
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Warbler
Violet-green Swallow
Belted Kingfisher
Canada Geese
Great Egret
Steller’s Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Song Sparrow
Swainson’s Thrush

Mammals
Oregon Grey Squirrel
Nutria

bayocean bird walk

July 14, 2012
Yaquina Head, Oregon

Sightings of the Day
Peregrine Falcon ~ Violet-green Swallow ~ Barn Swallow
Turkey Vulture ~ House Sparrow ~ American Crow
White-crowned Sparrow ~ American Goldfinch ~ Pigeon Guillemot
Western Grebe ~ Surf Scoter ~ Common Murre ~ Spotted Towhee
Brown-headed Cowbird ~ Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Brandt’s Cormorant ~ Pelagic Cormorant
Black Oystercatcher ~ Bald Eagle ~ Brown Pelican
Rhinoceros Auklet ~ Song Sparrow ~ Caspian Tern ~ Western Gull

yaquina head falcon yaquina head birds

For working people to get up and out of bed at 6:30 on a weekend morning is absolutely ludicrous. But we had an agenda. This is the morning of the ASLC bird walk at Yaquina Head. Stopping for gas on the way, we arrived at the Visitor Center seeing that others were already out of their cars and were peering through their binoculars and spotting scopes at a young Peregrine Falcon sitting on a stony ledge scanning its territory for anything that moves.

When all 11 birders arrived by 9am, Mark Elliott, or field guide, gathered everyone in a circle having each of us introduce ourselves to all others. After watching the motionless falcon a bit longer, we turned and headed toward the lighthouse. An American Goldfinch sat atop an evergreen brightly singing on this gray, foggy morning.

"Eagle" someone yelled as we saw it fly out of a nearby tree. It drew everyone's attention as it circled very nearby a few times with a squawking Western Gull harassing it in flight. It was a perfect photo op for the photographers in the group, as it kept flying close by before landing in that same nearby tree. Unfortunately, numerous branches and limbs obscured the full profile of the raptor thereafter.

Common Murres still dominated the presence of birds on the bird island just off the coast of the lighthouse. Gulls and Turkey Vultures were also seen in the mix. Gulls carefully scrutinized the periphery of the Murres searching for eggs and/or young birds. Three vultures were doing the same. Below all that activity, Gull nestlings were seen through the spotting scope. The feathers of these young ones were so spotted they nearly blended in with the rocks.

On the way back to the Visitor Center parking lot, Black Oystercatchers were spotted, as well as Caspian Terns, Brown Pelicans, Western Grebes, Surf Scoters, and more. In the parking lot some of the birders saw a falcon fly behind the maintenance building.

That falcon came from behind the building with a bird in its talons and landed in a bush in front of us all. All of a sudden two other falcons came out of nowhere and tried taking the prey from the one falcon. Three falcons were swirling and flying right in front of us . . . I mean to say, right in front of us, maybe 60 feet away!! Those of us who had cameras couldn't take enough shots to record the event. Have you ever heard the sound of a machine gun? That was the sound to the right of us and to the left, as the photographers shot continuous photos of the predators. We just couldn't get enough to satisfy ourselves; after all, how often does one witness such an intimate display of falcons fighting for the same food?!! What an exciting and eventful ending to our bird walk!

yaquina head eagle

June 9, 2012
Tamara Quays and Pixieland

audubon birders

ASLC and the US Forest Service hosted more than 27 bird watchers and curious visitors at two major US Forest Service restoration sites in the Salmon River estuary on Saturday, June 9. Trip leaders Mark Elliott (ASLC avid birder) and Michelle Dragoo (USFS wildlife biologist) guided the group through the restored Tamara Quays and Pixieland sites. Michelle, Catherine Pruett of the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council (SDCWC), and ASLC led visitors through the restored landscapes as they discussed the efforts to restore natural hydrology and native plants to the former trailer park and amusement center. Dikes, ditches, and old infrastructure were removed at Tamara Quays in 2009 and at Pixieland 2010-2012; however, efforts to eliminate invasive plants and to help native plants out-compete the invasives are on-going, and the SDCWC welcomes volunteers to planting and weed removal work days at these sites. The Pixieland site includes a number of new bird boxes as part of the habitat restoration effort. Birders logged 35 species (see list) and a special find: a bushtit nest and resident bushtit! The Salmon River Estuary is one of Oregon’s "Important Birding Areas." The Tamara Quays site is open now to the public for bird watching. The Pixieland site will be open in the future after removal of the last infrastructure later this year.

