Comments about abundance or seasonality refer only to LINCOLN COUNTY.
------------------------------- Month of Sandpiper, Volume 25 ------------------------------- August 2004 September 2004 (not completed) October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 Semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU). ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ JUNE-23 AUGUST BIRD FIELD NOTES from the August 2004 Sandpiper 25(6) Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Beaver Creek: creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Boiler Bay: State Wayside about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, Eckman Lake: lake 2 mi east of Waldport along Hwy 34, HMSC: OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, HY=hatch year (bird hatched in the current calendar year), Idaho Flats: large embayment just east of HMSC, Ona Beach: State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along Hwy 101 at Beaver Creek, Sallys Bend: large Yaquina Bay embayment east of the LNG tank, Thiel Creek: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, USFWS: US Fish & Wildlife Service. * * * * * * * * * * * THANKS FOR ALL THE OBSERVATIONS! Thanks to everyone for sharing your field notes! Unfortunately, with 3 months of sightings, it is not possible to include as many sightings as I would normally. Thanks for your patience! * * * * * * * * * * * CONGRATS TO JORRIE CIOTTI! J&KC live about 4 miles east of Waldport, and JC has put together a wonderful web site about birds at their home at: http://homepage.mac.com/wildbirds/index.htm The Birdhouse Network of Cornell Lab of Ornithology wrote JC that her web site "is fascinating and informative" and that they would love to use some of her photos and videos! * * * * * * * * * * * ALSEA BAY IMPORTANT BIRD AREA (IBA) On August 24, Portland Audubon Society was to hold two press conferences to announce the Sauvie Island and Alsea Bay IBA's. At Waldport, Mayor Scott Beckstead, City Administrator Nancy Leonard, Roy Lowe (USFWS), and Doug Cottam (ODFW) were slated to speak for the Alsea Bay IBA. The Audubon press release states: "The goal of the Oregon IBA program is to identify the top sites important to bird conservation and act to promote the preservation, restoration and improvement of avian values at these sites through partnerships, education and citizen monitoring." This is a wonderful program--please participate if you can! Members of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists played a part in the Alsea Bay IBA as the nomination form that RB submitted included bird field notes from Kathy Merrifield and Jean Weakland as well as USFWS' observations that met the required IBA criteria of bird abundance (e.g., site with 1,000 or more shorebirds or 5,000 or more waterfowl). The BLM successfully nominated Yaquina Head as an IBA, and YB&N members were involved in nominating and/or the supporting field notes for the other 3 successful Lincoln County IBA's (Salmon River Estuary, Siletz Bay, and Yaquina Bay). Kathy and RB provided many observations that successfully met IBA criteria for Yaquina and/or Siletz Bays. Former member Phil Pickering's notes for the Salmon River Estuary and Siletz Bay and USFWS' records were crucial in those successful nominations as well as the Devils Lake nomination that failed because waterfowl numbers have declined significantly since about 1991. Thanks to Portland Audubon for the State IBA program! Thanks also to all who have shared their observations--your observations are helpful for us to learn more about the birds around us! * * * * * * * * * * * ALBATROSS-EGRETS Another BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, LO) in July. While about 4-5 miles offshore during fishing trips out of Depoe Bay on 7/28 & 29, BLo saw a live Black-footed on both days. During an hour long seawatch at Boiler Bay on 8/1, PP recorded about 600 SOOTY and 2 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS. On 8/23, he estimated about 13,000 SOOTY SHEARWATERS and counted 7 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 1 SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, 1 NORTHERN FULMAR, and 1 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL. JB & JJ detected a rare MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD 40 miles northwest of Newport on 8/21(fide GG). BROWN PELICANS were often reported. The USFWS has found seabirds nesting on most Oregon coastal bridges, and during their USFWS surveys on 7/12-13, RL & DPi counted 100 PELAGIC CORMORANT nests (up from 36 nests last year), 6 WESTERN GULL nests, and a number of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS nesting on or in the Yaquina Bay Bridge below the roadway. The Oregon Dept. of Transportation had not contacted the USFWS about bird nesting on the Yaquina Bay Bridge prior to bridge maintenance, and the nesting will affect the timing of maintenance. On 8/4&5, AS espied an all-white, probable PELAGIC CORMORANT flying to and from the cliffs at the south side of Cape Foulweather. During his Boiler Bay seawatches, PP has noted a northerly movement of BRANDT'S CORMORANTS in recent late summers, and this year is no exception with 100/60 minutes on 8/1 and 500/60 minutes on 8/23. Although GREAT EGRETS were seen scouting a Yaquina Bay Great Blue Heron colony in May, only nonbreeders apparently lingered with 2 at Idaho Flats on 5/31 (KM), 1 at Idaho Flats during 4 days in June and 3 days in early July (JL) and 2 on 6/26 in a tree near Oregon Coast Aquarium (YBNFT). RB counted 8 at Idaho Flats on 7/15, which is about the time when their immigration often commences (SemiL); there were 18 at Yaquina Bay embayments on 8/5 and 29 on 8/19 (RB). * * * * * * * * * * * WATERFOWL In July, the American Ornithologist's Union split CANADA GEESE into two species: CANADA GOOSE (which includes Western, Dusky, Lesser, and Vancouver subspecies) and the smaller CACKLING GOOSE (which includes Cackler, Aleutian, and Richardson's subspecies). This leads to confusion when someone now reports a "Canada Goose"--are they referring to the new Canada Goose or the old Canada Goose that includes the new Cackling Goose? Fortunately for us, most here are the introduced Western Canada Goose, so most errors will probably be of including Cackling Geese with Canada Geese. GG points out that a good, single-paged guide with photos to Oregon's primary subspecies of Canada/Cackling Geese is at: http://oregoncoast.fws.gov/images/wildlife/geese.pdf On 7/22, WH spotted 5 Canada/Cackling Geese at the Yaquina Bay South Jetty that were not Westerns; on 8/2, JL saw 7 Cackling Geese at Idaho Flats--it is unusual to have Cacklers this early here on the ground. Starting on 8/6, small flocks of large Canada Geese were seen flying south over Newport (RB), and RL noted flocks of 9-18 over Eckman Lake during 8/7-15--this seems unseasonal. An adult WOOD DUCK with 5 ducklings graced BLl's Logsden Beaver Pond on 5/30, and 2 females with at least 16 ducklings were at Eckman Lake on 5/31 (KM). 