Puffins to Owls w/ Dad
Last week my dad visited from Florida to check out some apartments on the Oregon coast. He’s considering trading his eastern birds for western. Crazy, but true. We spent three nights between Newport and Seaside. My dad likes birds and packed his binoculars so our agenda was set.
We started at Beaver Creek Natural Area, one of my new favorite places since I saw my Oregon Black-and-White Warbler and my lifer Ruff here back in January. We drove past the wetlands and stopped for a Green Heron, followed by Virginia Rails out in the open (!) of course only for a split second. I thought maybe we could hear the Gray Catbird that’d been recently sighted (and is possibly nesting here) but no luck.
True to form, the Oregon coast was foggy, misty and cool and pretty much stayed that way the whole time. We visited the feeders at Beaver Creek next and saw Anna’s Hummingbird and Rufous Hummingbird. In that order.
Sometimes the feeders got a bit crowded.
Onward we phished up some curious warblers including Orange-crowned Warblers and Wilson’s Warblers.
In the afternoon we stopped by the Peregrine Falcon nest at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and it did not disappoint. We saw two falcons, one at the nest and another that screamed in an out entertaining visitors to the parking lot.
Before sunset we took a trip to Boiler Bay to scope out some adorable Marbled Murrelets and boring whales.
We had good luck the next morning at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area where we met two Black Phoebe in the parking lot.
And a Wrentit along the trail right where it was supposed to be.
We missed the Snowy Plovers on the beach this day, but we did end up driving farther north to Fort Stevens State Park to look for a reported large group of Marbled Godwits. I had the bright idea to go to the end and work our way back, which was a terrible idea, because it wasn’t until after many miles and many stops in soft sand that we finally spotted them.
I said, I see godwits! My dad said, “Seriously?!” Not sure he believed me after all the misses. But there they were, all 73 of them.
Not just godwits, there was Semipalmated Sandiper, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, the most Semipalmated Plovers I’ve seen in one place (56!).
And young Caspian Terns in fancy outfits that just fascinated me.
Where to go from here? Cannon Beach for Tufted Puffins of course! To which we saw just one (and only one) before celebrating over tasty beers and food at Pelican Brewery. The following morning we did a better job at finding puffins mixed in with Common Murre on the rock.
We watched them waddle awkwardly around on the rock, occasionally diving fearlessly off into the air.
On the drive home back into sunshine, we had time to stop at Dawson Creek Park in Hillsboro to check out the Acorn Woodpeckers which are always entertaining.
While strolling through the forest, I pointed out an area that sometimes has Great Horned Owls, but I’d never seen them. Then I looked up and lo and behold. Two!
Moral of the story, if you want to see owls, just start talking about them and they’ll show up. Such a fun trip! And a great variety of birds, we saw 85 species! I don’t know if my dad will move here, but the birds and I will be waiting for him if he does.
Tweets and chirps,