I took a 12-hour pelagic trip out of Newport last Saturday. The morning started out with the typical cool cloudy weather one expects on the Oregon coast. Here is the sun rising over the Coast Range.
The most common species of the day was Pink-footed Shearwater. The largest concentration of birds was gathered behind a fish processing ship. While I am opposed to the strip-mining of our oceans, these ships always attract a lot of birds.
Pink-footed Pandemonium (There is also a Black-footed Albatross and a Sooty Shearwater)
Black-footed Albatrosses are common once you get out about 20 miles. This individual had an odd lump in her neck. I hope it is just a large food item in her crop and not a disposable lighter or some other piece of trash.
We saw more Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels than I had ever seen before.
We saw three other species of storm-petrel, all very rare in Oregon waters. This is a Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. The other two were Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels.
By the time we returned to port, the weather was sunny and hot. That’s just not right. I ended the day with a nasty sunburn.
Back in the bay, families of Brandt’s Cormorants were on the pilings.
The Three Graces Tidal Area (Birding Oregon p. 127) lies along the shore of Tillamook Bay, just south of the town of Barview. It is a small site, but the offshore rocks and rocky shoreline attract a nice variety of birds.
The best times to bird this site are in between high and low tides. When the tide is up, the small rocks are submerged. When the tide is too low, people sometimes walk out to the rocks, thus scaring the birds. Brown Pelicans, Common Loons, Harlequin Ducks, and other waterfowl are often seen swimming in the area. In winter, Rock Sandpipers and Surfbirds feed on the exposed rocks and shoreline.
Peer over the edge of the path to scan the shoreline for rockpipers and gulls. A scope is useful for checking the more distant offshore rocks.
A closer view of that distant rock. Pelagic, Brandt’s, and Double-crested Cormorants can all be found here, sometimes allowing side-by-side comparison. This photo shows mostly Pelagic Cormorants, with a possible young Double-crested on the right.