It had been ages since I visited the coast, so I packed up the dog to check out some spots between Cannon Beach and the Columbia River. I have seen an increasing number of these signs in the area, an attempt to attract nesting Snowy Plovers back to the area. I hope it works.
On the beach at Gearhart, I saw more Sanderlings than I have seen in many years. I don’t know whether the population has rebounded a bit, or if I just timed my visit with a good wave of early migrants. We’ll hope it is the former.
There was a small flock of Dunlin at Gearhart, and a much larger flock at Fort Stevens. None had started molting into spring plumage yet.
American Crow on the beach. There were a few Common Ravens around, too, but they usually don’t allow a close approach.
I found two mixed flocks of gulls. The gull numbers around Portland this winter have been very disappointing, so it was nice to see a good variety of species on the beach. Since I had Nala with me, I couldn’t get close enough to identify everyone. This little group is mostly California, with a couple of Mews and possible Thayer’s.
The best gulls of the day were Black-legged Kittiwakes. This species is usually found out to sea, so it is nice whenever they come to shore. Here is an adult in the middle of the frame.
A first-cycle Black-legged Kittiwake near the center, with a dark auricular patch and a black bar across the back of the neck.
This Western Gull seemed very dark compared to the other gull seen that day. I think she might be of the southern subspecies.
A quick check of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach usually reveals some Harlequin Ducks.