Menu of June-December 1999 (sections 99.62-99.123) Bird Field Notes 
             by Range Bayer from the Sandpiper (a publication 
             of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists, Lincoln County, Oregon) 
Section   Month of 
No.       Sandpiper, Volume 20
99.62     June-August 1999 
99.75     September 1999 
99.89     October 1999 
99.103    November 1999 
99.115    December 1999 

99.62 BIRD FIELD NOTES from the June-August 1999 Sandpiper 20(6)

      Comments in this column about abundance or seasonality refer to 

      Abbreviations and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Beaver Creek=creek 
flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Eckman Lake=lake just east of 
Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC=Hatfield Marine Science Center, HY=hatch-year 
(bird in the calendar year of its hatching), Idaho Flats=large embayment 
just east of the HMSC, Ona Beach=State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina 
Bay bridge along HWY 101, Sallys Bend=large embayment east of the LNG tank 
at Yaquina Bay, Sandpiper Village=residential area west of HWY 101 and 
just north of Waldport, Thiel Creek=creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina 
Bay bridge, Thornton Creek=creek between Toledo and Eddyville, 
Wandemere=about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach along HWY 101, YBSJ=Yaquina Bay 
South Jetty.
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99.63                         SEABIRD MYSTERY

      Something must be going on in the ocean (no surprise!), but what does 
it all mean?  Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels were unusually abundant alive and 
dead nearshore in May.  Then in August, numbers of live Sooty Shearwaters, 
Pigeon Guillemots, and Rhinoceros and Cassin's Auklets spiked near Boiler 
Bay, with at least the numbers of PG's seeming unseasonal.  Add to the mix 
the higher than normal number of dead fulmars and HY and adult murres in 
August, and one begins to wonder.  Perhaps none of these events are 
connected, perhaps some or all are.  Mystery . . .
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99.64                        GREBES-TUBENOSES

      PIED-BILLED GREBES nest sparingly in the county; the first at 
nonnesting areas arrived at Eckman Lake on 8/15 (KM).

      Two BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were washed ashore along 4.6 mi of beach 
near Thiel Creek in July (B&SLo, S&DB, LO); this is more than usual.  
During Depoe Bay pelagic trips, one Black-footed Albatross was 3.5 mi 
offshore and nine were 17.5 mi out on 7/17; four were 12 miles offshore on 
8/7 (GG, MH, & others).  See the following address for all pelagic results 
and trip info:

      Offshore, thousands of SOOTY SHEARWATERS were noted off Yaquina Head 
on 4/29 (BP), but their onshore abundance is different.  PP has provided a 
nice series of onshore observations at Boiler Bay that provide a "picture" 
of the seasonal change in nearshore SOOTY SHEARWATER abundance.  He 
counted 0-4 Sooties during five days in July and three days in early 
August, 700+ on 8/19, 16-60 on 8/22 & 26, and 4,000-9,000+ on 8/27 & 29.  
PP also saw 1,500+ Sooties off the mouth of Alsea Bay and 200+ Sooties off 
Seal Rocks on 8/27.  Their August increase in abundance was not reflected 
in beached birds as only one Sooty washed ashore in August near Thiel 
Creek (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  

      25 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS were counted during the 8/7 pelagic (GG & 
others), and 1-6 were detected at Boiler Bay on 8/19 & 29 (PP).

      During the 8/7 pelagic, at least 300 NORTHERN FULMARS were only 3 
miles off Depoe Bay, but the only onshore sighting was of three at Boiler 
Bay on 8/22 (PP).  The nine fulmars beached near Thiel Creek in August 
(B&SLo, S&DB, LO) is extraordinary and is about equal to the combined sum 
(10) there for all 1978-1997 Augusts.

      The unusual, onshore FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL showing ended on 5/9 as 
reported in the last newsletter, but singletons were also noted at the 
YBSJ on 6/6 (KM) and at Boiler Bay on 8/26 & 29 (PP).  Offshore, about 
70 were counted during the 8/7 pelagic trip (GG & others).  The 
extraordinarily high mortality of storm-petrels continued into June with 
eight Fork-taileds found dead then near Thiel Creek, and one dead, beached 
LEACH'S STORM-PETREL was counted there in both June and July (B&SLo, S&DB, 
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99.65                      BROWN PELICANS-HERONS

      BROWN PELICANS were seen almost daily at Yaquina Head in June-July 
with a high count of 30 on 6/29 (BLM).  It is often August before they 
show up in bays, with SK spotting 25 just west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge 
on 8/25.  The high coastal count was 175 at Boiler Bay on 8/19 (PP).

      GREAT BLUE HERONS are locally uncommon along the outer coast, so an 
adult at a Seal Rocks tidepool on 6/20 (DP; KM) is a surprise.
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99.66                          GREAT EGRETS

      GREAT EGRETS nest at Coos Bay, but I have not heard of reports yet of 
their doing so in Lincoln County.  However, scattered individuals have 
been reported during the nesting season in recent years at Beaver Creek 
and Yaquina Bay.  This year, one was at Yaquina Bay on 5/23 (KM), 6/3 
(RB), and 6/6 (KM); another was seen there on 7/16 (RB), but this is about 
the time that migrants have arrived in past years.  

      On 7/26, four GE's were migrating north just past the breakers about 
two miles south of the Lincoln/Lane County line (RL).  We have wondered if 
our GE's have been coming from the east or from the south, so it appears 
that at least some come from the south.  

      At Yaquina Bay, GE's increased from 10 on 7/31, to 22 on 8/6, to 
33 on 8/29 (RB; RL).  Their numbers should peak in September and October.
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99.67                            WATERFOWL

      Several northerly flights of Western CANADA GEESE were noted in the 
last newsletter; others include 15 at Seal Rock on 5/23 (KM) and 12 at 
Yaquina Head on 6/3 (BLM).  The 34 Canadas flying south over Wandemere in 
a "V" at sunset on 8/19 (RC) are our first "fall" migrants.  Other birds 
to be expected to be flying in such formations this season include 
White-fronted Geese and Double-crested Cormorants.

       The last spring GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at Alsea Bay on 5/23 

      By 8/6 at Eckman Lake, RL had seen at least 11 broods of MALLARDS and 
nine broods of WOOD DUCKS; it has not been possible to keep track of all 
of them.  A juvenile HOODED MERGANSER was at the Ona Beach Log Pond on 
7/25 (KM), and 17 were at Eckman Lake on 8/8 (KM).

      Fall duck arrivals include two NORTHERN SHOVELERS at Eckman Lake on 
8/6 (RL), five AMERICAN WIGEON and eight GREEN-WINGED TEAL in the ocean 
off Wandemere on 8/14 (WH), and one NORTHERN PINTAIL at Yachats on 8/22 
(KM).  On 8/29, PP noted at least 500 dabbling ducks in several large 
mixed flocks of wigeon, pintail, and teal at Boiler Bay.  These arrivals 
are not abnormally early, but it takes keen eyes to pick out the first few 
to arrive because they are in brown, nondescript plumage.

      Some SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS normally oversummer along 
the coast in small numbers.  The first "fall" flight was a flock of 
14 White-wings and two Surfs flying south past Yaquina Head on 7/8 (RL).  
In early August, several hundred ducks began amassing just beyond the surf 
near Wandemere (RC); on 8/8, WH identified most of these as Surf Scoters, 
and on 8/14, he counted about a thousand Surf and 50 White-winged Scoters 

      DP has been weekly monitoring the few nonbreeding, summering 
HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Seal Rocks; he counted nine males and two females there 
on 6/10.   The first immigrants were five females on 8/17.

      The only other oversummering, nonbreeding duck was an immature 
COMMON GOLDENEYE at Alsea Bay on 6/27 (KM).
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99.68                             RAPTORS

      BALD EAGLES continued to visit Yaquina Head and catch Common Murres 
in June, with a high count of two adult and two immature eagles on 6/13 
(BLM).  In the past, Yaquina Bay was claimed by a single pair of eagles, 
but in the past year 1-2 adults have been seen more often in lower Yaquina 
Bay.  On 6/18, two pairs of adults were at Sallys Bend--one at the west 
side, the other at the east side, and they were interacting (RB).  It 
remains to be seen if the Yaquina is big enough for two pairs, or if one 
pair will leave.  In any case, none nested successfully this year at the 

      One of the more spectacular eagle sightings was of one unsuccessfully 
attempting to steal a fish from an OSPREY near the mouth of Beaver Creek 
on 7/8 (SaL & KH).  There were several other Osprey sightings, with the 
most unusual sites being at Yaquina Head on 7/6 (BLM) and at Tidewater on 
8/22 & 27 (BW).

      A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK soaring over Devils Churn at Yachats on 8/14 
(RC) is very early-- most sightings are in September-October.

      NORTHERN HARRIERS may have nested at South Beach, since an adult male 
was detected at the HMSC on 6/14 (RB) and a brown one was seen there on 
7/26 (RB).

      The immature SHARP-SHINNED HAWK that first appeared at RC's Wandemere 
home in mid-October 1998 continued to linger on 6/3 & 7/17.  On 8/23, RC 
wrote: "It is molting into adult plumage now, but still is recognizable by 
its behavior of perching on the feeders.  The bird seems to regard us 
without concern as long as we are going about our usual business in the 
yard.  Yesterday afternoon as it made an attack approach, it passed within 
eight feet of where we sat on the deck."  Another was near Toledo on 
8/18 & 25 (LO).

      A COOPER'S HAWK was at Green Mountain, east of Logsden in Polk County 
on 8/26 (CP).

      DP identified a MERLIN at Seal Rocks on 6/20, which appears to be our 
first June record.  Perhaps the same one was seen in the same area on 
8/19 (PPa), and one was also at D River on 8/25 (PP).

      A small hawk/falcon hunting at Tidewater in late July and late August 
was possibly a Merlin (BW), but Sharpies have been conspicuous this 
summer, too.

      1-2 PEREGRINE FALCONS visited Yaquina Head during four days in 
mid-June, on 7/7, and during four days in late July (BLM).  At the mouth 
of D River, PP saw a juvenile on 7/12 & 22; the 7/22 Peregrine was flying 
with a large rodent that looked like a rat.  On 8/5 at Seal Rock, RL 
writes: "I pulled over to look at the calm ocean and suddenly began seeing 
SURFBIRDS explode off of the rocks as a juvenile, female Peregrine buzzed 
the rocks.  She was not very good at pursuit, but the Surfbirds looked 
like ballistic missiles leaving the area!  From the rocks out in front of 
me, I estimated 800 Surfbirds took flight."
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99.69                           SHOREBIRDS

      Our "fall" arrivals this year seem late, which probably reflects 
observation effort more than truly late arrivals.  They include 
20 WESTERN SANDPIPERS at the mouth of Beaver Creek on 7/6 (DF), five 
on 7/7 (PP); nine SURFBIRDS at YBSJ on 7/8 (RL), a WILLET at Idaho Flats 
on 7/17 (GG et al.), three RUDDY TURNSTONES south of Seal Rocks on 7/22 
(RL), a MARBLED GODWIT at Idaho Flats on 7/22 (PP), 1-2 BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS 
along the beach south of Seal Rocks (DP) and at Siletz Bay (PP) on 8/17, 
and two molting adult AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS at north Lincoln City on 
8/25 (PP).
      We received more SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER reports than usual with an 
adult in breeding plumage at the mouth of Beaver Creek on 7/6 (DF), one at 
Idaho Flats on 7/7 (PP) and 7/17 (GG et al.), two south of Seal Rocks on 
8/5 (DP), and two juveniles at Idaho Flats on 8/18 and Sandpiper Village 
on 8/27 (PP).