lincoln city birders

Sightings of the Day
Cedar Waxwing
Song Sparrow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Swainson’s Thrush
Wilson’s Warbler
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Cooper’s Hawk
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Purple Finch
Warbling Vireo
Belted Kingfisher
Great Blue Heron
Barn Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
American Crow
Pacific Wren
White-crowned Sparrow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Hermit Warbler
Red-tailed Hawk
Anna’s Hummingbird
Rufus Hummingbird
Band-tailed Pigeon
Willow Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee
Wood Duck
European Starling
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
Downy Woodpecker
Bushtit
American Robin

oregon coast birding


May 12, 2012
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, Oregon

Sightings of the Day


barn swallows

Whalen Island/ Clay Meyers Natural Area
Barn Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Turkey Vulture
Lesserer Yellowleg
Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Double-crested Cormorant
American Crow
Savannah Sparrow
Brewer’s Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
White-crowned Sparrow

wilsons warbler

Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery
American Robin
Winter/Pacific Wren
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Wilson’s Warbler
Song Sparrow
Violet-green Swallow
American Goldfinch
European Starling
Brown-headed Cowbird
Mallard
Great Blue Heron
American Wigeon
Belted Kingfisher
Tree Swallow
Rufus Hummingbird
Double-crested Cormorant
Chestnut Chickadee

common loon

Netarts Bay
Surf Scoter
Pelagic Cormorant
Ring-necked Duck
Pacific Loon
Greater or Lesser Scaup
Common Loon
Brandt's Cormorant

bald eagle

Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint
Cackling Goose
White-crowned Sparrow
Violet-green Swallow
Bald Eagle
Brown Pelican
Oyster Catcher
Pigeon Guillemot
Canada Goose
American Crow
Common Murre
Snow Goose
Brown Creeper
Downy Woodpecker
Wilson’s Warbler
Stellar’s Jay

2 Grey Whales and a calf

dawn grafe, jack doyle
Field Guide Dawn Grafe and ASLC president Jack Doyle

What a beautiful and exciting day it was for eighteen birders! We all met at the Pelican Pub parking lot at 9am to begin our multi-stop caravan up to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, off coastal Highway 101 in Tillamook County.

lesser yellowlegs

Our first stop was at Whalen Island/Clay Meyers Natural Area. As we crossed the bridge to the island we immediately saw three Yellowlegs, amongst Canada Geese, searching the water's shallowness for good things to eat. Violet-green Swallows and Barn Swallows rapidly cut through the air chasing down their brunch, too. In all, we sighted 13 birds. Then we headed north to Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery where another 17 birds were spotted. Most exciting was the knowledge of birds being expressed by our day's field guide, Dawn Grafe, of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. "Listen, over there," she would say, "that is the Pacific-slope Flycatcher." Huh? This writer couldn't even hear the sound, never mind ID'ing it!! Next stop, Netarts Bay. On the way, we met up with the Portland Audubon Society caravan as they headed south. We stopped, and after brief chatter, they headed on to their destination(s). At the bay, the tide was low, but we did pencil in viewing 7 species of birds.

cape meares sign

Finally reaching our destination, the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, our token Bald Eagle soared overhead. That is always a "sign" that the viewing is going to be very enjoyable. And, it sure was! One of the highlights at this location was the sighting of a Snow Goose flying with Canada Geese. Although Snow Geese prefer to stay with their own, they do occasionally fly with other geese.

