Ft. Stevens State Park, 9-28-’10

I took a client birding along the northern coast this week. Ft. Stevens State Park (Birding Oregon p.119) is a mandatory stop when spending a day in this area.

An observation deck overlooks the south jetty of the Columbia River. This is usually a great place to find birds on the water, but the surf was very rough on this day. Notice the waves washing over the jetty.

This California Sea Lion had hauled out onto the beach to take a break from the big surf.

This flock of Sanderlings was feeding on the calmer side of the spit.

Notice how the second bird from the right is bending his upper mandible. Shorebird bills are flexible, allowing the birds to grab onto prey beneath the surface of the sand.

Running along at the very edge of the waves is typical behavior for Sanderlings.

An American Crow on the beach. Some sources list Northwestern Crows as occurring at Fort Stevens, but there is no physical evidence to show that Northwestern Crows have ever inhabited Oregon. The race of American Crow found along the West Coast is considerably smaller than the races found inland. This might lead to confusion among visitors who are used to seeing larger crows.

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