Barview Jetty

Barview Jetty (Birding Oregon p. 125) forms the northern edge of the entrance to Tillamook Bay. It is a good site for viewing rock-loving shorebirds, gulls, and seabirds. The jetty was rebuilt last year, so the surface is now smooth enough that you can walk out all the way to the end. After the first few winter storms, most of the gravel and smaller rocks will wash away, leaving the jetty too rough to safely walk on. The photo was taken from the end of the jetty. I broke my first rule of jetty birding to take this picture; Never turn your back on the ocean. One never knows when a big sneaker wave will wash over the jetty, sweeping oblivious bird-nerds such as myself into the sea.

The only shorebirds visible on this visit were this flock of Red-necked Phalaropes swimming near the end of the jetty. A cold front had just gone through, creating strong NW winds. You might think those conditions would have brought in migrating shorebirds. But it has been my experience that cold fronts move out any shorebirds that have been staging in an area. It then takes several days for new migrants to trickle in. So the the longer it has been since the last cold front, the more likely it is that you will find larger numbers of south-bound migrants.

Two Harbor Seals were swimming in the channel, along with a few Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, and a very distant Rhinoceros Auklet.

North Coast

I made two trips to the coast for my shorebird class last week. Migration is picking up, and the sun is actually making  occasional appearances.

Three Arch Rocks, viewed from Cape Meares (Birding Oregon p. 129) This is the site of large seabird nesting colonies, but the rocks are too far out to see much. The small rock on the far left is a favorite haul out site for Steller’s Sea Lions, which you can see with a decent scope.

Two Coyotes were hunting in a meadow along Tillamook Bay. There is no shoulder along much of Bayocean Road, so I had to make a brief stop in the middle of the road to snap a couple of photos. I was struck by how dark these animals were, compared to Coyotes I see inland.

Keeping an eye on me. Coyotes are right to be nervous whenever a vehicle slows down nearby. Luckily, this human was only pointing a camera.

Black Oystercatcher on Barview Jetty (Birding Oregon p. 125) This jetty was recently rebuilt. As a result, the surface is smooth and easy to walk on, allowing you to go out much farther than before. But please don’t get the impression that it is EVER safe to walk out on a jetty. Even though you don’t have to hop from rock to rock, sneaker waves can still knock you onto the rocks or into the ocean. The jetty might have to age a bit before it attracts as many birds as before, since newer rocks don’t have as much sea life encrusted onto them.

Black Turnstones and Surfbirds at The Cove in Seaside (Birding Oregon p. 121) These birds put on a great show for my shorebird class.