      The 314 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS south of Seal Rocks on 8/5 (DP) was our 
high count.  A rare, possible REEVE (female Ruff) was near the HMSC Nature 
Trail on 8/29-30 (KA).  A SPOTTED SANDPIPER near Logsden in early June 
(BLl) was probably nesting.  The WILSON'S PHALAROPE in the grass between 
the HMSC Nature Trail and Idaho Flats on 6/12 (RR et al.) is unusual and 
also very late.
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99.70                          JAEGERS-GULLS

      An unidentified JAEGER was at Boiler Bay on 8/3, 19, and 26 (PP); 
YBSJ on 8/21 (TB & MR), and the mouth of Alsea Bay on 8/27 (PP).  
1-2 POMARINE JAEGERS graced  Boiler Bay on 8/22 & 27 (PP).

      1-3 GLAUCOUS GULLS at the mouth of D River in Lincoln City on 
6/1 & 3 (PP) were about a month late.  

      Gull arrivals include HEERMANN'S GULL at Boiler Bay on 7/7 (PP), a 
MEW GULL near the HMSC on 7/22 with 14 counted there on 8/18 (PP), an 
adult SABINE'S GULL at Rocky Creek SP (Whale Cove) on 8/15 and at Boiler 
Bay on 8/22 (PP), 1-2 HERRING GULLS near the HMSC on 8/18 (PP) and 8/21 
(AC & VA), and an immature FRANKLIN'S GULL at Boiler Bay on 8/22 (PP).
      300 CALIFORNIA GULLS at Idaho Flats on 7/22 (PP) were the vanguard of 
a typically large summer immigration; about 800 were at Yaquina Bay on 8/8 
(KM), and at least 600 were at Idaho Flats on 8/18 & 22 (KM; PP).  Many 
California Gulls were also seen flying north at Boiler Bay on 8/22 (PP).

      Five immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES at Seal Rocks on 6/3 (KM) were 
late, and one at Boiler Bay on 7/15 (PP) was early.

      The first adult CASPIAN TERN accompanied by flying young was 
discerned near Seal Rocks on 7/22 (RL); in other years, they have been 
noticed as early as 7/6.
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99.71                             ALCIDS

      At Boiler Bay, PP saw 1,000 or more COMMON MURRES on 7/15, 8/3, and 
8/4; 500+ on 8/15, and then murre numbers sharply declined during five 
observations in late August with only 80 counted on 8/29.  This decline in 
August has also been seen in previous years.

      Maybe ocean conditions were favorable for adult murre survival this 
year as a total of only 16 adults were found in June-July along 4.6 mi of 
beach near Thiel Creek (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  In contrast, 205 were tallied 
there in June-July 1996 (BLo).  However, 20 adults were found this August, 
which is the sixth highest year during 1978-1997 (BLo).

      The first murre chick left Yaquina Head colony on 6/27 (NH); a chick 
swims off with and is dependent upon its father. 173 emaciated murre 
chicks were found dead and beached between Seal Rock and Alsea Bay on 
8/17 (DP), and the August total near Thiel Creek was 347, most of which 
were found in mid-August (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  The Thiel Creek total is the 
fifth highest August during 1978-1997 (BLo).  Many were fairly large, 
suggesting that they may have been approaching independence, and this 
die-off occurred at about the time that live murre numbers were declining 
at Boiler Bay.  Maybe the die-off is related to the exodus--maybe not . . .

      The first HY PIGEON GUILLEMOTS graced Boiler Bay on 7/12 (PP).  The 
June-August total of seven dead adult PG's along beaches near Thiel Creek 
(B&SLo, S&DB, LO) is about normal.  At Boiler Bay, PP observed an influx 
of PG's in late August with counts of 100+ on 8/19 and 150+ on 8/29, but 
he only saw 15 on 8/31.  These counts seem unusually high for this time of 
year--such counts are to be expected in spring.

      PP observed a rare, possible XANTUS' MURRELET at Boiler Bay on 7/13.

      MARBLED MURRELETS were noted several times, with the first HY 
murrelet reported at Boiler Bay on 7/12 (PP).  High counts were 35 at 
Yachats on 6/20 (KM), 24 near Wandemere on 8/8 (WH, fide RC), and 26-45 at 
Boiler Bay on 8/15, 8/19, and 8/27 (PP).

      An ANCIENT MURRELET was found dead on the beach near Thiel Creek on 
both 7/12 & 7/31 (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  1-2 lives ones were at Boiler Bay on 
8/4 (DFi, fide HN), 8/15 (in breeding plumage)(PP), 8/21 (TB & MR), and 
8/27 (PP).

      PP's Boiler Bay observations are useful in elucidating RHINOCEROS 
AUKLET seasonality as he spotted 2-12 during three days in July and on 
8/3, 45-80 on 8/4 & 15, 370 on 8/19, 62-93 on 8/22 & 26, 500+ on 8/27, 
1060 on 8/29, and 60 on 8/31.  On 8/27, he also saw 90 near the mouth of 
Alsea Bay and 12 at Seal Rocks.

      CASSIN'S AUKLETS showed a similar seasonal increase at Boiler Bay, 
with PP finding 4-12 on 7/7, 7/12, 7/15, and 8/4, 120-130 on 8/15 & 8/19, 
but only six on 8/27.

      The only TUFTED PUFFIN reported at Yaquina Head was noted on 6/19 
(BLM).  Boiler Bay was a better site to see them as PP detected 1-5 on 
five days between 8/4 and 8/29.  A rare HORNED PUFFIN was reported 
"off Otter Rock" on 8/4 (DFi, fide HN).
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99.72                      PIGEONS-HUMMINGBIRDS

      As noted in the last newsletter, BAND-TAILED PIGEONS were abundant 
this spring at feeders.  At Wandemere, the majority did not leave until 
late June, though 2-4 birds were still present daily in mid-July (RC).  A 
ROCK DOVE at Thornton Creek on 6/27 is a first for that inland site (DF).

      1-3 MOURNING DOVES were at the HMSC on 6/8 (RB), Cutler City on 
6/24 (PP), town of Siletz on 7/14 (CP), Lincoln City on 7/22 (PP), and 
near Toledo on 8/18 & 25 (LO).  It is unclear which, if any, of these were 

      On 6/17, PL (US Forest Service) reported to SS that he had found a 
male SPOTTED OWL about a half mile from SS's Neskowin (Tillamook Co.) 
home; the owl had been banded seven years ago.  On 8/14, SS's neighbor 
found a large bird dead by HWY 101 that had a band.  SS reported the bird, 
and it turned out to be the same Spotted Owl that was discovered in June.

      The season's first COMMON NIGHTHAWK called over the HMSC at 1230 AM 
on 6/17 (RB); RC heard one later the same day at Wandemere.

      VAUX'S SWIFTS nested in CP's chimney in Toledo, with young fledging 
by 7/29.  They were still coming back to the chimney on 8/15, though they 
were quiet.

      At Neskowin on 6/10, SS wrote: "Three days ago an AMERICAN ROBIN hit 
a  west window, leaving a few small feathers.  Today, a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD 
snatched two feathers from the pane, probably for its nest."  Two young 
Rufous' fledged from a nest within a few feet of a HMSC entrance way on 
6/11 or 6/12 (RB).  An adult male Rufous at Thornton Creek on 7/1 is DF's 
first July record of a male at that inland site, and a male seven miles 
offshore of Depoe Bay during the 7/17 pelagic (GG, MH, & others) was a 
long ways from a feeder!
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99.73                          PURPLE MARTIN

      EH received some exciting news.  At one of his Yaquina Bay nest boxes 
this summer, he found a yearling female with a red colorband.  With a 
spotting scope, patience, and luck, he read enough of the numbers to 
determine that she had been banded as a nestling last year in British 
Columbia.   So, after she probably spent the winter in Brazil, she came 
here, and attempted nesting for at least a month this summer!  Like many 
yearlings, she was unsuccessful.  Will she come back next year?

      In the middle of Sallys Bend is a piling upon which an adult Bald 
Eagle regularly perches.  EH put several martin boxes on the side of the 
piling and during a recent inspection noted that there was some blood on 
the boxes (probably from an eagle kill), but that the martins nested! 
      On 8/31, EH saw that young still had not fledged at four martin boxes 
at the HMSC.  They're running out of time!
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99.74                        CROWS-BLACKBIRDS

      An AMERICAN CROW with white in its wings was at Toledo on 7/29 (CP).

      A WESTERN SCRUB-JAY was at Oregon Coast Aquarium on 6/10 (BLl).  On 
6/12, RC saw one that was probably a HY bird at her Wandemere home, so 
maybe they nested here this year.

      An unseasonal TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was at D River on 8/29 (PP).

      In early June, BLl spotted an AMERICAN DIPPER in the Siletz River 
near Logsden, and KM spotted two flying and calling at Keller Creek Picnic 
Area, east of Yachats, on 6/6--we receive few records of them, especially 
in summer.

      PPa saw what appeared to be a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD at Beaver Creek on 
6/6, and RR & others spotted a mockingbird at the YBSJ on 6/12.

      A very late AMERICAN PIPIT was near Idaho Flats on 6/6 (DF); the 
first pipits of fall were five just above the beach at Sandpiper Village 
on 8/17 (DP).

      At the HMSC, seven WESTERN TANAGERS on 7/17 and an adult male 
MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER on 8/18 (PP) are unusual for that site.

      Two rarities seen on 6/12 include a possible CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER 
singing at DF's Thornton Creek home and a singing NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at 
PP's Lincoln City home.

      The first HY SPOTTED TOWHEE visited JW's Waldport home on 6/13.

      Birds can adapt.  WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS are normally thought of as 
terrestrial birds, but one had a beak full of beachhoppers at Seal Rocks 
on 6/20 (DP).

      A VESPER SPARROW at Cutler City on 6/24 (PP) is uncommon.  A bright 
male LAPLAND LONGSPUR at the YBSJ on 6/3 (DC) was very late.

      Yearly variation--what a treat!  On 6/22, RC writes about 
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD activity at her Wandemere feeders: "What's different?  
By this time last year, we were overrun with a mob of dozens of adults and 
fledglings from the first nesting.  This year a single female dashes in 
for a hasty meal, and about two weeks ago there were a half dozen adult 
males that showed up for a couple of mornings.  Think they are still in 
the midst of nesting?  Or did the Beaver Creek population crash over the 
winter?" On 7/19, RC noted that a flock of 20 juveniles arrived in early 
July, but numbers were still way down from last year.  Other possibilities 
for the decline include that maybe there is more wild food available this 
year (so they are avoiding feeders), they are avoiding the resident 
Sharp-shinned Hawk, or the cold spring may have delayed nesting this year.  
There are lots of possibilities.  Sometimes we need to appreciate the 
mystery because a certain answer is beyond what we know.