2 molting NORTHERN PINTAILS lingered at the log pond north of Oregon Coast Aquarium from 6/21 through 8/19 (JL; YBNFT). Those SURF SCOTERS sure get around! A male outfitted with a satellite transmitter by the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) spent last winter in Puget Sound, went up near the Great Slave Lake north of Alberta presumably to nest, and on 7/30 was found south of Yachats, where it presumably will molt (fide RL). Now the question is whether it will remain through the winter or return to Puget Sound? Also, why did it pick the Yachats area now? This male was not alone in its southerly flight as PP noted Surf Scoters (180 on 8/1 and 150 on 8/23) flying south during his hour-long Boiler Bay seawatches. Last year, the WDFW also put satellite transmitters on some WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS in southern Puget Sound in March, and one of them (a male, #4022) also traveled to near the Great Slave Lake, flew back to the Washington Coast along the Olympic Peninsula on July 21, flew south off the Oregon Coast and spent July 26-Sept. 20 off the northern California Coast before returning to Puget Sound (fide RL). But there was lots of diversity in the travels of tagged male and female White-wings; for example, some females apparently only commuted between Puget Sound wintering areas and near Great Slave Lake nesting areas (fide RL). 6 male HARLEQUIN DUCKS coming out of breeding plumage rested at Seal Rocks on 6/5 (EC), where nonbreeders or postbreeders are often present in summer. A female COMMON MERGANSER with 10 ducklings rafted the Siletz River near Logsden on 5/30 (BLl), and 7 were at Sallys Bend on 7/19 (JL). Commons are regulars in Yaquina Bay embayments during late summer and leave for the upper estuary about the time that Red-breasted Mergansers arrive. * * * * * * * * * * * RAPTORS-PHEASANT The 2 OSPREY chicks in their nest at Eckman Lake on 5/31 (KM) fledged (RL). On 8/13, JW saw four flying together over Yaquina John Point at Alsea Bay--perhaps they were the whole family? 4 were also counted at Yaquina Bay on 8/2 (JL)--another family? An adult male NORTHERN HARRIER hunted the HMSC during several days in June, and a brown one (immature or female) was there on 6/25 (JL), so they may have nested at South Beach. In many years, we have no June records (SemiL). A HY WHITE-TAILED KITE was near the HMSC on 6/24 (D&LF), and a kite of unspecified age was at Yaquina Bay on 6/26 (YBNFT). A rare GOLDEN EAGLE flew over DF's Thornton Creek home between Toledo and Eddyville on 8/14. A BALD EAGLE visited Yaquina Head 6 days in July (BLM), and 2 apparently HY Bald Eagles were on the rocks at the east side of Sallys Bend on 8/12 (SK). A rare summer MERLIN took a male Black-headed Grosbeak at DG's Toledo feeder on 7/17, and a PEREGRINE FALCON swooped low over Colony Rock at Yaquina Head on 7/8 (BM & RB). A female RING-NECKED PHEASANT (probable escapee) was an unexpected visitor to BB's Yachats yard on 8/5. * * * * * * * * * * * SHOREBIRDS The 8th annual Black Oystercatcher survey was on 6/18, with 15 sites primarily on the central coast surveyed and 59 adult oystercatchers counted (USFWS). Oystercatchers are a USFWS Species of Concern, so it is important to do surveys. Thanks to the following YB&N members for participating: MC, DD, SaL, and S&LW! On 7/13, a nonterritorial flock of 8 adult oystercatchers on Whaleback Island near Cape Foulweather was an unexpected, unseasonal large number (RL, DPi, & SP). 22 nonbreeding, oversummering WHIMBRELS were at Idaho Flats on 5/31 (KM) as were 30-34 on 6/18 & 22 (JL); the 59 in mid-July along the ocean beach north of Thiel Creek (BLo) is a sign of immigration, which is usually apparent the first week in July. A MARBLED GODWIT at Idaho Flats on 6/18 and 22 (JL) may have oversummered. The first sign of "fall" migration were the "peeps" at Idaho Flats: 26-35 "peeps" on 6/23 & 26 (JL; YBNFT), about 150 on 6/28 (JL; RL), and about 430 on 7/13 (JL); those that were identified were WESTERN SANDPIPERS. Other "fall" arrivals include SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER at Yaquina Bay on 7/7 (JL), RED-NECKED PHALAROPE south of Seal Rock on 7/11 (JGr), 5 GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Eckman Lake on 7/12 (RL), WANDERING TATTLER and BLACK TURNSTONE at Yaquina Bay South Jetty on 7/12 (RL& DPi), and SURFBIRD near Cape Foulweather on 7/13 (RL, DPi, & SP). On 8/2, S&LW saw 3 possible LONG-BILLED CURLEWS that were larger than Whimbrels and had pinkish undersides flying over Yaquina Bay State Park. The high shorebird count was about 400 Surfbirds at Yachats on 8/3 (RR). * * * * * * * * * * * JAEGERS-ALCIDS PP spotted a PARASITIC JAEGER and a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE during his 8/1 Boiler Bay seawatch. On 8/19, JL was surprised to find a jaeger sp. off Boone Slough at about River Mile 9 of Yaquina Bay--they are generally more coastal. The 8/18 earthquake at about 11:06 PM was a shocker not only to us, but to birds as well. At the HMSC, it did not seem like an earthquake--the building shook like something had crashed into it. When JH, SB, and RB went outside the Visitor's Center to investigate, RB was amazed to hear many gulls giving urgent alarm calls while flying in the darkness. But after a few minutes, they quieted down. On 8/13, an uncommon juvenile FRANKLIN'S GULL flew past the window of the Port Dock One restaurant along the Newport Bayfront, where JGe and his relatives were dining. WH noted flocks of over 5,000 gulls inside Alsea Bay and at the mouth of Beaver Creek on 8/20--most were CALIFORNIA GULLS of all ages, but there were also WESTERNS, GLAUCOUS-WINGEDS, and HEERMANN'S. Nonbreeding CASPIAN TERNS oversummered as usual with 17 at Alsea Bay on 5/31 (KM)--they were present at least 14 days in June at Idaho Flats with peak counts of 33 and 35 (JL; RB) and at least 3 days in June at Yaquina Head (BLM). The first HY Caspian was heard near Idaho Flats the night of 6/27 (RB), and the first was seen there the next day (JL). HY Caspians are conspicuous because of their high-pitched call in response to the hoarser call of one of its presumed parents. On 7/20, terns had increased to 85 adults and 10 juveniles (JL). We only had one live TUFTED PUFFIN report: at least one at Yaquina Head on 6/3 (BLM); 1 was beached north of Ona Beach on 7/24 (B&SLo, LO). "Easily over 100" CASSIN'S AUKLETS were within about a 1/4 mile of shore between Depoe Bay and Cape Foulweather on 7/13 (RL, DPi, & SP). But PP only saw one on each of his 8/1 & 23 Boiler Bay seawatches, so it doesn't look like they will be numerous this summer. While walking the beach about a half mile between Lost Creek and Thiel Creek on 7/31, BLo watched the sandstone bluff at the back of the beach and saw a total of 28 adult PIGEON GUILLEMOTS perched near the bluff top at 3 locations. While we often think of them nesting in rock crevices at Yaquina Head or in bridge crevices, they also nest in burrows in sandstone. But the concentration BLo found seems high. An ANCIENT MURRELET beached north of Ona Beach on 6/30 (B&SLo, LO). A rare THICK-BILLED MURRE with a "very, very noticeable white gape line" was reported to be about 2 miles north of the Yaquina Bay jetties on 6/21 or 22 (RT fide HR). * * * * * * * * * * * COMMON MURRE, Part 1 During 1-3 PM on 7/8 & 7/15, BM & RB watched COMMON MURRE chicks occasionally jump off Colony Rock or Flattop at Yaquina Head and then be joined by an adult before swimming off together in the "m" area of the diagram below. Some chicks were apparently killed in the jump as several dead murre chicks were floating belly up near the Island. We also spotted some "orphans"--calling chicks swimming without an adult (one swam around the north, east and south sides of Colony Rock)--they would not be able to make it on their own. On 7/9, JGr saw one jump at 1 PM, and, on 7/10, BM saw a chick jump at 10 AM. So although some references say murre chicks only jump at night, some often do so during the day at Yaquina Head. However, it took patient, continuous watching with binocs or a scope to see a chick