meares group

Ahh, the sun was bright and warm, the sky was a brilliantly blue, our sightings were absolutely exciting . . . what more could we ask for?!!! Two of the birders said what would really top off the day is to see whales. Poof! Ask and ye shall receive. Just about the same time, 3 whales appeared in front of us. Two adults, one young one! Yes, the day was smiling on us.

whales

April 14, 2012
Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR

In contrast to what the weather gurus were saying about the day being bright and warm, the morning we birders grouped together at the Taft wharf, the sky was cloudy and the air was chilly. But, anyone who knows birders knows that inclement weather is just a mere distraction to them. Binoculars and cameras are always at the ready! So there we were, 26 eyes scanning the Siletz Bay for sea birds and otherwise. And, as usual, Bald Eagle made its grand entrance at the start of the walk, as it always does! Down Hwy 101, just a bit further south, we pulled into Keys Place and viewed a mix of birds, those in the brush and more in the water. From there, we headed to the Nature Walk at Salishan. At Salishan, we were courted by a Great Blue Heron that obviously wanted its picture taken from all angles. We succumbed to its beauty and it left the photographers in the group having to go through hundreds of photo files to find the "right one" when they downloaded them to their computers! All in all, it was an enjoyable time, together with friends, new acquaintances, and a surprisingly long list of feathered friends.
siletz birding

Birds Pictured:
Western Gull, Great Blue Heron, Bufflehead,
egg of the Lesser White Dimpler

Sightings of the Day
Bald Eagle
Caspian Tern
Western Gull
Common Loon
Red-throated Loon
American Crow
Brown Pelican
Red-breasted Merganser
Bufflehead
Turkey Vulture
Double-crested Cormorant
Ruddy Duck
Mew Gulls
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Mallard
Canada Geese
Western Grebe
Starling
House Finch
House Sparrow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
American Robin
Great Blue Heron
Belted Kingfisher
Rufus Hummingbird
Purple Martin
Black-capped Chickadee
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Rock Dove
Steller's Jay
Common Merganser
Common Goldeneye
Anna’s Hummingbird
Marsh Wren
Red-tailed Hawk


March 10, 2012
Neskowin, Oregon

Dressed in raingear, we die-hard birders met at the Neskowin wayside parking lot at 9am. Some folks were still slithering into rainpants by the time all arrived who were going to brave out the weather. Yes, it was raining, but we were thankful there was no wind. Led by Field Guide, Jack Hurt, we followed the trail on the west side of the Neskowin Golf Course and passed by some very quaint and colorful little cottages that posted colorful signs by local kids asking drivers to take slow excursions down their narrow road. As always, our ASLC walk began with the presence of an eagle or two. Today, there were two. Last year, around this time, our field trip brought us to the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge on a very, very rainy day. We did our sightings from vehicles only. This year, we chose to stand tall and weather out the rain. Interestingly, upon past review, we noticed that more birds were sighted in such rainy conditions than normally seen during dry weather. We still scratch our heads and wonder why. Out there on one of the golf course fairways stood a naked tree covered with Tree Swallows and Violet-Green Swallows. Just in front of us, a Northern Flicker feverishly drilled holes in the earth below searching for grubs and the like. There's a Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Marsh and Pacific Wrens, all flittering from branch to branch too fast to get a good photograph of them. A hawk flew too fast in front of us to be able to identify it, and a Great Blue Heron rose above the marsh due south. All in all, yes it was a rather damp event but an exciting one nonetheless!