      OBSERVERS.  Kent Aldrich, Vjera Arnold, Range Bayer, Trent Bray, 
Sara & Don Brown, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at Yaquina Head 
Outstanding Natural Area, Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, Dave Copeland, 
Darrel Faxon, David Fix (DFi), Greg Gillson, Nathalie Hamel, 
Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Karen Houston, Matt Hunter, Steve Kupillas, 
Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob (BLo) & Shirley (SLo) 
Loeffel, Pete Loschl, Roy Lowe, Kathy Merrifield, Harry Nehls, 
Laimons Osis, Pam Parker (PPa), Bill Peterson, Chuck Philo, 
Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin, Roger Robb, Mariah Rose, Shirley Schwartz, 
Jean Weakland, Bunny Wright.

99.75  BIRD FIELD NOTES from the September 1999 Sandpiper 20(7)

      Comments in this column about abundance or seasonality refer to 

      Abbreviations and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Criteser's 
Moorage=marina at about mile 10.2 along north Yaquina Bay Road, Driftwood 
Beach SP=park about halfway between Seal Rocks and Waldport, Eckman 
Lake=lake just east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC=Hatfield Marine Science 
Center, HY=hatch-year (bird hatched in 1999), Idaho Flats=large embayment 
just east of the HMSC, Ona Beach=State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina 
Bay bridge along HWY 101, Sandpiper Village=residential area west of HWY 
101 and just north of Waldport, Wandemere=about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach 
along HWY 101, YBSJ=Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
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99.76                         LOONS-GREBES

      During six September days (9/9, 10, 15, 23, 28, & 30) at Boiler Bay, 
PP conducted a 1.3-3 hr seawatch each morning.  He saw 280-500 
PACIFIC LOONS on 9/9, 28, & 30.  In contrast, he counted maxima of only 
40 COMMON LOONS and three RED-THROATED LOONS during these seawatches.  Two 
Commons were still in breeding plumage at the YBSJ on 9/26 (KM).

      CLARK'S GREBES are unusual, and the first of the fall were singletons 
with 9-34 WESTERN GREBES at Boiler Bay on 9/18 & 23 (PP). 

      A PIED-BILLED GREBE in the kelp at Boiler Bay on 9/28 (PP) would 
definitely be out of place in winter, but during fall migration they 
occasionally appear in saltwater.  A pair of adults with two HY birds at 
Eckman Lake on 9/6 suggests a family group (KM), but they are not known to 
nest there; their numbers increased to 12 at Eckman on 9/26 (KM).
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99.77                            TUBENOSES

      At Boiler Bay, PP saw SOOTY SHEARWATERS during each of his September 
seawatches.  But peak numbers were during 9/9-15, when he saw 600 or more; 
on 9/15, he counted at least 2,500 that were flying north at rates of 
20-40/minute until they thinned out to about 5/minute at about 8:45 AM.  
The only other tubenoses he saw during his seawatches were three 

      At Seal Rocks on 9/26, KM also saw a Pink-footed Shearwater.

      During the 9/18 Bird Guide pelagic trip out of Depoe Bay many 
tubenoses were found, including 51 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, 
291 Northern Fulmars, 68 Sooty, five Pink-footed, and two Buller's 
Shearwaters; and five Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels (MH, GG, et al.).  See the 
following address for all results and pelagic trip info: 
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99.78                         PELICANS-HERONS

      The big movement of BROWN PELICANS seemed to start in late September 
with flocks flying south the mornings of 9/27 & 28 at Wandemere (RC), and 
450 flying south during PP's 9/28 Boiler Bay seawatch.

      JL counted 26 GREAT EGRETS at the mouth of King Slough (Yaquina Bay) 
on 8/13; the high count for Yaquina Bay embayments was 36 on 9/11 (RB).  
These numbers are similar to other years.

      113-120 GREAT BLUE HERONS were censused at Yaquina Bay embayments 
from 7/16 to 8/29; their abundance declined to 99 on 9/11 and to 71 on 
9/25 (RB).  At about the time of this decline on 9/17, DP saw two GBH's 
flying south about 60 ft high over the beach at Driftwood Beach SP.  
Whether the flight is a manifestation of dispersal or partial migration is 
unclear; in some birds, part of the population can be migratory.

      Our only BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in several months flew over the 
USFWS Building at the HMSC after dark on 9/9 (RL).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.79                            WATERFOWL

      GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were on the move on 9/25; CP was awakened by 
a flock flying over his Toledo home at 2:30 AM, and he also saw several 
other waves of 80-100 at his home and the town of Siletz later that day.

      Arrivals include 11 GREATER SCAUP at Boiler Bay on 9/9 (PP), a 
month-early female-type plumaged BUFFLEHEAD at Eckman Lake on 9/11 (RL), 
four BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Eckman Lake on 9/20 (DF), and a GADWALL and three 
LESSER SCAUP at Boiler Bay on 9/30 (PP).  A possible hybrid 
BUFFLEHEAD X HOODED MERGANSER was noted at Eckman Lake on 9/19 (WH).

      PP spotted 1-8 COMMON MERGANSERS during his seawatches only on 
9/10 & 15.  His sightings are of interest because in winter they are only 
in freshwater, but during summer, rafts can be seen low in the estuaries.  
For example, KM saw 32 Commons in a tight flock at Idaho Flats on 9/26, 
and she carefully studied them to be sure that there were no 
Red-breasted Mergansers.  This is important because female and immature 
Common's in summer look very similar to female Red-breasteds and can only 
be told apart then by bill and head shape and nostril position (Kaufman 
1990 Am. Birds 44:1203-1205).  Red-breasteds should be arriving in a few 
weeks.  In winter, female Commons and Red-breasteds can be easily 
distinguished as shown in field guides.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.80                             SCOTERS

      SURF SCOTERS were flying south past Seal Rocks on 9/6 (KM).  About 
two miles south of Waldport on 9/13, DF saw two large, tight flocks of 
scoters about a quarter mile offshore; they totaled about 4,000 birds.
      The large rafts of Surf Scoters observed in early August near 
Wandemere began dispersing in early September and only a few remained on 
9/26 (RC).

      In contrast, at Boiler Bay, PP observed scoters during all of his 
September seawatches, but he did not see more than 600 until 9/28 & 30 
when he viewed at least 3,000-4,000 Surf Scoters, 150-250 
WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and, just on 9/30, three BLACK SCOTERS; the Surfs on 
9/28 were flying by in strings of 30-300 birds.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.81                          RAPTORS-COOTS

      A COOPER'S HAWK was at CP's Toledo home on 9/9, and a Coopers and a 
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK were near Criteser's Moorage on 9/13 (RO & PR).  Two 
Sharpies were at Newton Hill between Toledo and Siletz on 9/24 (CP).

      LO watched an OSPREY take 30 min to consume a large starry flounder 
on 9/1 near Criteser's Moorage.

      A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was interacting with a PEREGRINE FALCON over 
the south Siletz Bay mudflats on 9/4 (DF, PS, & BB).  Single Peregrines 
were also at Yaquina Head during three days in early and late August 
(BLM), at Ona Beach on 9/5 (JS), and at Boiler Bay on 9/10 (PP).

      On 9/1 at SL's Yachats home, she noted: "A MERLIN swept through our 
yard and sat suspiciously near our feeder for about 5 minutes."  A Merlin 
was also at Lincoln City on 9/28 and at Boiler Bay on 9/30 (PP).

      On 9/27, SS was surprised by a RUFFED GROUSE on her Neskowin 
(Tillamook Co.) porch.

      Our first fall AMERICAN COOTS were a flock of four at Eckman Lake on 
9/12 (RL).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.82                         SHOREBIRDS-SKUA

      DP discovered an unbanded HY SNOWY PLOVER at the creek mouth north of 
Driftwood SP on 9/9 & 17.  All known young in Oregon are banded, so the 
origin of this bird is a mystery (DP).  They are now rare in Lincoln 

      KM observed two adults and a HY BLACK OYSTERCATCHER digging their 
bills completely into the sand at Seal Rocks on 9/6 to get what appeared 
to be red polychaetes; the HY bird sometimes still successfully begged 
food from the adults that were presumably its parents.  A dozen 
oystercatchers at Seal Rocks during high tide on 9/12 (TF) is a large 
concentration this early--usually groups of 10 or more are not reported 
until November.

      The only LESSER YELLOWLEGS was with 10 GREATER YELLOWLEGS at south 
Eckman Lake on 9/6 (JS), and our only MARBLED GODWITS were four at Alsea 
Bay on 9/6 (KM).

      PECTORAL SANDPIPERS seem more widely distributed this year than 
normal.  1-2 were at Eckman Lake on 9/5 & 6 (JS), between Seal Rocks and 
Alsea Bay on 9/9 & 22 (DP), Ona Beach on 9/9 (PP), and Sandpiper Village 
on 9/13 (DF).

      A SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was at Sandpiper Village on 9/9 (PP) and 
9/13 (DF) and at Idaho Flats on 9/17 (PP).  Two BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS visited 
Sandpiper Village on 9/9 (PP) and 9/13 (DF), and six were between Seal 
Rocks and Alsea Bay on 9/17 (DP).

      Phalaropes were erratic during PP's Boiler Bay seawatches; he spotted 
1,000-2,000+ on 9/10 & 30, 350 on 9/15, and 0-2 on other days.  Almost all 
appeared to be RED-NECKED PHALAROPES with a maximum of 11 identified as 

      During his six 1.3-3 hr morning seawatches at Boiler Bay, PP only 
once saw a rare SOUTH POLAR SKUA (9/30); in contrast, he saw 
1-5 PARASITIC JAEGERS during four seawatches, and 2-4 POMARINE JAEGERS 
during the 9/10 & 30 seawatches.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *


      9/29 was a day for a massive flight of insects at the South Beach 
Peninsula.  At 10-11 AM over Oregon Coast Aquarium, BLl and RC 
independently saw a multitude of small black ants that were about a half 
inch long swarming in the skies; at least a hundred gulls were feeding on 
them.  Over the HMSC in the morning, RO also saw a "cloud" of what 
appeared to be much larger, flying termites; many gulls were also feeding 
on them.  These mating flights of insects  attract gulls (and sometimes 
European Starlings) and seem to be a regular feature near the coast on 
warm, windless days in late September and October after most aerial 
insect-feeding birds have emigrated.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.84                          GULLS-ALCIDS

      The only SABINE'S GULL sighting was of eight adults during the 9/18 
pelagic from Depoe Bay (MH, GG, et al.).

