The North Coast

I took my shorebird class to the coast, from Cannon Beach to Hammond. While birding overall was good, the shorebirds were less than stellar in both number and diversity.

black oystercatcherBlack Oystercatcher is a reliable species on Haystack Rock.

puffinNesting season is still in full swing on Haystack Rock. Here is a Tufted Puffin among some Common Murres.

mixed flockThe rocks at the Hammond Boat Basin continue to be a reliable high-tide roost for Marbled Godwits and Whimbels.
godwits and whimbrel
whimbrelheerman'sOf course, you can’t go to the coast without appreciating the gulls. Here is a Heermann’s Gull in a rather unflattering stage of molt.
ring-billedFirst cycle Ring-billed Gull

crossbill 1One of the more interesting sightings of the day was a pair of Red Crossbills on the shore of The Cove in Seaside. These birds are usually hard to see as they cruise the tops of large conifers. This pair was down to take salt from the rocks in the intertidal zone. (male pictured, the female eluded the camera)
crossbill 3For the purposes of my shorebird class, it would have been much better to find Black Turnstones, Ruddy Turnstones, Wandering Tattlers, and Surfbirds at this site, but you can’t complain too much when you get to see Crossbills on the beach.

Pelagic trip, September 10, 2011

On Saturday I went on another excellent pelagic trip out of Newport with Greg Gillson and his band of wonderful guides. The weather was cool, windy, and foggy. Seas were very rough, so many cookies were tossed and chunder was blown among my fellow birders. But thanks to Bonine, my stomach survived the trip unscathed. Rough seas made photography very challenging, but here are a few images from the day.

A foggy sunrise beneath the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Once we we got well offshore, the fog cleared and the Black-footed Albatrosses appeared. These are common birds on virtually every Oregon pelagic trip, but they are always magnificent to see.

Black-footed Albatross

Black-footed Albatross next to a Northern Fulmar

This Northern Fulmar is dining on a chunk of beef fat.

The Northern Fulmars make a hasty retreat at the appearance of a South Polar Skua. Skuas make their living beating up smaller seabirds and stealing their lunch.

While I have seen South Polar Skuas on many other trips, this is the first time I have seen them resting on the water.

In flight, South Polar Skuas are easily recognized by their barrel-chested shape and white patches at the base of the primaries.

As we got back closer to shore, we found this Tufted Puffin.

Yaquina Head, just north of Newport. The rocks just offshore here are important nesting colonies for many seabirds.