jump as one would appear to be ready and near the edge but could spend 30 minutes or more shuffling back and forth before jumping or returning to the huddle of adult murres. Watching the "m" area appears to be the easiest way to tell if a chick had recently jumped. ------------------------------------------ The fledging ("jumping") of COMMON MURRE chicks at Yaquina Head may be most easily determined by searching the water in the "m" area of the rough diagram below for adult-chick pairs. After a chick jumped from the east or south side of Colony Rock or the north side of Flattop, it swam off with an adult and reached the Pacific Ocean beyond the islands in less than 4 minutes (once as fast as 1.8 minutes, N=7 pairs), so the presence of an adult-chick pair in the "m" area indicates that a chick had recently jumped. Pacific Ocean _________________ _________ mmmm \ Colony Flattop / mmmmm \ Rock --->North _______/ mmmmmmm \_____________ mmmmmmmmmmmmmm ---------------------------------------- |Obs. Deck| ---------- X<--LightHouse ------------------------------------------ On 7/12, during USFWS surveys at Yaquina Head, RL & DPi only saw one adult-chick pair and wondered if murre production was low this year. During five fishing trips out of Depoe Bay prior to 7/13, BLo had only seen one adult/chick pair, but on 7/14, he saw several. On 7/15, RB saw one adult-chick murre pair in the "m" area of the diagram that was quickly joined by a second adult that was tolerated by the first adult; RB watched the three for 12 minutes before losing sight of them. Of the at least 4 adult-chick pairs on 7/8 & 12 pairs on 7/15, this was the only one where 2 adults and 1 chick headed out together (RB). In other cases, an extraneous adult would sometimes approach but quickly leave. In Mike Scott's OSU Ph.D. thesis, he notes that he rarely saw 2 adults with 1 chick (i.e., in 1-5% of adult-chick pairs), and he collected one threesome where one adult was a male and the other a female. In murres, males (presumably the father) generally go off to sea with the chick, but perhaps rarely there is a second adult. On 7/16, DPe noted many pairs in the Siuslaw River (Lane Co.), so maybe most chicks were jumping after 7/12. For example, during his 7/21 fishing trip out of Depoe Bay, BLo noted many pairs and 2 chicks that seemed to be without an adult. Unfortunately, determining murre nesting success is difficult, so it is not clear if they had low nesting success here or not. * * * * * * * * * * * THE PENGUINS HAVE LANDED! On 8/2, a Gleneden Beach resident (not a tourist!) telephoned 9-1-1 that there was a penguin at Salishan Spit ("Penguin sighting believed to be case of mistaken identity" on p. A7 of 4 August 2004 Newport News-Times). The report was relayed on to the Oregon State Police and then to the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Clearly this was an emergency situation! (I am surprised that the newspaper article did not make some kind of statement that such a call was not appropriate to 9-1-1.) As TM in the newspaper article suggests, they were probably COMMON MURRES. Murre summer die-offs occur yearly, although the number varies (RB, RL, and BLo. 1991. Persistent summer mortalities of Common Murres along the Oregon central coast. Condor 93:516-525). One can expect that when numbers are extraordinarily high that more people would be concerned and the news media would be contacted. However, B&SLo and LO found 138 murre chicks and 53 adults in July and through August 26; based on BLo's records starting in 1978, both are approximately "normal," with highs of 1,217 chicks in July and August 1982 and 167 adults in July and August 1983. On 8/27, BLo writes: "Numbers of chicks and adults peaked in the first week of August and have trailed off since." Perhaps beach walkers are more sensitive to beached birds this year... There was also some question about whether murres were nesting later this year. We don't have information about the timing of peak fledging/jumping (which would be the best indicator of the timing of nesting), but we do have dates of when the first chicks were found beached. During 1978-1990, the average date of the first beached chick was July 11 (range 30 June-27 July)(Condor article). This year B&SLo and LO found the first one on July 15, and TM had her first "penguin" call on July 10, so the start of fledging appears "normal" this year. * * * * * * * * * * * DOVE-WOODPECKERS MOURNING DOVES put on a good showing this summer as they were daily at CP's Toledo feeder during 6/23-26, usually a pair visited BB's Yachats yard several times a week in late July, and BLo spotted flying from the beach near Thiel Creek on 7/31. On 8/12, a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL was stunned after it struck J&KC's window east of Waldport--JC took photos of the false eye spots on the back of its neck--see http://homepage.mac.com/wildbirds/owl-northern-pygmy.htm The morning of 6/5, WH heard probable BLACK SWIFTS circling over his South Beach home in a heavy mist. On at least 8/16 &17, about 200-300 VAUX'S SWIFTS were flying around at about 8 PM and then flew down a chimney along Graham Street in Toledo at about 8:35 PM (CP). A HY BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD visited DF's Thornton Creek home between Toledo and Eddyville on 7/2; this species is rarely reported in Lincoln County (SemiL). A female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was gathering spider silk around MR's Waldport window on 5/23, and an ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD was at BB's Yachats feeder on 7/16, and a raggity-looking female Anna's was at J&KC's home east of Waldport on 7/19. KD's photo of a rare male RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER that was apparently in a territorial dispute with a Red-breasted Sapsucker at a residence near the Alsea Highway between markers 16 and 17 during April 20-23 is on p. 71 of May issue of the Corvallis Audubon's "Chat." Some locally nesting RED-SHAFTED NORTHERN FLICKERS appear to be intergrades, since J&KC noted on 6/16 that 1 of 3 fledglings feeding at their peanut log feeder about 4 miles east of Waldport had a red nape crescent characteristic of Yellow-shafteds and a red mustache of Red-shafteds (http://homepage.mac.com/wildbirds/nofl-intergrade.htm). On 6/22, JL glimpsed a flicker with yellow-shafts near the HMSC. 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS were eating apples in J&KC's orchard east of Waldport on 8/4, and another drummed on a snag near the Waldport Elementary School on 8/21 (JW). * * * * * * * * * * * JAYS-CROWS A WESTERN SCRUB JAY was at J&KC's home east of Waldport during 6/3-9, 25, & 26. One flew across a yard into a spruce tree north of Yachats on 6/14, and WH wrote: "It immediately exited the tree and flew back in front of me with an irate male robin screaming on its tail!" In June, JC noted that: "the partial-albino STELLER'S JAY [at her home east of Waldport] had what looked liked avian pox (white fungus) growing on one of his legs. He would pick up his leg and hold it. You could tell something was wrong. I read on the Internet that if the bird has enough food, they can fight off the disease. I made some peanut butter balls (peanut butter, corn meal, sunflower chips and maple syrup) and started rolling them out to him. Now the growth of white fungus is gone. I don't know if the peanut balls helped or not, but I'd like to believe that they did." On 7/13 at her home east of Waldport, JC noted: "An AMERICAN CROW has come by a couple of times with a mouthful of popcorn from someone else's property. The crow empties the popcorn from his mouth into the bird bath and lets the popcorn float for a few seconds before picking up each piece before leaving. I don't know if he wants the popcorn to soak or he doesn't like the salt." * * * * * * * * * * * MARTIN-CROSSBILL PURPLE MARTINS were conspicuous this summer around nest boxes in the lagoon north of HMSC (JL; RB), with young still in the nest box on 8/12 (JL)--thanks to EH for putting the boxes up! On 6/8, DF saw a TREE SWALLOW "repeatedly flying into my chicken yard and picking up fragments of oyster shell left by the chickens. That didn't surprise me. What did was that the bird was taking them into the nearby nest box." OBOL respondents suggested that the shells were collected for the nest or eaten by adults or nestlings for the minerals. BROWN CREEPER are often missed but one graced Newton Hill between Siletz and Toledo in early June (JL), and another was near Eckman Lake on 8/6 (SaL). PL spotted two AMERICAN DIPPERS along the Siletz River on 5/31--our only dipper report. 