      A rare, possible BLACK TERN was reported on 9/2 north of Toledo at 
Olalla Lake (fide DF).  During his six Boiler Bay seawatches, PP only saw 
COMMON TERNS twice (5-11 on 9/9 & 10) and ARCTIC TERNS once (11 on 9/9).  
An immature Arctic was also found near the HMSC on 9/17 & 18, and six 
Commons were flying south of the Yaquina Bay LNG Tank on 9/23 (PP).  A 
HY CASPIAN TERN was lying on the sand at Idaho Flats with its chin on the 
sand and its eye closed on 9/6--an adult was standing guard (KM); our 
latest report was of seven at Boiler Bay on 9/17 (PP).

      Each day of his September seawatches, PP spotted at least 
9-16 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.  Peak guillemot (18) and Rhino (52) counts were 
on 9/15, but peak counts for murres (250) and Marbled Murrelets (86) were 
on 9/30.  The only other alcids that PP saw were two ANCIENT MURRELETS on 
9/9 & 28.  

      On 9/6 at the YBSJ, the last adult/chick murre pair was reported, and 
two Pigeon Guillemots were still in breeding plumage (KM).  
12-21 Marbled Murrelets were also at Seal Rocks on 9/6 & 26 (KM).

      Although no CASSIN'S AUKLETS were seen from shore, eight were counted 
during the 9/18 pelagic trip from Depoe Bay (MH, GG, et al.).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.85               BIRDS, WINDOWS, & HAWK SILHOUETTES

      On 8/31 near the town of Siletz, a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER flew into 
DS' window inches below a hawk silhouette purchased from the HMSC 
Bookstore.  On 9/30, RB also saw a dead sparrow below windows with such 
falcon/hawk silhouettes near the HMSC Library; he has also occasionally 
seen other dead sparrows and warblers there.  

      Unfortunately, one can conclude that the silhouettes do not prevent 
100% of window fatalities, but hopefully they prevent at least some.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.86                         DOVES-SWALLOWS

      On 8/18 & 23, LO saw 1-3 MOURNING DOVES near Criteser's Moorage.

      At J&JG's Yachats home, the last RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was seen on 9/13, 
and the next day, the first ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD appeared.  Such a change is 
the norm for their home, but not necessarily elsewhere, where both species 
sometimes coexist.

      The first RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER of fall arrived near BW's Tidewater 
home on 9/29.

      The Millennium's last PURPLE MARTIN departed the HMSC on 9/14 (EH).

      In a logged-over area northeast of Wandemere on 8/31, BLo saw about 
15 young swallows, possibly TREE SWALLOWS, flying around the brush and 
short trees like butterflies. On 9/12, the last BARN SWALLOWS were 
reported at Wandemere (RC) and Lincoln City (PP), and PP noted about a 
thousand swallows flying over Lincoln City--most appeared to be 
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.87                              CROWS

      On 9/1, SH saw a crow with mostly white wings about two miles east of 

      RC reports a sequel to her April 5 observation (see the May 
Sandpiper) of an AMERICAN CROW that soaked its crackers in parking-lot 
puddles at the Oregon Coast Aquarium to soften them before eating them.  
On 9/26, she writes: "In the last couple of months I have noticed a crow 
flying into the sea otter exhibit and alighting on the beach briefly.  I 
can't remember seeing a crow go there until recently, but I didn't pay 
attention to what it was doing except to notice that it didn't seem to be 
cadging scraps from the otters. (Unlike the Western Gulls who hang around 
at mealtimes.)  Then a couple of weeks ago, I was interpreting at the 
otter exhibit when a crow flew in carrying something in its beak that 
looked like bread.  It lit on the beach where there is a trickle of fresh 
water over the rocks and proceeded to dabble its prize in the water for a 
moment before consuming it.  The crow has figured out to soak dry food to 
make it easier to eat, and now when puddles aren't everywhere it 
regularly carries food to the only shallow fresh-water puddle at the 
entire Aquarium grounds.  How's that for adaptive behavior?"
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.88                        BUSHTIT-SPARROWS

      A flock of 20 BUSHTITS graced the HMSC Nature Trail on 9/23 (RO).

      BROWN CREEPERS are often overlooked, and our only recent report was 
of one roosting on a skylight of SS's Neskowin home at 6:20 AM on 8/19.

      On 9/13, DS notes that WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were absent this year from 
a Siletz area where they were plentiful four years ago.  She observes 
that vegetation has grown up there; perhaps that site is no longer 
suitable for them.

      Warbler migration in fall is generally not noted, but on 9/2, PP 
Cutler City (Lincoln City).  On 9/9 at D River, he saw another warbler 
assemblage with eight WILSON'S WARBLERS, one YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, and 
six Yellow, four Orange-crowned, four Black-throated Gray, and two 
Townsend's Warblers.  On 9/17, he found 12 Wilson's and three 
Orange-crowned Warblers at the HMSC.

      Arrivals include a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW at Lincoln City on 9/9 
(PP), two LINCOLN'S SPARROWS at the HMSC on 9/18 (PP), and a FOX SPARROW 
on 9/18 near Burnt Woods (DB) and near the HMSC (PP).  Two 
SAVANNAH SPARROWS appeared to fly in from the ocean at Boiler Bay on 9/30 
(PP); some have also been noticed by the beach in previous Septembers.

      OBSERVERS.  Range Bayer, Barb Bellin, Don Boucher, Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Rebecca Cheek, 
Darrel Faxon, Terry Fullington, Jim  & Janice Gerdemann, Greg Gillson, 
Scott Haines, Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Matt Hunter, Janet Lamberson, 
Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear, Bob Loeffel (BLo), Roy Lowe, 
Kathy Merrifield, Robert Olson, Laimons Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, 
Dave Pitkin, Paul Reed, Shirley Schwartz, Dorothy Scott, Jamie Simmons, 
Paul Sullivan, and Bunny Wright.

99.89    BIRD FIELD NOTES from the October 1999 Sandpiper 20(8)

      Comments in this column about abundance or seasonality refer to 

      Abbreviations and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Bayview 
Pasture=field east of junction of Beaver Creek Road and North Alsea Bay 
Road, Beaver Creek=creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Boone 
Slough=freshwater slough at about mile 8.9 along north Yaquina Bay Road, 
Eckman Lake=lake just east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC=Hatfield Marine 
Science Center, HY=hatch-year (bird that hatched in 1999), Idaho 
Flats=large embayment just east of the HMSC, Ona Beach=State Park about 
6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101, Sallys Bend=large 
embayment east of the LNG tank at Yaquina Bay, Thiel Creek=creek about 
3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, Thornton Creek=creek between Toledo 
and Eddyville, Wandemere=about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach along HWY 101, 
YBSJ=Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.90                       THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

      RW writes: "One wonders if it's true that if we study birds we will 
know ourselves better."
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.91                          LOONS-GREBES

      Throughout October at Boiler Bay, PP had 12 days of morning 
seawatches that averaged 2.1 hours (range 0.8-3.0 hours).  As in 
September, he often saw hundreds of PACIFIC LOONS flying south, but they 
increased to thousands starting on 10/26, with a peak count of at least 
15,000 on 10/29 (a day after a storm), when 300+ were flying by per minute 
at times.

      Small numbers of RED-THROATED LOONS were regularly seen in early 
October at Boiler Bay, but more than 20 were not recorded until the last 
few days of October, with a peak count of at least 800 on 10/31 (PP).

      Our first fall EARED GREBE was at Yaquina Bay on 10/10 (BN).  Perhaps 
our largest ever count of CLARK'S GREBES was three spotted by JH from the 
western tip of the YBSJ on 10/2.

      PIED-BILLED GREBES are generally only in freshwater, but during fall 
migration, some will often appear in the estuary as were two at Sallys 
Bend on 10/3 (KM).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.92                            TUBENOSES

      13 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were found during the 10/2 pelagic trip 
out of Depoe Bay, and 60 Black-foots and one LAYSAN ALBATROSS graced the 
10/23 pelagic from Newport (MH & GG).  See the following address for all 
results and pelagic trip info:

      A NORTHERN FULMAR was found dead in September along 4.6 mi of beach 
near Thiel Creek (B&SLo, S&DB, LO); this is about normal for beach counts 
there since 1977 (BLo).  At Boiler Bay, fulmars were only seen in October 
on 10/10 and 10/28-31, with a peak count of about 300, most of which were 
of the grayish intermediate form (PP).  During the pelagic trips, 238-412 
fulmars were noted (MH & GG).

      The shearwater causing the most excitement was a rare 
WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER detected during the 10/2 pelagic (MH & GG).

      Five dead, beached SOOTY SHEARWATERS were counted in September along 
4.6 mi of beach near Thiel Creek (B&SLo, S&DB, LO); this is about normal 
for September (BLo).  In October, Sooties flew daily past Boiler Bay with 
peak counts of 1,000+ (10/14) and 800+ (10/28) (PP); far fewer (37-198) 
were counted during the pelagics (MH & GG), so Sooties may have been more 
abundant close to shore.

      1-5 SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS were noted at Boiler Bay on 10/28 & 31 
(PP) and during the 10/2 & 23 pelagic trips (MH & GG). 1-5 
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS were noted at Boiler Bay on 10/2 (NP) and on 10/7, 
14, & 28 (PP), and 2-12 were also seen during the two pelagic trips (MH & 

      In contrast to shearwaters other than Sooties that were about as 
abundant from shore as recorded offshore, 59 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS were 
counted during the 10/2 pelagic (MH & GG), but onshore, JH spotted only 
one flying north past the tip of the YBSJ on 10/2, and 1-6 Buller's passed 
Boiler Bay only on 10/28 & 31 (PP).

      There were only two FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS reports: 17 were 
enumerated during the 10/2 pelagic (MH & GG), and 67 flew south at Boiler 
Bay on 10/31 (PP).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.93                        CORMORANTS-GEESE

      Some DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS migrate south in fall and can easily 
be mistaken for geese because they both fly in lines or "V's."  In 
October, three flocks of 10-200 were spotted flying south past Newport on 
10/3, 14, & 15 (RB).  On 10/28, RC spotted another "V" of 30 cormorants 
flying south past Wandemere that were probably Double-crests, and, on 
10/31 at Boiler Bay, PP counted at least 400 Double-crests flying south in 
several large flocks.

      On 10/1, PW saw a GREAT BLUE HERON flying in circles and croaking 
above a flying RED-TAILED HAWK near Tidewater.  "The heron finally flew 
downriver, and the hawk landed in a tree watching it--very strange" (fide 
BW).  In cases like this, it is unclear if the heron is harassing the hawk 
or vice versa.

      BLACK BRANT often arrive at Yaquina Bay as early as 10/22, so RL & DP 
were checking there daily for Brant without any luck.  However, the 
morning of 10/28 after the first storm of the season, PP spotted 
1,200+ Brant flying past Boiler Bay.  The next morning (10/29) at sunrise, 
RL found four adult and three HY Brant at Yaquina Bay.  The other 
1,193+ Brant were probably heading for wintering sites in California or 
Mexico because few regularly winter in Oregon south of Yaquina Bay.

