Birdathon 2016

Weekday WarblersThe Weekday Warblers birdathon team made its inaugural trip on May 12. We birded the north coast from Cannon Beach to Fort Stevens, with a stop at the Sunset Rest Stop on the way. We did well with seabirds and shorebirds, but were sorely lacking in upland species. A few tweaks to the route and a longer day would probably get us a bigger list, but we had a great time with great weather and ended the day with 80 species.

ravenThis is one of a couple of Common Ravens who were hanging out in the parking lot of the Sunset Rest Area.

whimbrelOne of many Whimbrels seen on the beach

bonaparte's gullsThis flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls was flying around the South Jetty at Fort Stevens.

elka distant Roosevelt Elk at Fort Stevens

white-winged scoterWe made two quick stops at The Cove in Seaside. Most of the few birds that were there were quite a ways out, requiring lots of squinting through a scope, but this White-winged Scoter came close to shore for some nice views.

western and dunlinThe best find of the day was the large shorebird flock on the beach at Fort Stevens. The Oregon Coast does not usually get huge numbers of migrant shorebirds. Birders joke about he Shorebird Dome that covers the coast, forcing birds to fly directly from northern California to Gray’s Harbor, Washington. But this past week the dome was breached and good numbers and diversity of shorebirds worked the beaches of the north coast.  We found these birds mid-afternoon, so the sun was already in the west causing terrible lighting for photos. But this will give you an idea. The photo above shows a Western Sandpiper with two Dunlin.


ruddy and westernRuddy Turnstone with Western Sandpiper

knotRed Knot, a rare treat along the Oregon coast

comboa nice combo of Dunlin, Red Knot, Western Sandpiper, and Ruddy Turnstone

IMG_8679Boat for Sale. Needs work .

A great day on the Oregon coast.


William L. Finley NWR


This is the prairie at the northeast corner of Finley National Wildlife Refuge (Birding Oregon p. 84).  The bird diversity in prairies is often pretty low, and you get rather damp walking through shoulder-high grass on a dewy morning, but I always enjoy exploring grassland habitats.

savannah at finley
Savannah Sparrow was the most numerous species by far. This distant grainy photo is typical of my efforts to capture this species. They either flush right at your feet, or perch on an exposed twig so they can see you coming a mile away. Western Meadowlarks and Western Kingbirds were also present, but equally un-photogenic.

This male Northern Harrier hovered over me for a while. I was apparently too close to his nest. I kept moving.

bull elk
This bull Roosevelt Elk was completely hidden by the grass until he stood up. It seems odd to me that this large beast, who could trample me into the prairie sod without so much as breaking a sweat, would be intimidated by this little vegan biped. But I guess some of the bipeds this guy encounters are packing rifles or bows, so it is probably a good thing to be wary.

elk herd 2
Here are a few more of the herd. See the two babies? The female in the middle has her tongue out, but I don’t think that was directed toward me.