8-10 CEDAR WAXWINGS were in a cherry tree in Toledo on 6/16 (LW), and P& BW note that the annual visitation of Cedar Waxwings to feast on elderberry and cascara berries at their Tidewater home about 8 miles east of Waldport began 7/26, with a flock still in their cascara trees on 8/11. Our only SAVANNAH SPARROWS were 1-2 at Yaquina Bay on 6/26 & 28 (YBNFT; JL). ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS are usually rare here, but several were found in Western Oregon as well as Lincoln County this summer. PPa detected a male at her sunflower feeder on 7/1 just north of Ona Beach SP, and it also showed up the next morning until it was chased off by a Black-headed Grosbeak and was not seen again there. On 7/17-18, JGe reports that one was photographed at a feeder 26 miles east of Waldport (which would be in Benton Co.); starting on 7/21, perhaps the same one visited R&IT's Waldport neighbors and then their feeder on 8/7 (fide DF). There may have been an influx of RED CROSSBILLS, or they may have been unusually conspicuous. They were noted on 6/10 south of Waldport at JW's home, in Waldport on 6/16 (NP), and east of Waldport in late June and 8/4 & 16 (J&KC). Observers/Sources: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Jock Beall, Steve Bemis, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Ellen Cantor, Maxine Centala, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti, Dick Demarest, Karin Donoyan, Darrel and Laura Faxon, Joel Geier (JGe), Greg Gillson, Dawn Grafe, Jill Grover (JGr), Bird Guide (BG; info about pelagic trips, http://thebirdguide.com), John Hagan, Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Jarrod Jebousek, Steve Kupillas, Janet & Phil Lamberson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Tamara McGuire (Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network), Barbara Massey, Kathy Merrifield, OBOL (Oregon Birders On Line; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Robert Olson, Laimons Osis, Pam Parker (PPa), Sue Peters, Nancy Peterson, Diane Pettey (DPe), Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin (DPi), Holly Reinhard, Maggie Rivers, Roger Robb, Al Schmierer, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Ryan Terrill, Ray & Imogene Travis, Jean Weakland, Shirley & Lloyd Williams, Lynne Wright, Pat & Bunny Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led in June by Robert Olson). This summer, I updated our bird field notes columns on the web, so that all columns since 1992 are at (ScholarsArchive@OSU). ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ September 2004 BIRD FIELD NOTES Because of a pressing issue, the September bird notes were not written and included in the September Sandpiper. Perhaps they will be written in the future. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ October BIRD FIELD NOTES Through Oct. 26 from the October 2004 Sandpiper 25(8) Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Bayview Pasture: pasture/field near creek about 0.4 mile east of junction of North Alsea Bay Road with South Beaver Creek Road, Beaver Creek: creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Boiler Bay: State Wayside about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, Eckman Lake: lake 2 mi east of Waldport along Hwy 34, HMSC: OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, Idaho Flats: large embayment just east of HMSC, Newton Hill: about midway between Toledo and Siletz along HWY 229, Ona Beach: State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along Hwy 101 at Beaver Creek, Spanish Head: near resort at 4009 SW Highway 101 north of Taft in Lincoln City, Thiel Creek: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, Tidewater: about 8 mi east of Waldport. * * * * * * * * * * * WINDOWS AND BIRD STRIKES Klem et al. recently reported that bird collisions with glass results in more bird deaths than any other human-associated factor and is comparable to mortality by cats. Much of the mortality from bird strikes can be unnoticed because dead or stunned birds are in vegetation or are taken by scavengers. They found that angling glass downward 20-40 degrees from the vertical decreased bird deaths--but retrofitting windows is not very practical. However, they also discovered that they had no bird fatalities when bird feeders were within 1 meter (about 3 feet) of a window and that there were few mortalities for feeders 2 meters (6.5 feet) from a window. But mortalities approximately tripled when the distance increased from 2 to 3 meters (10 ft) and approximately quadrupled when the feeder- window distance increased from 3 meters to 5-10 meters (16-33 feet). So one way to decrease bird deaths may be to move feeders closer to windows. (Their article is in "Effects of window angling, feeder placement, and scavengers on avian mortality at place glass," 2004 Wilson Bulletin 116:69- 73.) Locally, DG has also found that hanging shiny, plastic strips or spinners outside windows seems to work better than putting black falcon silhouettes on windows. The combination of shining light and movement appears to get the attention of birds better than a stationary silhouette. * * * * * * * * * * * GREBES-EGRETS An uncommon CLARK'S GREBE was at Boiler Bay on 10/5 (PP). It was a good month for tubenoses. WH saw 1 rare BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER at Boiler Bay on 9/26. During the 10/2 pelagic trip out of Newport to Heceta Bank, observers saw 1 rare MANX SHEARWATER, 2 rare FLESH- FOOTED SHEARWATERS, many other shearwaters and storm-petrels as well as up to 200 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES (TS). During the 10/18 pelagic to Heceta Bank on 10/18, another 2-3 Flesh-footed Shearwaters were noted as well as 160 Black-footed Albatrosses (JF). On 10/17, PP spotted a FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL from Spanish Head. BROWN PELICANS were very numerous along the coast, and the high count inside Alsea Bay was of 90 north of the Port Docks on 10/7 (SaL). The first flock of southerly flying DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS was spotted flying past southwest Newport on 10/26 (RB). From a distance and with casual observation, they could be mistaken for migrating geese. The peak GREAT EGRET count was of 26 at Idaho Flats on 9/22 (JL), and another was at Eckman Lake on 10/18 (SaL). More unexpected is one flying south about a half mile off Spanish Head on 10/17 (PP). * * * * * * * * * * * 163R--ONE