      RL spotted four flocks of migrating, small CANADA GEESE between South 
Beach and Waldport on 10/13; RL's speedometer indicated that one flock was 
flying south above HWY 101 at 52 mph!  110 geese were at the Salishan Spit 
Lagoon on 10/24 (GC); it will be interesting to see how many will remain 
this winter.  Prior to the introduction of Western Canada Geese, it was 
rare to see wild geese on the ground, but now it has become more common.  
At Bayview Pasture, three GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE joined six Westerns on 
10/26 (RL).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.94                       KING EIDER-SCOTERS

      LO spotted a mystery duck at Seal Rocks on 10/9 that looked somewhat 
like a rare, female KING EIDER.  Local birders were alerted, and it was 
confirmed as a King Eider the next day by WH, PP, and others.  Many people 
have since seen it, and it was last reported on 10/24 (JC).  It is hanging 
out close to the pullouts, especially the middle one.  At Boiler Bay on 
10/14, PP spotted a probable female King Eider flying south with about a 
hundred scoters. 

      The eight HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Seal Rocks on 10/3 was our high count 

      Arriving ducks include: OLDSQUAW at Boiler Bay on 10/7 (PP), RUDDY 
DUCK at Devils Lake on 10/16 (TR, MC et al.), and COMMON GOLDENEYE at 
Boiler Bay on 10/29 (PP).

      Continuing the scoter migration reported last month, PP counted 
1,000-6,000+ SURF SCOTERS flying south past Boiler Bay during eight of his 
12 October seawatches; on 10/11, one flock had 600 Surfs.  He also often 
viewed generally less than 200 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 45 or fewer 
BLACK SCOTERS.  On 10/5 & 7, some of the White-wings were flying the 
wrong-way (north)(PP).  The southerly scoter flight was also viewable at 
Yachats, where KM saw 1,700 during 13 min on 10/3, and 1,050 during 28 min 
on 10/17; on both days, 95% were estimated to be Surfs and 5% White-wings, 
and observations were at about 2 PM, so they were not only migrating in 
the morning.  The scoter migration appears to be mostly close to shore as 
only about 100-400 were enumerated during the 10/2 & 23 pelagics (MH & 
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.95                        NORTHERN HARRIER
      Some of the most exciting bird reports this month were for Northern 
Harriers.  Like for many common species, there is a lot we don't know 
about them.  We know that they are most common in winter, that most near 
Logsden are adult males (BLl), that most near the coast are immatures or 
females, and that a few may nest in some years along the coast.  But, to 
my knowledge, we haven't known where most come from and go.  This month we 
have learned more.

      On 10/9, LO saw a brownish harrier with a blue patagial tag on its 
right wing at Beaver Creek; he did not see if the tag had a number or 
letter on it.

      On 10/17, two brown harriers were seen flying south 12 minutes apart 
shortly after 8 AM about a quarter to a half mile offshore of SW Newport 
(RB).  They are rare there, were flying about 100-200 ft above the water, 
and were probably migrating.

      Also on 10/17, AC, LB, HH, and NP saw a female harrier at about mile 
9.3 along North Yaquina Bay Road at Nute Slough, with a blue tag on its 
right wing; the tag had a "1" on it.  

      AC checked around and found that this female had been banded by Jack 
Bettesworth (, 206-285-5276) near Seattle on 2 June 1999, 
when it had five nestlings (fide RL).  Yellow tags were used in 1998.  

      Jack reports that these two sightings that may be of the same bird 
are the most southerly reports of harriers from their banding project, so 
finding harriers from Puget Sound here may not be typical.  He is very 
interested in all sightings and resightings.  

      Keep your eyes open--it would be great if we can see some more tagged 
harriers!  If you do, please report the color of the tag, which wing it is 
on, the letter or number on the tag as well as the date and location.  We 
have a chance to learn more, but it is up to us to try.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.96                          OTHER RAPTORS

      Wow, it has been months without any WHITE-TAILED KITES!  But this 
month, reports include two west of Toledo on 10/2 (JH), two near Idaho 
Flats on 10/10 (BN), and one at the HMSC on 10/18 (TW).

      Our latest TURKEY VULTURE was at along North Yaquina Bay Road on 
10/16 (TR, MC et al.).

      A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK visited Yaquina Head on 9/1 (BLM), Devils Lake 
on 10/21 (BBu), and the HMSC on 10/10 (RL) and 10/16 (TR, MC et al.).  
RC glimpsed a possible COOPER'S HAWK at Wandemere on 10/21.

      A PEREGRINE FALCON scattered some roosting gulls and swooped down on 
a shorebird at the Nye Beach Turnaround in Newport on 10/5 (RO), and 
another toted a Green-winged Teal over the HMSC on 10/21 (RL).  Peregrines 
have become fairly regular along the coast, but they are still pretty rare 
inland, so one along the Yaquina River by the mouth of Mill Creek, east of 
Toledo on 10/23 (SK) is of interest.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.97                     BLUE GROUSE-SHOREBIRDS

      On 10/23, CP voyaged up to Lost Prairie in NE Lincoln County and 
spotted two BLUE GROUSE, which are rarely reported.  Alpine-like 
conditions exist above about 2,500 ft in that area, and it may not be 
possible to travel back there until spring.

      On 10/16, PPa heard some TURKEYS at Makai/Ona Beach, but it is 
unclear if they are some of those released by the ODFW in Willamette 
Valley or local escapees.

      10 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS crowding together on a rock at Quail Street 
at south Seal Rocks on 10/4 (DP) is our high count and may also be a sign 
of immigration.

      Three KILLDEER foraging on a beach south of Seal Rocks with other 
shorebirds on 10/4 is uncommon behavior for them (DP).

      DG regularly walks the Lost Creek beach north of Ona Beach and first 
noticed large flocks of SANDERLINGS this fall on 10/17.  GC's four 
WHIMBRELS at the Salishan Spit Lagoon on 10/24 is the most reported this 

      On 10/25 at D River, PP reports: "A ROCK SANDPIPER was with 30 
Black Turnstones walking around on the dredged sand and pebble piles 
underneath the balcony of Kyllo's Restaurant.  The group later flew up and 
landed with the gulls on the roof of the Sea Gypsy Motel--bizarre to see.  
The weather was just turning nasty at the time, which might have had 
something to do with it.  I suspect that the turnstones may regularly use 
this flat rooftop as a roosting spot."  A few years ago, I also received 
reports of turnstones and, I believe, Surfbirds regularly on a Lincoln 
City motel roof.

      A COMMON SNIPE at D River on 10/25 (PP) was our only report of this 
species that appears to have become less common than it once was.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *


      Continuing the 9/29 report of flying gulls feeding on flying insects 
in the last Sandpiper, a flock of 80 CALIFORNIA GULLS were doing so over 
the YBSJ on 10/3 when it was 67 F with a 1-3 mph wind from the northeast 
(KM).  Also on 10/3, another 40 Californias were hawking insects over the 
cliff at Seal Rocks (KM).  BONAPARTE'S GULLS and RING-BILLED GULLS were 
feeding on insects over the HMSC on 10/10 (BN), gulls were also catching 
flying ants or termites on 10/12 at Eckman Lake, Alsea Bay, Ona Beach, 
South Beach, and HMSC (RL); and 80, mostly adult Californias were doing so 
over Yaquina Bay on 10/17 (KM).  

      This is an annual feature on windless days in late September and 
October along the coast when mating swarms of insects take to the skies, 
and gulls and starlings partake.  These flights are more noticeable on 
warm days--perhaps because were are more apt to be outside then--but KM's 
observation of it occurring at 67 F indicates that it does not have to be 
very warm.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.99                          JAEGERS-GULLS

      A dead PARASITIC JAEGER found in mid-September near Thiel Creek is a 
surprising beached bird (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  At Boiler Bay, up to five 
POMARINE JAEGERS and as many as three Parasitics were spotted during eight 
and three days, respectively, in October (PP).  Offshore, 2-7 Pomarines 
were enumerated during the 10/2 & 23 pelagics (MH & GG).

      PP spotted the first THAYER'S GULL at D River on 10/8 and the last 
1-2 SABINE'S GULLS at Boiler Bay on 10/26 & 28.  

      There was a strong southerly migration of gulls south in mid- and 
late October.  On 10/15, about 250 HEERMANN'S GULLS and 800 CALIFORNIA 
GULLS were flying south past Boiler Bay (PP).  Bonaparte's Gulls were 
regularly seen at Boiler Bay, but they greatly increased in abundance 
during the last few days of the month, when over a thousand were recorded 
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.100                       ALCIDS-BARRED OWL

      The four adult and 34 HY COMMON MURRES washed ashore dead near Thiel 
Creek in September (B&SLo, S&DB, LO) is about normal.  25-200 murres, 
were regularly seen throughout October at Boiler Bay (PP).  Usually 46 or 
fewer Rhinos were noted at Boiler Bay, but there were 130 on 10/28  (PP).  
At Seal Rocks on 10/3, KM spotted 37 Marbled Murrelets and six Pigeon 

      At Boiler Bay during October, PP only saw 1-2 CASSIN'S AUKLETS on 
10/26 & 31, but they were much more abundant (33-68) offshore during the 
10/2 & 23 pelagic trips, when their total abundance was greater than for 
any other alcid (MH & GG).

      A TUFTED PUFFIN at Yaquina Head on 9/1 (BLM) is only the second one 
reported there all year.

      The latest BAND-TAILED PIGEON visited Wandemere on 10/11 (RC), and a 
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL was discerned at Olalla Reservoir north of Toledo on 
10/13 (CP).

      At dusk on 10/21, DF heard what may have been a rare BARRED OWL at 
Thornton Creek.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.101                 YELLOW-SHAFTED FLICKER-SHRIKE

      A NORTHERN FLICKER with yellow-shafts was at the HMSC on 10/14 (PP) 
and 10/24 (JC) and at Wandemere on 10/31 (RC); they often arrive the first 
week of October.

      An AMERICAN CROW "parliament" of 200 was in session at Sallys Bend on 
10/16 (TR, MC et al.).

      There were several lowland AMERICAN PIPIT reports, but the one at 
Rocky Point, south of Lost Prairie, on 10/23 (CP) is of special interest 
because we have so few observations above 2,000 ft.

      AMERICAN ROBINS were flocking and feeding in SS's mountain ash near 
Neskowin (Tillamook Co.) on 10/2, and the first VARIED THRUSHES of the 
fall arrived at lower Beaver Creek on 10/23 (LO).

      Flying EUROPEAN STARLINGS sometimes feed on the September-October 
flying swarms of insects.  30-50 were doing this over the YBSJ on 10/3 
(KM), and 100-150 were feeding on flying ants or termites above the 
hospital in Newport on 10/12 (RL).  Starlings look cumbersome trying to 
catch flying insects, but if they are very numerous, starlings can 
evidently catch enough to make it worth their while.