Sightings of the Day
Canada Goose
Spotted Towhee
Wood Duck
Song Sparrow
Eurasian Wigeon
White-crowned Sparrow
American Wigeon
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Mallard
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Bufflehead
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Merganser
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-breasted Merganser
Purple Finch
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Bald Eagle
Western Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Warbling Vireo
Steller's Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Brown Creeper
Pacific Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Varied Thrush
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Common Raven

neskowin eagles
neskowin swallows

February 11, 2012
Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge • Cloverdale, OR

At 9am, 11 birders gathered under the overcast sky and walked their way up to the observation deck above the information center. With keen ears, Tom, from Portland, identified the sound of the Hutton's Vireo. On the hilltop 2 eagles were spotted, and a raven sat chattering down at the birders as they passed underneath. Many species of small birds flitted from bush to bush. The 2nd part of the walk took place travelling the loop which was on the east side of Hwy 101. With an initial belief that it was a Perregrine Falcon, the Prairie Falcon left its perch high on a snag, flew over the birders and headed south where it was seen performing a rapid, death-defying drop from high above.
group shot prairie falcon ringnecks Sightings of the Day
Sharp-shinned Hawk
American Robin
American Crow
Purple Finch
Townsend Warbler
Hutton’s Vireo
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Mallard
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Bald Eagle
Common Raven
Lincoln's Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Red-tailed Hawk
Spotted Towhee
Bewick’s Wren
Song Sparrow
Pacific Wren
Northern Pintail
Dusky Geese
Great Blue Heron
Red-wing Blackbird
European Starling
Prairie Falcon
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
American Coot
Lesser Scaup
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Stellar's Jay
Green-winged Teal
Gadwall
Black Phoebe
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
Gold-crowned Sparrow
Belted Kingfisher
American Kestrel
Northern Flicker
Northern Shrike
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Western Meadowlark
Northern Harrier

January 14, 2012
OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center Nature Trail • Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Bay
CA gull

harlequin duck

As we gathered in the parking lot of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, we whipped our heads to the right to view a large flock of ducks flying above the water. "Look over there, the Bald Eagle is spooking them," said our field guide Mark Elliott. A Bald Eagle! Thinking back at all the field trips this writer has made with ASLC, there was only one birdwalk that didn't start with the appearance of a Bald Eagle. Interesting, eh?!! As we readied our binoculars and cameras to witness the local birdlife in front of us, we viewed American Coots, Surf Scoters, Common Loons, Hooded Mergansers and Ring-necked Ducks. At the start, the weather was dry and in the high 40s but grew progressively worse as time flew by. When we turned the corner around the Science Center, we saw flocks of Northern Pintails, Blue-winged Teal, and American Wigeons. To escape the wind and rain, we tucked ourselves in a little shelter building on the nature trail. The Belted Kingfisher that hovered over the water disappeared in a flash when some of us were getting set to take its picture! European Starlings, American Crows, and Rock Doves passed overhead.

California Gulls were entertaining us with their acts of attempting to break clam shells by crashing them to the earth below from the sky up above. They must have been youngsters 'cause they were dropping them on sand rather than on harder surfaces. A hummingbird silently whizzed by. I thought I heard a couple of birders say they also saw a Northern Shoveler out on one of the sandbars in the bay. Eagle made one more appearance and then disappeared. A House Finch was grabbing as much seed as it could from the Science Center's birdfeeder. Making the loop back to our cars, we then headed for the south jetty of Yaquina Bay. Mark said we'd see a Harlequin Duck there, and sure enough there it was! It even climbed on a rock where it posed for all the photographers. By now, the rain was falling faster and the wind and cold chilled us to the bone.

Brrr, it was time to go. Some went back north to join up for the day's last sightings at 51st St in the Taft area of Lincoln City, and the rest went their separate ways. All in all, we made the best of a damp, winter day and were warmed with contentment with the birdlife we witnessed.

Sightings of the Day
White-crowned Sparrow
Western Gull
Double-crested Cormorant
Bufflehead
Coot
Surf Scoter
Lesser Scaup
Common Loon
Bald Eagle
Hooded Merganser
Belted Kingfisher
Song Sparrow
European Starling

American Crow
Northern Pintail
American Wigeon
Great Blue Heron
Pacific Loon
Black-capped Chickadee
Gold-crowned Sparrow
Purple Finch
Dark-eyed Junco
Anna’s Hummingbird
Harlequin
Horned Grebe
Glaucous Gull
Pelagic Cormorant
 
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