CANADA GOOSE On 9/10 and in mid-October at Idaho Flats, JL saw a Western Canada Goose with 163R on its neck collar. RL reports that it was banded by the ODFW in 1992 at either Florence or Lincoln City. When L&LS lived at Sandpiper Village near Waldport, they as well as KM contributed many reports of neck-collared geese that I forwarded to the ODFW. I have partially compiled these records, and 163R was at Eckman Lake on 11/9/1993, Bayview Pasture on 5/18/1994 and 12/7/1994, Eckman Lake on 12/16/1994, south Beaver Creek on 3/18/1995, with goslings near Eckman Lake on 7/9/1995, at Bayview Pasture on 1/14/1996, and at Eckman Lake on 7/28/1996. The gap in records since 1996 is probably mostly a result of L&LS moving away. Perhaps the ODFW has additional records--I have not contacted them to find out. But from what we do know, 163R was pretty much a "home-body" during at least 1993-1996, but, like many other collared Western Canada Geese, has also traveled to other estuaries. * * * * * * * * * * * OTHER WATERFOWL On 9/29, RL observed CACKLING GEESE that were likely Aleutians over Yaquina Bay; on 10/7 at Boiler Bay, PP noted 260 Cacklers in 2 flocks that were mostly Aleutians, and another 47 passed there on 10/9 (PP & WH). On 10/22, at Boiler Bay, PP noted several flocks "4 miles or more out coming in almost due east off the ocean before turning about 1 mile out." Other flocks were also passing over Eckman Lake on 10/23 (RL) and by Boiler Bay on 10/26 (PP). 1 or 2 noisy flocks of GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE circled in fog over Devils Lake on 9/25 (DH). Flocks were also flying south inland of Spanish Head on 10/17 (PP), and "all day long" flying towards the north-northeast over Thornton Creek (which is about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20) on 10/26 (DF). A juvenile was grounded at Yachats State Park on 10/4-21 (BB, SaL). By 10/13, BB and others left barley and other grains, and BB reports that it had been eating heartily. It was joined by another juvenile on 10/21, and both were last seen later that day (SaL, BB). Some waterfowl may drop out of migration because of inadequate energy reserves, so the grains may have helped. Another 6 were grounded at Idaho Flats with Western Canada Geese on 10/10 (RL). Arriving waterfowl that doesn't include stragglers that may have oversummered: flock of 55 AMERICAN WIGEON at Idaho Flats on 9/23 (JL), NORTHERN SHOVELERS and flock of 78 NORTHERN PINTAILS at Idaho Flats on 9/30 (JL), RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS past Spanish Head on 10/17 (PP), and RING- NECKED DUCKS at Eckman Lake on 10/18 (SaL). There was a big push south of waterfowl in mid-October. On 10/17 at Spanish Head, PP estimated at least 7,000 NORTHERN PINTAILS were flying south mixed with scoters and at least 10,000 Green-winged Teal. On 10/22 at Boiler Bay, PP estimated another 3,000 pintails and 1,000 Green-winged Teal. A male HARLEQUIN DUCK was at Boiler Bay on 10/9 (MP); 6 were at Boiler Bay on 10/12 (PP), and 3 pairs graced Otter Rock on 10/21 (CS). About 7,700 SURF SCOTERS flew south during WH's Boiler Bay seawatch on 9/26, and PP estimated 4,500 flying south there the next day and at least 22,000 on 10/17 past Spanish Head. 1-2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were flying south with scoters past Boiler Bay or Spanish Head on 9/27, 10/7, and 10/17, and 10/24 (PP). A flock of about 20 female/immature RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were at Idaho Flats during the 10/22 YBNFT. They were carefully differentiated from Common Mergansers by bill and forehead characteristics; Commons nest here and flock in lower estuaries in late summer with plumage that is similar to Red-breasteds (see Kaufman 1990 Am. Birds 44:1203-1205). * * * * * * * * * * * RAPTORS-GODWITS On 10/10, 1 adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was on a power line at Ona Beach (RL), and another was at Gorton Rd. southeast of Lincoln City on 10/10 (PS). Our latest OSPREY was at Yachats Bay on 10/19 (BB), and our only WHITE-TAILED KITE was near Yaquina Bay's LNG tank on 10/19 (JL). It was an excellent month for MERLIN reports with singletons at the HMSC on 9/28 (which was chasing a crow), 9/29, 10/15, 10/21 (JL; RL; RO). Another was near RL's Eckman Lake home on 10/23 and SaL's Yachats home on 10/25. JL writes about the 9/29 Merlin: "It turned its head all the way around so I got a good look at the face markings. It appears to be a Taiga form (ala Sibley) based on the clearly visible narrow white banding on the tail with a broad black terminal band and very narrow white terminal edging, darkish eyeline with lighter line above the eye." A PEREGRINE FALCON was "strafing" ducks at Idaho Flats on 10/15 (JL) and was also there during the 10/22 YBNFT. The YBNFT had excellent viewing of a perched adult BALD EAGLE at Idaho Flats that after flying, then landed nearby and entertained us with its loud calling. An out-of-place probable MOUNTAIN QUAIL visited the HMSC on 10/15 (DG). Our first AMERICAN COOTS were of about 50 at Eckman Lake on 10/9 (SaL); they used to be common and numerous, but they have become harder to find since the introduction of grass carp to Devils Lake. Shorebird sightings of particular note include 4 WANDERING TATTLERS at Yaquina Head on 9/19 (BLM) and 24 MARBLED GODWITS at Idaho Flats on 10/4 (JL). * * * * * * * * * * * SKUA-ALCIDS During the 10/2 pelagic trip to Heceta Bank, 3 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS, 9 POMARINE JAEGERS, 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS, and 1 LONG-TAILED JAEGER were tallied (TS). At Boiler Bay, there was a likely Parasitic on 9/26 (WH), a Parasitic on 10/5 (PP), 10/9 (PP & WH), 1 skua, 5 Parasitic, and 16 Pomarines on 10/22 (PP), and 1 Pomarine on 10/26 (PP); at Spanish Head, 2 Parasitic and 37 Pomarines were identified on 10/17 (PP). 1-2 FRANKLIN'S GULL flew past Boiler Bay or Spanish Head on 9/27 and 10/17, and 10/22 (PP). PP noted many CALIFORNIA GULLS flying by Boiler Bay or Spanish Head during his October seawatches, with a peak count of at least 13,000 on 10/17. During his 10/17 Spanish Head seawatch, PP also estimated at least 6,000 HEERMANN'S GULLS, 4,000 WESTERN GULLS, 400 HERRING GULLS, 5 THAYER'S GULLS, and 1 adult GLAUCOUS GULL. Beached alcids during September along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach included 22 COMMON MURRES, 5 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, and 3 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS (B&SLo, LO). This is about "normal." On 9/27 and 10/5 and 10/17, PP saw 1-6 ANCIENT MURRELETS at Boiler Bay or Spanish Head. PP & WH saw a TUFTED PUFFIN flying south past Boiler Bay on 10/9; PP often saw 1-3 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS at Boiler Bay during his seawatches with a high count of 120 on 10/16. CASSIN'S AUKLETS were numerous offshore during the 10/2 (TS) and 10/18 (JF) pelagic trips, but 1- 30 were only noted onshore during PP's 10/17 Spanish Head and 10/22 and 10/24 Boiler Bay seawatches. * * * * * * * * * * * OWL-CORVIDS A NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was at Newton Hill in early October (JL). At J&KC's home about 4 miles east of Waldport, the last RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was spotted on 9/19 and the first ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD on 9/21. A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER arrived at Newton Hill in late September (JL). Another appeared at RF & CG's Newport home on 10/2 and spent most of its time foraging for insects on their spruce trees but "has also been dining on salal berries." They tend to show up in late summer and early fall. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was apparently eating evergreen huckleberries at Thiel Creek on 10/21 (BLo). The first NORTHERN FLICKER with yellow- shafts this fall was at J&KC's home east of Waldport on 9/29, and GM got some exquisite photos of one that was stunned after hitting a window at his Newport home on 10/25. 5 GRAY JAYS were in lower Carson Creek in Yachats Valley on 10/23 (RL)--they often show up in lowlands in fall and winter. JL saw 200 AMERICAN CROWS at Idaho Flats on 9/30. Sometimes these "parliaments" vociferously deliberate. Corvids in other areas have been decimated by West Nile Virus, which has been documented in Benton County but not yet in Lincoln County. Perhaps these large flocks of crows will become a thing of the past? A COMMON RAVEN was at the HMSC on 10/4 and 2 were near the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 10/5 (JL). These sightings continue their recent trend of being regular in lower Yaquina Bay. At their Tidewater home on 10/6, BW writes: "We've taken down our feeders for a few months because all we seemed to be attracting were 6 STELLER'S JAYS who promptly emptied them and the result was mysterious clumps of millet and sunflowers coming up in unlikely places." * * * * * * * * * * * NUTHATCH-YELLOW HOUSE FINCH The first RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH in 2 years at B&PW's Tidewater home was determined on 10/6; they had arrived in September at J&KC's home east of Waldport. At their Thiel Creek home, BLo noted that he and SLo "were at the breakfast table on 10/24 when an almost golden robin-sized bird lit on the sunlit end of a high pine branch with breast to the sun. On examination with glasses it was a male VARIED THRUSH with golden breast and head color. It was beautiful in the sunlight. The evening of 10/25, I saw another male Varied Thrush of the deeper orange usual color." They often do not show up in lowlands until later. Our only AMERICAN PIPIT report was of one at Boiler Bay on 10/16 (PP). A SONG SPARROW was eating blackberries at JW's Waldport home on 9/23, and our first FOX SPARROW debarked at J&KC's home east of Waldport was on 9/27. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at a new clearcut in the upper Eckman Lake drainage on 10/11 (RL)--they are generally seen right along the coast, so that site is unusual, although the longspur may have been attracted to the barrenness of the clearcut. An influx of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS to the HMSC occurred by 9/27 with about 60 on 10/15 (JL). JL writes on 10/20: "My first fall WESTERN MEADOWLARK at the HMSC was perched in the top of a small spruce tree, with his beautiful golden breast glowing in the warm sun. He seemed to enjoy it and warbled a few notes, which I enjoyed." About 50 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES lingered at AC's Logsden feeders on 10/25. A yellow HOUSE FINCH visited DG's feeder at the HMSC on 10/20. The yellow color is caused by a diet deficiency. Observers: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Jorrie & Ken Ciotti, Ann Cunningham, Dick Demarest, Darrel Faxon, Roy Filby, Joe Fontaine, Dawn Grafe, Cathy Grimm, Dave Helzer, Wayne Hoffman, Janet Lamberson, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Kathy Merrifield, Guy Monroe, Robert Olson, Laimons Osis, Matt Peterson, Phil Pickering, Carol Shillitto, Lloyd & Luella Seabury, Tom Snetsinger, Paul Sullivan, Jean Weakland, Bunny & Pat Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT of RB and DD).
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations: Beaver Creek: creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, Boiler Bay: State Wayside about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, Eckman Lake: lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, Fox Creek: about 1 mile south of Seal Rocks, HMSC: OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, Idaho Flats: large embayment just east of HMSC, LNG tank: large green Liquefied Natural Gas tank on the north side of Yaquina Bay about 1.5 miles east of Yaquina Bay Bridge, Ona Beach: State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, Thiel Creek: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, Whale Cove at Rocky Creek State Wayside about 3 mi N of Otter Rock and 3 mi S of Depoe Bay along HWY 101, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
There was a particularly major southerly movement past Boiler Bay on 11/3 of PACIFIC LOONS (12,000+) and RED-THROATED LOONS (6,000+), on 11/16 with 10,000+ Pacifics and 1,500+ Red-throateds, and on 11/18 with 34,000+ Pacifics and 6,000+ Red-throateds (PP).
At least 23 PIED-BILLED GREBES (20 of which hatched this year) at Eckman Lake on 10/24 (KM) is a very large number.
Our only EARED GREBE was near the Wecoma Dock near the HMSC on 11/21 (TS).
At Boiler Bay, TL spotted a rare BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER on 10/30, and PP detected a MANX-type SHEARWATER on 11/3, 9, & 18.
In contrast to last year when many NORTHERN FULMARS were found in October along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach, only 8 were found this year (B&SLo, LO). During KM's 10/24 seawatch at Whale Cove, she noted a flock of about 40 light-phase fulmars, with approximately 20% of all fulmars she saw being dark-phase. On 11/9 at Boiler Bay, PP estimated 100 fulmars and that all were dark-phase. Although, on average, about 90% of fulmars here may be classed as dark-phase, light-phase fulmars do sometimes predominate.
BROWN PELICANS were numerous with high counts of 230 at YBSJ on 10/23 (JS & CC), and 350-500 past Boiler Bay: on 11/3, 9, 16 & 18, but only 20-80 on 11/19, 23, 24, & 25 (PP).
The southerly DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT migration continued with flocks of 7-80 past SW Newport on 10/27, 11/4, & 11/11 (RB). But PP had "V" flocks of 700 and 500 at Boiler Bay on 11/3 (PP). RL writes: "On 11/4, I observed a flock of about 170 Double-crested Cormorants migrating south of Siletz Bay. I pulled over thinking they were going to be geese--fooled again." It is very easy to do so! On 11/12, DP observed a flock of 25 flying south at New River (Curry Co.), and TW reported to DP that he has regularly seen these flocks in the Cape Blanco area, so this migration extends down the Oregon Coast.
On 10/31, JL detected a lone TUNDRA SWAN with a tiny yellow spot in front of its eye in a pasture on the west side of Highway 229 (the road to the town of Siletz) about 1 mile north of the junction of Highway 20 and Highway 229 at the Dairy Queen. It was still there on 11/1, 3, 7, & 20, but was gone some days, so it is not a steady resident there (JL).
Kevin Dawson's graduate research is to determine how sedentary the Humboldt Bay Western Canada Geese are (fide RL). They were initially transplanted from Nevada during 1987-1998, and preliminary results indicate that about 20% leave Humboldt Bay and travel as far as Alberta and British Columbia. Some probably are along the Oregon Coast. Humboldt geese have been marked with black neck bands with 3 white letters, and if you see one of them, please record the letters, date, and site and report at http://www.humboldt.edu/~jmb7002/resightings.shtml or send information to Kevin at email@example.com or Kevin Dawson, Dept. of Wildlife, Humboldt State Univ., 1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA 95521. Thanks!