      The fall's first NORTHERN SHRIKE was observed on Table Mountain, NE 
of Waldport, on 10/9 (RL).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.102                    PALM WARBLER-MEADOWLARK

      Two actively feeding PALM WARBLERS, our first of the fall, were near 
the junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads on 10/3 (B&JB); another 
was at the HMSC (where most are usually reported) on 10/9 (PP).  
TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS were seen in a variety of places, including at D&BM's 
home south of Waldport on 10/12, where they are uncommon.  The COMMON 
YELLOWTHROAT at D River on 10/25 (PP) is very late. 

      On 10/19, PP detected what first appeared to be a Clay-colored 
Sparrow at the D River in Lincoln City.  Thanks to his photographs and his 
posting them on the Internet, others were also able to study it and 
conclude that it was a BREWER'S SPARROW, Lincoln County's first record.  
Bird identification is a learning experience for all of us--it is often 
not simply a matter of matching pictures in field guides with what we see 
out in the field.

      LAPLAND LONGSPURS are missed many falls, but three were near YBSJ 
puddles along the roadway where the gulls rest on 10/17 (AC, LB, HH, and 
NP).  JC saw an adult male there on 10/24 (JC) and writes: "It tends to 
hunker down in the rocky low grass areas and walks around rather than fly 
so don't give up early [on trying to find it].  It seems quite tame."

      Sparrow fall arrivals include a SWAMP SPARROW at D River on 10/11 
(PP) and a tan-striped WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Wandemere on 10/23 (RC).

      200+ RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS foraged on RC's Wandemere feeder on 
10/4--their numbers should diminish.

      The first fall WESTERN MEADOWLARKS arrived at Florence (Lane Co.) on 
10/1 (RW), and in Lincoln County at Wandemere on 10/9 (RC).

      OBSERVERS.  Range Bayer, Barb & Jerry Bellin, Luke Bloch, 
Sara & Don Brown, Bob Budz (BBu), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at 
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Gert Carey, Jim Carlson, 
Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, Marcia Cutler, Darrel Faxon, Dave Gilbert, 
Greg Gillson, Jill Grover, Jeff Harding, Hendrik Herlyn, Wayne Hoffman, 
Matt Hunter, Steve Kupillas, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Bob & Shirley (SLo) 
Loeffel, Roy Lowe, Kathy Merrifield, Dawson & Bobby Mohler, 
Bruce Newhouse, Robert Olson, Laimons Osis, Pam Parker (PPa), Chuck Philo, 
Phil Pickering, Nathan Pieplow, Dave Pitkin, Ted Regier, Shirley Schwartz, 
Tom Wainwright, Ruth Warren, Pat & Bunny Wright.

99.103   BIRD FIELD NOTES from the November 1999 Sandpiper 20(9)

      Comments in this column about abundance or seasonality refer to 

      Abbreviations and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Bayview 
Pasture=field east of junction of Beaver Creek Road and North Alsea Bay 
Road, Beaver Creek=creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Eckman 
Lake=lake just east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC=Hatfield Marine Science 
Center, Idaho Flats=large embayment just east of the HMSC, Ona Beach=State 
Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101, Sallys 
Bend=large embayment east of the LNG tank at Yaquina Bay, Thiel 
Creek=creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, Wandemere=about 
0.5 mi north of Ona Beach along HWY 101, YBSJ=Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.104                        LOONS-TUBENOSES

      There was severe flooding during Thanksgiving, and JS described Alsea 
Bay on 11/26 as "churning and a burnt orange color due to much erosion 
upstream."  What effect this had on birds is unknown, but it dampened the 
enthusiasm of birders.

      During November at Boiler Bay, PP had 12 days of morning seawatches 
(except one that extended to 12:40) that ranged from 1.0 to 3.3 hr.  The 
number of loons he saw was quite variable with only 33 on 11/28 to 
9,000+ PACIFIC LOONS on 11/13.  RED-THROATED LOONS were the second most 
abundant loon, though on 11/17, they (2,000+) outnumbered Pacifics 
(1,500+).  On 11/26, PP noted that the loon migration had shifted farther 
out than previously this fall, with many flocks two miles or more 
      Near dusk, COMMON LOONS raft in winter just west of the Yaquina Bay 
Bridge, where JS counted 40 on 11/26 at 5:15 PM.  The raft seems ideal for 
searching for a YELLOW-BILLED LOON--one of which was seen in flight at 
Boiler Bay on 11/17 (PP).

      Eckman Lake had several species that were out of place for it, 
including a Pacific Loon on 11/29 (DF), an EARED GREBE on 10/31 (KM), and 
a HORNED GREBE on 11/26 (JS).  A CLARK'S GREBE was in the channel near the 
HMSC on 11/28 (PP), and four PIED-BILLED GREBES lingered at Sallys Bend on 
11/14 (KM).

      Along 4.6 mi of beach near Thiel Creek, there were two dead 
NORTHERN FULMARS beached in October and four in November--these numbers 
are slightly less than usual (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  In early November, PP saw 
28-100+ fulmars at Boiler Bay, but four or less after 11/11.

      As many as 50 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were noted during Boiler Bay 
seawatches through 11/13, but none thereafter (PP).  A rare 
MANX SHEARWATER was reported there on 11/9, as was a late 
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.105                        PELICANS-GEESE

      On 11/13, RC & WN counted 60 BROWN PELICANS flying south during 
15 min at 8:45 AM past Wandemere.  Our last southerly migrating 
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were in a flock of about 300 on 10/31 off 
Yachats (KM).

      On 11/14, two GREAT EGRETS were at Beaver Creek (LO), and one was 
also at Bayview Pasture (RC & WN); three were at the north end of Bayview 
Pasture on 11/26 (JS).  Our only CATTLE EGRET this fall was chased by a 
horse in a small corral at the Lincoln County fairgrounds (Newport) on 
11/28 (RL).  Our latest GREEN HERON was at Eckman Lake on 11/14 (RC & WN).

      Our first TUNDRA SWAN flew over the Waves Motel in Newport on 11/2 
(DPe).  On 11/20, four immature SNOW GEESE flew along with four CANADA 
GEESE over the HMSC Flagpole as the YB&N field trip was getting ready to 
go (CP & others).  Three small Canadas were with Western Canada Geese at 
Bayview Pasture on 11/14 (RC & WN), and 72 Westerns, including one with a 
neck collar, briefly visited Sallys Bend on 11/14 (KM).

      On 11/23, there were 124 BLACK BRANT at Yaquina Bay and only 80 at 
Tillamook and nine at Netarts Bays, but they seem to arrive at Netarts 
later than at the Yaquina (DPi).  Brant have only regularly wintered in 
Oregon at these three bays, but these numbers are very low.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.106                             DUCKS

      Arrivals include a male REDHEAD at Sallys Bend on 10/31 (KM) and a 
CANVASBACK at Idaho Flats on 11/1 (DPi).  Our latest date for WOOD DUCK 
was 11/14 at Beaver Creek (LO), although there are some sites where they 
hang around in winter large numbers for cracked corn.

      High counts include 10 HARLEQUIN DUCKS at the YBSJ during the 11/20 
YB&N field trip (CP & others), and 120 RING-NECKED DUCKS at Eckman Lake on 
10/31 (KM).  BUFFLEHEADS are one of our more ubiquitous ducks, and two 
females were at Tidewater on 11/6 (BW). 1-2 OLDSQUAWS were noted at 
Yaquina Bay on 11/20 (RK) and 11/28 (PP).

      On 11/14 at Yachats, AC & LB estimated 4,000+ scoters, almost all of 
which seemed to be SURF SCOTERS.  At Boiler Bay, PP usually saw about five 
BLACK SCOTERS (maximum of 15), wildly varying numbers of SURF SCOTER with 
a peak count of 3,000+ on 11/13, and less than 150 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 
except for 11/17, when 700+ were noted.  PP recorded White-wings as mostly 
flying northward on 11/3, 17 & 23, but most were flying south on 11/26.

      There have been no reports of the female King Eider at Seal Rocks 
since 10/24, but it is unclear if anyone has looked for her.

      On 11/14, PD viewed a female HOODED MERGANSER swimming in the Yaquina 
River at Toledo; when a white cat started slinking along the shore, the 
curious merganser "made a beeline for the cat and swam along as the cat 
moved on the bank--always a safe distance away."  This inquisitiveness can 
work to their demise--CP notes that Nova Scotian Tolling (lure) dogs were 
bred and trained to cavort at the water's edge to attract ducks within the 
range of hunters.

      On 11/14, KM noted about 15 female or immature 
RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS at Yaquina Bay but no males; similarly, PP had 
spotted females/immatures but no obvious males at Boiler Bay by 11/30.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.107                         RAPTORS-RAIL

      A male NORTHERN HARRIER visited the HMSC on 11/3 (SK)--females or 
immatures are more prevalent there.  There were no reports of any with 
wing tags this month.

      BALD EAGLES were often seen--the best show was put on by one that PP 
saw at Boiler Bay on 11/17, he writes: "An adult Bald Eagle spent about 
10 minutes trying to catch birds on the water directly in front of me 
(100-200 yards away).  It would cruise slowly about 60-80 feet above the 
ocean till it was directly over a bird, then drop quickly (not much of a 
swoop, just kind of dropped) with talons extended.  It dropped toward 
Western Grebes several times, but they always seemed to see it coming, 
and managed to dive in time.  It twice attempted this with a Red-throated 
Loon--the second time it managed to grab the loon by the rear-end before 
it could dive, then lifted the entire bird about 5 feet off the water 
before losing its grip.  The loon dove immediately when it landed.  This 
was the only bird the eagle managed to touch while I was watching it, but 
still an awesome show!"

      A PEREGRINE FALCON flew over the HMSC on 11/3 with a scoter in its 
talons (SK).  We had several other Peregrine reports, but the most were at 
Yaquina Head where 1-2 were found during eight days in November (BLM).  
Our only AMERICAN KESTREL reports were for Yaquina Head where one was 
viewed seven days in November (BLM); one has also been there in past 

      A VIRGINIA RAIL whinnying at Beaver Creek on 11/14 (LO) was our only 
rail--no Soras.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.108                   SHOREBIRDS-GLAUCOUS GULL

      Our largest concentration of BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS was eight at Boiler 
Bay on 11/20, with two in one flock, six in another (RK & others).  
GREATER YELLOWLEGS winter in freshwater locations, such as north Bayview 
Pasture, where JS counted six on 11/26.

      A rare AMERICAN AVOCET visited the SE corner of Siletz Bay on 11/23 
(PP), and a RED KNOT, uncommon in winter, joined DUNLIN and 
LEAST SANDPIPERS at the water puddle along the YBSJ where gulls usually 
roost on 11/25 (CP).  A WHIMBREL was out on the rocks at the YBSJ on 11/3 
(CK) and 11/20 (RK); they used to winter in small numbers at Yaquina Bay.  
The only WILLET was at Siletz Bay on 11/2 (DPe).

      LO counted at least 51 COMMON SNIPE at Beaver Creek on 11/14, and JS 
counted 12 along south Beaver Creek on 11/26.  It is good to receive such 
high counts! 

