Cape Lookout State Park

One of my favorite bike-camping destinations along the Oregon coast is Cape Lookout State Park. The hiker-biker campground here is tough to beat: thick stands of sitka-hemlock forest AKA hammock-trees galore, seclusion from car-campers, miles of hiking nearby, and mere steps from the ocean.

Cape Lookout SP

A tip from me to you: Don’t feel like biking 72 miles from Portland to the park? As suggested by the Tillamook Chamber of Commerce, park at the Blue Heron French Cheese Factory (confirm with management), pick up some awesome cheese goodies and check out their petting zoo (complete with emu), then ride the (only slightly harrowing) 14 miles along 131 and Netarts Bay Rd to Cape Lookout. It’s a great way to go camping on busy holiday weekends, no park reservations required. Video demonstration here.

On this trip, we were lucky enough to see whale spouts and breaching along the ocean horizon. It’s incredibly difficult to predict where/when the whales would breach, thus basically impossible to get pictures. My best shot:

Whale

No, really, there’s a whale out there! Black blob = whale. I guess humpback, but there were rumors of grey and even orca. Hmmmm. A little closer.

Whale

And because this is the first time I’ve seen whales along the Oregon coast in the 10 years I’ve lived here, a few more photos. So neat.

When not whale-watching, I got to know the gulls as best I could.

Gulls

I was proud of myself for noticing some of these birds are not like the others. ♪

I noticed the gull with the red toned bill, all grey body, and black feet, a Heermann’s Gull. Interesting fact about Heermann’s, in true gull fashion, they are pirate birds, who coincide their northward migration with Brown Pelicans in order to steal food from the pelican’s gullet.

Pretty pirate.

IMG_1317

With a Western Gull for size comparison.

Heermann's Gull

Heermann's Gull

I also noticed gulls with red and black marks on their bill, yellow-green legs, and dark irises, the California Gull. 

California Gull

California Gull

I noticed gulls with thick yellow bills with a red spot on the lower mandible, pink legs, white heads, and light irises, BEHOLD, the Western Gull.

Western Gull

Ehem…BEHOLD!

Western Gull

I noticed some gulls had a staring problem.

California Gull

Western Gull

Heermann's Gull

California Gull

Western Gull

The more I watched the gulls, the more I appreciated their personality.

I noticed a few other species of birds and mammals.

The longer I observe this natural world the more I notice.

Pelicans and sunset

And the more I fall in love with it.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey

If you build it, they will bathe

I’m pretty proud of this one.

I’ve been meaning to purchase a bird bath for the yard, but winced at the average $100 price tag. How am I supposed to save for new mega camera lenses if I spend so much on yard accessories? So I went the DIY route instead. Inspired by this idea, I picked up a few items from the local hardware store and got to work.

Ingredients: chain, carabiner, 5 key rings, and a glazed planter saucer.

Nuts and bolts

I had to purchase cutting pliers, so the total cost was around $25, but those with the items on-hand could get away with an even cheaper lot. I cut the chain, re-connected in the appropriate places with key rings, and attached the four chain ends to a carabiner and chain-ring around the tree limb. Simple.

Ta-dah!

Birdbath!

I couldn’t beilive it. Within the first hour a female Lesser Golfinch took the bait.

Female Lesser Goldfinch

Female Lesser Goldfinch

Success!

And then…shortly after, a female Red Crossbill!!! A new bird! Unbelievable.

Female Red Crossbill

Pretty stoked. At the same time, birds at the feeders:

Lesser Goldfinch

Anna's Hummingbird

I love sharing my world with these cool creatures. I worried though…about the new set-up leaving the birds vulnerable to neighborhood cats. A neighbor brought to my attention they’d witnessed cats stalking the trees and the last thing I want to do is to put the birds at risk. So, today I stopped by the Backyard Bird Shop with the intention of getting squirrel baffles to somehow deter the cats. But, the sales associate had a better idea…wrap the tree limbs with blackberry vines! Ultra genius.

Cat repellent

The Game of Thorns

Cat repellent

Cat repellent

It looks a little funky now, but the green will die off, and the brown will blend in with the bark. But the thorns will remain. I hope it’s effective. What do you think, Miss Humbird?

Anna's Hummingbird

Mega ultra tweets and chirps,

Audrey