Speaking of collared Western Canada Geese, KM spotted 244R (black numbers and letters on a white collar) at Eckman Lake on 10/24 along with 59 other Westerns, including 2 Western X domestic goose hybrids. The ODFW put white collars on some Western Canada Geese. Lincoln County records that I have compiled of 244R indicate that it was at Eckman Lake and the Alsea Bay area on 8/1/94, 4/13/95, 10/15/95, and 1/14/96.
Our only CACKLING GEESE were 4 passing Boiler Bay on 11/1 (PP).
JL spotted the first BLACK BRANT (15) inside Yaquina Bay at Idaho Flats on 11/3--some arrived the last week of October in the 1980's (SemiL), but in recent years, the trend has been for arrivals in early November. Interestingly, PP did not observe Brant flying by Boiler Bay until a mid- afternoon seawatch on 11/15, in spite of 1-3.5 hr morning seawatches on 11/1, 3, 4, 9, and 10--perhaps they were migrating mainly in the afternoon at that time?
D&AH discovered 2 EURASIAN WIGEON amongst about a thousand AMERICAN WIGEON at Idaho Flats on 11/21. There were 6 NORTHERN PINTAILS at the North Lagoon on Salishan Spit at Siletz Bay on 11/24 (GC)--they were also often reported at Yaquina Bay.
80 RING-NECKED DUCKS at Eckman Lake on 10/24 (KM) is a goodly number.
One rare adult male STELLER'S EIDER and one probable, rare KING EIDER were flying with loons about 500 yards offshore of Boiler Bay on 11/18 (PP).
Surf and White-winged Scoters were regularly seen migrating past Boiler Bay (PP), but the largest concentration on the water was about 2,000 BLACK SCOTERS north of Yaquina Head on 11/21 (D&AH). That has also been a favored area for Black Scoters in the past.
A lone BUFFLEHEAD visited Tidewater (about 11 miles east of Waldport) along with a male and 4 female HOODED MERGANSERS on 11/17 (B&PW). While Buffleheads are pretty ubiquitous, they are not so at that site.
HARLEQUIN DUCK reports include 1 female at YBSJ on 10/23 (JS & CC), 1 female at the north end of Depoe Bay during the 11/20 YBNFT, and 1 male flying by Boiler Bay on 11/25 (WH).
4 LONG-TAILED DUCKS flew with strings of southerly migrating scoters at Boiler Bay on 11/3 (PP).
On 10/24 at Idaho Flats, KM studied 17 COMMON MERGANSERS in female- type plumage that were sometimes with and sometimes apart from 4 RED- BREASTED MERGANSERS in female-type plumage. Separating these two species in September and October can be tough as female/immature Commons can then have plumage similar to Red-breasteds; they can be best distinguished then by bill and head shape and nostril position (Kaufman 1990 Am. Birds 44:1203-1205).
It continues to be a good fall for RED-SHOULDERED HAWK reports with sightings of 1 at the HMSC on 10/18 (JL) and an immature perched on a power line along HWY 101 at Ona Beach on 11/21 (TS) and 11/22 (RL).
Single male or female/immature NORTHERN HARRIERS were common at the HMSC in late October with one mobbed by 7 crows on 10/22 (JL). An adult male was common near the HMSC in early Nov., and JL carefully checked to be sure that it did not have any wing-tags as some may be tagged.
On 10/28, RL "had a crow chasing a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK outside our USFWS office at the HMSC. It was quite a chase. At times the hawk would perch low in a tree with the crow near the top, but as soon as the hawk flew, the crow would pursue." Perhaps the same one was also there on 11/18 & 19, and RL writes: "At times it would chase birds and at other times it would be chased by crows."
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was near LNG Tank on 10/19 (JL) and along the HMSC Nature Trail on 11/5 & 8 (JL).
1 PEREGRINE FALCON was along HMSC Nature Trail on 10/23 (JS & CC) and at Boiler Bay on 11/9 (PP). On 11/18, TM noted that: "two Peregrine Falcons aerially harassed a Red-tailed Hawk above the Interpretive Center parking lot at Yaquina Head. In the process, the falcons emitted high- pitched calls reminiscent of Bald Eagles." They are far more often seen than heard. Another Peregrine was perched on a piling in middle of Idaho Flats on 11/21 (D&AH).
A MERLIN was in a dead alder near the HMSC on 10/18 (JL), 1 was chasing a SANDERLING near the HMSC on 10/27 (SS, DG, MM), 1 was near the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/28 (RL) on 11/5 (RL & DP), and 1 graced Boiler Bay on 11/18 (PP). On 11/20 at the YBSJ, WH saw an adult female Merlin feeding on a Sanderling, and "Then a crow lit next to it. The merlin began screaming, as the crow jumped back and forth from one side of it to the other. A second crow joined them, and then the merlin flew off carrying the remains, with the two crows in pursuit. Just then a female Northern Harrier showed up. I suspect the appearance of the Harrier precipitated the Merlin's flight."
Our only AMERICAN KESTREL was a singleton that appeared the second week of November about 2.5 miles up Beaver Creek road; one has regularly wintered at Beaver Creek in recent years (LO).
A healthy pair of MOUNTAIN QUAIL started feeding under BB's feeders in Yachats on 10/30.
4 MARBLED GODWITS were at Idaho Flats on 11/4 (JL), and 2 were at Siletz Bay mudflats along with 1 RUDDY TURNSTONE during the YBNFT. Ruddys are uncommon in winter, but this one was carefully identified on the basis of plumage color--some Black Turnstones can have reddish legs in winter.
ROCK SANDPIPERS were noted at several sites, with 1 at Seal Rock on 11/21 (TS), 2 had been along the rocks just below the west sidewalk along HWY 101 in Depoe Bay during 2 days in mid-November but the day of the 11/20 YBFT only 1 was seen along the ocean front just south of the inlet into Depoe Bay, and another was with Surfbirds and Black Turnstones on the YBSJ on 11/28 (AM).
A flock of about 250 WHIMBRELS flew south in a "V" over Whale Cove on 10/24 (KM).
There were 1-80 RED PHALAROPES at Boiler Bay on 11/3, 4, 15, 17, & 25 but huge numbers of 800-1,500+ were there only on 11/16 & 18 (PP).
The only jaegers were 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS and 3 POMARINE JAEGERS at Boiler Bay on 10/29 (PP).
The "gull pond/puddle" along the YBSJ, once a good birding site, is now a scene of salvage for a tuna boat that sunk--WH is attempting to assure that the site will be restored after salvage is complete. Thanks Wayne!
At north Siletz Bay on 11/27, PP found a concentration of 1,200 gulls--roughly 50% HERRING GULLS, 40% MEW GULLS, and 10% CALIFORNIA GULLS.
300-2,000+ HEERMANN'S GULLS were recorded during PP's 10/28-11/3 seawatches at Boiler Bay, but an average of only 5 (range 0-20) during his 11 subsequent seawatches, so most have appeared to have migrated by Nov. 3.