      Our latest RED PHALAROPES were three flying near the YBSJ on 11/20 

      At Boiler Bay, PP found a POMARINE JAEGER on 11/1 & 17 and an unknown 
jaeger on 11/11 & 26.  The first GLAUCOUS GULL of fall was at D River on 
11/3 (PP).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.109                     GULLS HAWKING INSECTS

      On 11/14, a kettle of gulls was feeding on flying ants swarming over 
Eckman Lake (RL), and RC & WN noted that it was calm and warm that morning 
when they also saw small numbers of gulls hawking flying insects over Seal 
Rocks and the Alsea Bay Interpretative Center.  At 1232, KM noted that it 
was 68 F with a 4-7 mph NNW wind at YBSJ, where at 1208-1255, she saw up 
to 120 mostly MEW GULLS hawking flying insects that had stubby bodies and 
wings--California Gulls and Western/Glaucous-winged Gulls were present in 
the area but not participating in hawking insects.  This is late for this 
phenomenon, but it has been a mild, albeit wet fall.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.110                        GULL MIGRATION

      A gull southerly migration was reported by many observers--this 
flight is usually not perceived.

      During five 5-6 minute seawatches from about 11 AM-2:15 PM at Yachats 
on 10/31, KM recorded MEW GULLS as the most numerous southerly flying 
gulls with a peak of 29 per 5 min in the morning--in the afternoon few 
were noted.  GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS were the next most numerous with a 
southerly flying peak of 24/5 min in the morning, and few of them were 
also noted in the afternoon.  Many WESTERN GULLS were also recorded and at 
times, they were flying predominately southward, although some also flew 

      During PP's November seawatches at Boiler Bay, the abundance of 
species changed markedly.  CALIFORNIA GULLS had the peak count of 
3,000+ on 11/13, but less than 50 were noted during some days; 
150-400 BONAPARTE'S GULLS were viewed during 11/9-13, although less than 
10 were on spotted some days; and 200+ Mew Gulls were found on 11/4, 17, & 
23, but less than 50 were counted at the start and end of the month.  Up 
to 150 HEERMANN'S GULLS were recorded in early November, but four or less 
were noted after 11/17.  PP also saw that Glaucous-winged/Western Gulls 
were abundant starting on 11/11 with peak counts of 500-600+ on 11/13 & 
17; on 11/7, he noted that the Glaucous-wings were flying in a "near 
continuous southward stream just offshore, most flying low over the 
water."  As many as 70 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were discerned in early 
November, but 0-10 were found after 11/13 (PP).

      Gull southerly flights were also noted during November at Wandemere, 
with their route and distance inland varying (RC).  RC writes about the 
flight on 11/21: "They streamed past here all day from dawn to dusk, 
flying right down the beach.  Mixed species, with many dark first-year 
birds.  We counted 25-60/minute during spot counts.  Their flight pattern 
was interesting; in the morning, the wind direction was such that they 
were level gliding on set wings and were making about 35 mph without 
flapping at all.   By late afternoon, they were steadily flapping to make 
the same course.  Once an entire string of maybe 75 gulls suddenly veered 
off course to spiral up on a thermal; as each bird reached the top of the 
cell, it peeled off south, gliding again while the altitude gain lasted."  

      At Yachats on 11/14, AC noted that "most southbound gulls were 
California Gulls, Mew Gulls, and Glaucous-winged Gulls.  The Glaucous-
wings seemed to be actually migrating, a slow steady, purposeful stream of 
southbound birds that did not come near the coastline.  Not something I 
see every day."  The same day at Seal Rocks during six 5-min seawatches 
between 2:12-3:21 PM, KM saw a maximum of 30 Western, 11 Mew, eight 
Glaucous-winged, and three California Gulls flying south per seawatch--the 
only northward flying gull was one Western.

      On 11/28, RC observed at Wandemere that: "There is a continuing 
southward movement of gulls, but it has slowed from a flood to a trickle.  
This morning many of the birds were flying over the ocean from the surf 
zone outwards.  The movement the rest of the day was spotty.  The numbers 
and flight path of this gull flight [this month] have changed daily; on 
days when the birds are fewer or passing by out to sea the movement is not 
nearly as noticeable as those days when a steady stream is flying 
overhead.  There was a corresponding northward flux last spring, but it 
seemed to be a more diffuse movement than in fall--or maybe they were 
following a different route."  Also on 11/28 during five 5-minute 
afternoon seawatches at Seal Rocks and Yachats, KM noted that few gulls 
were flying south with peak counts per seawatch of nine Mew Gulls, eight 
Glaucous-wings, and six Westerns.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.111                            ALCIDS

      Beached near Thiel Creek were 11 COMMON MURRES in October and 14 in 
November--these numbers are about normal (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  During PP's 
November Boiler Bay seawatches, murres were spotted each day, but the 
numbers varied from 12 on 11/15 to 400+ on 11/13 & 17; one adult in 
breeding plumage was noted on both 11/26 & 28.

      Other alcids at Boiler Bay that PP recorded included 
2-7 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS daily; as many as 2-33 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS from 
11/1-11/13, but none thereafter; and 1-2 CASSIN'S AUKLETS on four of 
12 seawatches, with the one last noted on 11/28.  PP started seeing up to 
49 ANCIENT MURRELETS on 11/11, but most of them were flying south (e.g., 
47 of 49 on 11/13); similarly, when more than six MARBLED MURRELETS were 
detected, most were flying south (e.g., 28 of 31 on 11/30).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.112                    MOUNTAIN ASH AND BIRDS

      SS lives near Neskowin (Tillamook Co.); on 11/2, she wrote: "When I 
left this morning the mountain ash was still full of berries, but 
when I got home there was definitely a decrease.  From the house, I 
and six CEDAR WAXWINGS.  Then there was a flash of red and yellow: a 
RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER!  Then, of all things, a RUFFED GROUSE took its 
turns at securing berries, moving slowly and carefully in the young tree.  
The ruff was obvious as the bird stretched its neck to feed.  The 
sapsucker returned the next day, but the remaining berries were at the 
ends of the branches.  Some slender branches were askew because the larger 
birds had walked out on them, their weight bending the branches downward.  
By 11/6, there were zero berries left."
            *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

99.113                       PIGEON-MARSH WREN

      RC saw a BAND-TAILED PIGEON at her Wandemere feeder until 11/4 and 
writes: "I saw one interesting interaction between a single BT and a 
chickaree--the pigeon lit on the platform feeder just as the chickaree 
arrived, and there was a brief dust-up for ownership.  Looked like the 
squirrel tried to bite or strike the pigeon; at any rate the skirmish 
left the pigeon with mussed feathers on one flank.  For its part the 
pigeon did some mighty buffeting with wings, and it was the chickaree 
that retreated.  The retreat lasted only seconds before the squirrel was 
back for another try and got another beating.  There was a second 
retreat, slightly longer than the first, and the squirrel came back for 
round 3.  This time all the pigeon had to do was raise its wings in a 
threatening manner, and the squirrel made a hasty exit into the bushes 
and did not come back.  The pigeon settled down to a peaceful feast, and 
NOBODY disturbed it till it finished."  

      An uncommon BARN OWL was perched on a post at night at about the 
2 mile marker along Beaver Creek Road on 11/22 (DF).

      The first ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS at Wandemere arrived on 11/28, and 
RC notes that it was an immature male, who perched in the treetops and 
"inexpertly" sung.  Elsewhere, one had been first reported at Yachats in 
September.  At D&BM's home south of Waldport, a female has been seen more 
often than a male at their feeder.

      The intergrade male NORTHERN FLICKER with yellow-shafts still 
lingered at RC's Wandemere home until at least 11/16, and a flicker with 
orange, rather than red shafts, was also in Toledo on 11/24 (PD).

      MARSH WRENS were singing at Beaver Creek on 11/14 (LO).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.114                       PIPIT-MEADOWLARK

      On 11/28, our latest AMERICAN PIPIT and CEDAR WAXWINGS were at the 
YBSJ and HMSC, respectively (PP).

      A rare AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was near the Yaquina Head Lighthouse on 
11/14 (MM & HG), and a SWAMP SPARROW was at the north side of D River on 
11/4 (PP).  Our first SLATE-COLORED DARK-EYED JUNCO arrived south of 
Waldport on 11/15 (D&BM), and a male winter-plumaged SNOW BUNTING was at 
the YBSJ on 11/13 (TB & others).

      BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS have become rare in winter in recent years, so 
some feeding with RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS on millet in a yard near Siletz 
Bay on 11/2 (DPe) are of note.  

      A WESTERN MEADOWLARK was singing near the YBSJ on 11/6 (SaL), and 
another was along the south shore of Alsea Bay on 11/8 (MR).  One at the 
HMSC on 11/28 successfully evaded a foraging Sharp-shinned Hawk (PP).  In 
recent years, most of our wintering meadowlarks have been viewed at 
Yaquina Head, and this November 1-2 were discerned during 12 days.

      OBSERVERS.  Luke Bloch, Trent Bray, Sara & Don Brown, Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Rebecca Cheek, 
Alan Contreras, Pat Dickey, Darrel Faxon, Henry Gilmore, Carol Karlen, 
Ray Korpi, Steve Kupillas, Sally Lockyear (SaL), 
Bob & Shirley (SLo) Loeffel, Roy Lowe, Michael Marsh, Kathy Merrifield, 
Dawson & Bobby Mohler, Walt Nelson, Laimons Osis, Diane Pettey (DPe), 
Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin (DPi), Mike Rivers, 
Shirley Schwartz, Jamie Simmons, and Bunny Wright.

99.115     BIRD FIELD NOTES from the December 1999 Sandpiper 20(10)

      Comments in this column about abundance or seasonality refer to 

      Abbreviations and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Beaver Creek=creek 
flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Eckman Lake=lake just east of 
Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC=Hatfield Marine Science Center, Ona 
Beach=State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101, 
Sallys Bend=large embayment east of the LNG tank at Yaquina Bay, Thiel 
Creek=creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, Wandemere=about 
0.5 mi north of Ona Beach along HWY 101, YBSJ=Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

      Field notes from the January 2 Yaquina Bay CBC will be in next 
month's newsletter.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.116                        LOONS-TUBENOSES

      JS observed 31 COMMON LOONS at the YBSJ at dusk on 12/24--that is a 
traditional rafting place for them then and potentially a good place for 
Yellow-billed Loons.

      Throughout December at Boiler Bay, PP had eight days of morning 
seawatches that ranged from 1.0-2.8 hr long.  In marked contrast to 
September-November, when thousands of PACIFIC LOONS were flying south, 
only 200+ were noted the first week of December and after 12/7 only 
0-40+ were tallied (PP).  RED-THROATED LOONS were the most abundant loon; 
they numbered in the low hundreds through 12/21, and then less than a 
hundred were spotted (PP).

      At Boiler Bay, as many as 46 NORTHERN FULMARS were counted during 
four days through 12/13, but none on 12/21 and thereafter (PP).  Along 
4.6 mi of beach near Thiel Creek in December, an above average 21 fulmars 
were found dead (B&SLo, S&DB, LO); such a total would be about normal for 
November, which normally is the month with the most dead fulmars since 
1977 (BLo).  Interestingly, only two dead fulmars were found dead after 
12/18 (B&SLo, S&DB, LO), so the timing of beached fulmars coincides with 
the time that most were seen at Boiler Bay.  While this seems to make 
sense, it is rare to have both live and dead bird observations at the same 
time, so that they can be compared. 

      At Boiler Bay, the only shearwater sightings were of one SOOTY 
1-3 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS were noted there on 12/2 & 13, and one was 
also just beyond the surf at the mouth of D River on 12/6 (PP).
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99.117                      BROWN PELICAN-SWANS

      Our latest BROWN PELICANS were four at Yaquina Head on 12/22 (BLM) 
and three immatures flying south past Boiler Bay on 12/26 (PP).

      BLl found three adult and one immature BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS 
perched in a tree by the West Pond, just north of the Oregon Coast 
Aquarium, on 12/22.  JS resighted them on 12/24 at dusk, but they have not 
been relocated since then.  They are rarely reported but may be regularly, 
inconspicuously present in low numbers.

      One GREAT EGRET graced Eckman Lake and Yaquina Bay on 12/5 (KM) and 
Beaver Creek on 12/15 (KM) & 12/18 (LO).

      A possible TRUMPETER SWAN was at Beaver Creek on 12/5 (DF), but 
distinguishing them from Tundras is more tricky than some field guides 
indicate (see 1988 Oregon Birds 14[1]).  On 12/21, J&LM saw a Bald Eagle 
stir up seven adult and three immature TUNDRA SWANS at Sallys Bend.  Swans 
usually don't remain long, and, sure enough, SK unsuccessfully looked for 
them an hour after they were seen.  The morning of 12/26, RC saw six 
Tundras flying north past Wandemere; they must have been on their way to 
Siletz Bay because EN saw two adult and four immature Tundras there that 
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99.118                          GEESE-DUCKS

      126 BLACK BRANT were at Sallys Bend on 12/19 (KM), but the six flying 
north past Boiler Bay on 12/13 (PP) suggests that there can also be some 
movement of them along the Oregon Coast in winter.  Similarly, a flock of 
60 NORTHERN PINTAILS flying north past Yachats on 12/19 (KM) probably also 
represents a movement between wintering sites rather than "spring" 

      Our largest count of WOOD DUCKS was 13 at Mile Post 2 at Thiel Creek 
on about 12/1 (BLo).  The first and only BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was a female 
at the Alsea Bay boat docks on 12/31 (SaL); in past winters, that has been 
the only site where they have been found.  2-4 REDHEADS were at Sallys 
Bend on 12/5 & 19 (KM).

      In contrast to October-November, when SURF SCOTERS were the most 
numerous scoter by far, in December, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were usually the 
predominant scoter with a peak count of 1,500 at Boiler Bay on 12/21--on 
other days 70-500+ were enumerated; many were flying north on 12/21 & 26 
(PP).  About 150-200 Surfs were noted during 12/7-12/13, but 50 or less 
thereafter (PP).  On 12/19, a flock of 1,950 scoters was too far from Seal 
Rocks to identify; but 98% of 1,600 scoters at Yachats that day were Surfs 
(KM).  Differences in relative abundance among scoter species have been 
noted at different areas before.

      HOODED MERGANSERS used to be rare at Sallys Bend, but KM discovered 
four males and five females there on 12/19.  Although 
RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS in female/immature plumage appeared in 
mid-November, the first in adult male plumage was found by KM at the YBSJ 
on 12/5.  In summer and early fall, distinguishing female/immature 
COMMON MERGANSERS from Red-breasteds is not as easy field guides suggest, 
and they usually don't occur together, but on 12/5 at Eckman Lake, KM was 
lucky to see females of both together and was able to be able to study the 
differences in nostril position and bill shape.
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99.119                            RAPTORS

      There were many BALD EAGLE reports, so only a few are given here.  At 
Sallys Bend on 12/11 & 13, J&LM saw an adult flying off with a duck.  The 
turf battle for Yaquina Bay by two pairs of adult eagles continues--one 
pair was perched on the piling in the middle of Sallys Bend while a second 
pair perched at the embayment south of Sallys on 12/5 (KM).  Will these 
two pairs be able to coexist?

      A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was at Siletz Bay on 12/13 (EN) and just east of 
Newport on 12/26 (CP).  An adult dark-morph RED-TAILED HAWK floating 
motionless over the Safeway in Lincoln City in mid-December was quite a 
sight (BBu).

      A male NORTHERN HARRIER scouted Beaver Creek on 12/21 (LO), but no 
wing tag was detected.

      An AMERICAN KESTREL graced Cape Perpetua on 12/30 (BBa); a favored 
place for a kestrel in recent years has been Yaquina Head, where one was 
noted during 17 days this December (BLM).  Our only MERLIN was at Boiler 
Bay on 12/21 (PP).

      An adult PEREGRINE FALCON hunted Sanderlings near the YBSJ on 12/12 
(BT), and 1-2 were noted at Yaquina Head during nine days in December 
(BLM).  On 12/15 at the mouth of the Yachats, KM spotted an immature 
Peregrine approach a flock of roosting gulls and wrote: "When the falcon 
came to whatever the critical distance is, the flock flushed and 
most (all ?) flew around the area.  Few, if any, went elsewhere to land.  
The falcon did not land or attack a gull.  It soared (while doing a lot of 
maneuvering) above the area, and then I lost sight of it.  The gulls 
landed in basically the same place, and the flock remained more intact and 
landed faster than after flushing by dogs or people--maybe because the 
latter stay around longer."  Since KM regularly studies gulls there, she 
is familiar with disturbances by dogs and people.
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99.120                       TURKEY-SHOREBIRDS

      Three WILD TURKEYS, our first in a long time, marched along the 
roadside at about mile 16 on HWY 34 east of Waldport on 12/18 (SaL & KH).

      A flock of 17 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS graced Boiler Bay the morning of 
12/31--generally only 1-2 are observed there (PP).

      Our only WHIMBREL visited the ocean beach near YBSJ on 
12/25 (CP)--they have become scarce here in recent winters.  A 
ROCK SANDPIPER was at Seal Rocks on 12/19 (KM) and Boiler Bay on 
12/31 (PP).

      Perhaps the best shorebird site was north Beaver Creek, where LO 
and 13 COMMON SNIPE on 12/18.  At this point in the winter, freshwater 
areas are better than estuaries for these species.

      The three RED PHALAROPES/RED-NECKED PHALAROPES at Boiler Bay on 
12/2 (PP) were our only ones.
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99.121                         JAEGER-GULLS

      A JAEGER, probably a Pomarine Jaeger or Parasitic Jaeger, remained 
at Boiler Bay on 12/7 (PP), and the last BONAPARTE'S GULLS were espied at 
Boiler Bay on 12/21 (PP).

      On the ocean beach about two miles south of Waldport, DF spotted an 
aberrant MEW GULL that might have been of the Kamchatka race.  Through 
12/21, Mew Gulls were the most abundant gull at Boiler Bay, with a peak 
count of 500+ on 12/7 (PP).

      HERRING GULLS did not become abundant at Boiler Bay until 12/21; that 
day and later all were flying north--the peak count was of 300+ on 12/31 
(PP).  During the 12/27 pelagic trip off Newport, Herring Gulls were most 
abundant 13-14 miles offshore (GG); see the following address for results 
and pelagic trip info: 

      A northerly movement of GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS was detected on 12/31 
when 150+ passed Boiler Bay (PP).  A third year HERRING x GLAUCOUS-WINGED 
GULL was reported at the Yachats River mouth on 12/15 (KM).  
1-17 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were at Boiler Bay only during four of eight 
December seawatches (PP).
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99.122                            ALCIDS

      During the 12/27 pelagic, 1-7 COMMON MURRES were seen every mile up 
to 18 miles offshore (GG).  9-200+ passed during each of PP's December 
seawatches.  Like in late November, single Common Murres in breeding 
plumage were noted on 12/9 & 26, but on 12/31, about 10-15% of the 
120 Common Murres were in breeding plumage (PP).

      1-2 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were at Boiler Bay during five of PP's eight 
seawatches, with the last one on 12/26.

      The number of beached CASSIN'S AUKLETS varies a lot yearly; this 
December only two were found near Thiel Creek (B&SLo, S&DB, LO).  This 
exceeded the number of live Cassin's as only live one was at Boiler Bay on 
12/13 (PP).  In contrast, 12 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were tallied in December 
(B&SLo, S&DB, LO)--this is the highest December count since this beach 
walk commenced in 1977; the previous high was 10 in 1995, but in most 
Decembers three or less are found.  At Boiler Bay, 1-5 Rhinos were viewed 
during three seawatches, and 12 were seen on 12/13 (PP).
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *

99.123                       TERRESTRIAL BIRDS

      The last BAND-TAILED PIGEONS at D&BM's Waldport feeder left on 11/29, 
but one visited BBa's Yachats feeder on 12/16.

      On 12/9, RC wrote about the frustration of observing 
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS at her Wandemere home: "Have seen immature and mature 
male(s) and female(s) but have no clue how many there are hanging around 
since I never see more than two at a time and then in flight as one 
chases the other away.  We continue to host a territorial male who sits 
inside the pine near the front door and sings; I still haven't got a good 
look at him because he hides so well and shuts up every time I start 
peering in his direction."

      Crows learn.  In past newsletters, RC related how at least one soaks 
crackers at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  At her Wandemere home, RC 
sometimes sees them drinking out of one of the gutters, but on 12/8, "One 
carried a hunk of dry bread from the feeder up to the gutter, dropped it 
in to soak for a moment, then gobbled it down."  As RC queries, "is this 
behavior widespread or does a good idea travel fast?"

      GRAY JAYS seem to have made their winter trek to some lowlands with 
5-6 regularly at BBa's Yachats feeder starting on 12/12 (BBa), and SS's 
Neskowin (Tillamook Co.) home on 12/23 & 27.

      Flocks of EUROPEAN STARLINGS are conspicuous this winter, with at 
least 200 over D&BM's home south of Waldport on 12/15.  My impression is 
that larger flocks were present in fall, and that many may be migratory.

      One WESTERN MEADOWLARK was along the HMSC Nature Trail on 12/15 (KM), 
and two were in the HMSC Courtyard on 12/21 (MH)--in recent years, they 
have become uncommon there.  But at Yaquina Head, 1-2 were recorded during 
12 days this December (BLM), and one was also near Newport's LNG tank 
on 12/5 (KM).

      OBSERVERS.  Betty Bahn (BBa), Sara & Don Brown, Bob Budz (BBu), 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, 
Rebecca Cheek, Darrel Faxon, Greg Gillson, Mary Holbert, Karen Houston, 
Steve Kupillas, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), 
Bob (BLo) & Shirley (SLo) Loeffel, John & Linda Mackown, Kathy Merrifield, 
Dawson & Bobby Mohler, Eric Nelson, Laimons Osis, Chuck Philo, 
Phil Pickering, Shirley Schwartz, Jamie Simmons, and Bryant Tarr. 
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