During October, the only alcids that were washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach were 1 MARBLED MURRELET and 6 COMMON MURRES (B&SLo, LO). 5 live Marbleds were at Whale Cove on 10/24 (KM). On 10/28 and 10/29 at Boiler Bay, PP had a good variety of alcids with 800- 3000 murres, 10-200 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, 4-6 Marbled Murrelets, and 1-6 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS; these species were also often noted during other November Boiler Bay seawatches, with a peak count of 350 Rhinos on 11/1 (PP). 1-60 ANCIENT MURRELETS were present during 9 of 10 Boiler Bay seawatches in November with peak counts of 120 (11/9) and 170 (11/18)(PP). In contrast, PP only found 1 CASSIN'S AUKLET on 11/1 & 4. The only TUFTED PUFFIN was a flyby at Yaquina Head on 11/21 (AH).
Our latest MOURNING DOVE was a singleton feeding at MN's Fox Creek home on 11/15, and DF spotted a BAND-TAILED PIGEON at Thornton Creek (which is about midway between Toledo and Eddyville) on 11/29, which is late for Lincoln Co., though we have at least a couple of years with records in Dec. and January (SemiL), but DF did not have any November-March records at Thornton Creek during 1973-1990 (http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#thornton_creek.
RC reports that she is just not seeing the birds at her Wandemere (about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101) feeders like she used to. One reason is "the neighbor who used to put out pounds of seed has quit feeding, and the Ona Beach ROCK PIGEON flock who used to frequent their place finally found our feeders, which they never had done before. To discourage them I've quit putting out most of the feeders, just scattering a little seed in the bushes for the sparrows. Until such time as I can come up with a feeder cage design to foil the pigeons, we are not likely to see much of note. Sigh....."
SK reported seeing a rare GREAT GRAY OWL while elk hunting on federal forest land near Yachats on 11/16; unfortunately access at the site is limited, and LO was unsuccessful in relocating it. SK has experience with owls as he has worked on Spotted Owl surveys (fide LO), but a Great Gray is unexpected. There has been some speculation that northern owls are moving south this fall, so maybe this sighting is an indication of things to come.
A NORTHERN FLICKER has often been roosting on top of MN's bat house roof under the eaves of his Fox Creek barn in November.
On 10/24, AO found an uncommon TROPICAL KINGBIRD foraging from utility lines near Devils Punch Bowl State Park in Otter Rock. At least one is often found every fall, but this has been our only report this fall.
On 11/14, RL was in upper Yachats River watershed, when a flock of 12 silent GRAY JAYS flew by--if he hadn't of looked up at the right time he might not have seen them working through the alders. On 11/21, KS had Gray Jays at her North Beaver Creek feeder (fide LO).
On 11/23, a small band of VARIED THRUSHES continued in Yachats (SaL). On 11/13, PD saw a HERMIT THRUSH on a Toledo telephone wire "chipping" away--they are generally on the ground. On 11/19, a flock of BUSHTITS were in Toledo (PD)--they are erratically reported, and it is rare that they are found each month through a year (SemiL).
Our first NORTHERN SHRIKE of the fall was at the HMSC on 11/8 (JL)-- some years we have had none (SemiL). Our only AMERICAN PIPIT was a singleton at Boiler Bay on 10/28 (PP).
On 10/27, MP found a PALM WARBLER near the north HMSC Nature Trailhead and promptly reported it, so that SS, DG, and MM went out and saw it and a second one. At least one remained there on 10/29 (JL) and 11/8 (JL). On 11/21, D&AH saw one at the Trailhead, and it flew off towards the shore pine at the northwest corner of the HMSC Visitor's Center Parking lot.
A pair of TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS was at Toledo in mid-November (J&ST).
CR found our only SNOW BUNTING at Yaquina Head on 11/13 (fide HN).
A WESTERN MEADOWLARK was at the YBSJ on 10/23 (JS & CC), and 1-2 were often noted in late October and early November near the HMSC (JL).
MN observed possible, rare PINE GROSBEAKS in the tops of shore pines near his Fox Creek home on 11/12 (10) and 11/17 (7). MN noted that they seemed to be robin-sized, stocky, and had grosbeak-like bills--all characteristics that would distinguish them from Red Crossbills, though crossbills are much more to be expected and have often been reported lately. Identifying birds in the tops of trees can be tricky.
An uncommon LESSER GOLDFINCH visited J&LM's feeder near east side of Sallys Bend in early November.
Observers/Sources: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Gert Carey, Rebecca Cheek, Cliff Cordy, Dick Demarest, Pat Dickey, Darrel Faxon, Dawn Grafe, Dan & Anne Heyerly, Wayne Hoffman, Steve Kupillas, Janet Lamberson, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Tom Love, Roy Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Arch McCallum, Kathy Merrifield, Michelle Michaud, Terry Morse, Harry Nehls, Michael Noack, Andrew Orahoske, Laimons Osis, Mike Patterson, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin, Celeste Ramsey, Kate Scannell, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Tim Shelmerdine, Steve Shunk, Jamie Simmons, Jim & Shirley Thielen, Bunny & Pat Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by DD).
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations: BEAVER CREEK: creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, BOILER BAY: State Wayside about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, DARKEY CREEK: creek about 4 miles east of Waldport along HWY 34 that flows into Alsea River, ECKMAN LAKE: lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC: OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, IDAHO FLATS: large embayment just east of HMSC, LNG TANK: large green Liquefied Natural Gas tank on the north side of Yaquina Bay about 1.5 miles east of Yaquina Bay Bridge, ONA BEACH: State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, SALLYS BEND: large Yaquina Bay embayment east of the LNG tank, THIEL CREEK: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge.
There is a low overhead power line along HWY 34 between the north end of Eckman Lake and Alsea Bay. The morning of 12/12, RL was walking around Eckman Lake towards HWY 34, and observed: "Out over the lake a COMMON LOON was flying with a tail and side wind north from the lake towards the Alsea River. It approached the power line adjacent to the highway at the same altitude as the wires and flew right into them! I couldn't believe it since it was clear with a solid cloud cover, but the wires were obviously invisible to the bird as it never tried to avoid them. It crashed into the marsh below. When I got over to the location, the loon was in the water and injured. It went into sneek mode with only its head above water and made shallow dives as it headed out into the river. I've seen numerous dead BUFFLEHEADS and AMERICAN COOTS on HWY 34 which were likely power line strikes, but I have to wonder how many birds die on that line as anything hitting the wires flying out into the river would fall in the river and not be seen. Only those birds that are flying in and hit the wires in a certain manner would end up on the road. I think I'll talk to PUD about this"
RL further notes: "Just before dark, large numbers of ducks leave Eckman Lake and fly out to the river. It is often late enough that there's not a lot of light. Anything hitting the wires then would not be seen or found. I assume there is a reverse flight in the morning because I'm finding dead ducks on the road at 6:30 AM. It is indeed a bad place for the wires."
RB has also noted waterbird deaths by overhead wires across waterbird flight corridors at Oregon bays in the mid-1970's, including a dead GREAT BLUE HERON hanging in the wires at the bridge at Charleston and a dead female merganser below the overhead wires between the West and East Ponds between the HMSC & Oregon Coast Aquarium. The overhead wires at the West and East Ponds have since been removed.
KM found Sallys Bend on 11/28 to be good for grebes with an EARED GREBE, 4 RED-NECKED GREBES, 30 HORNED GREBES, and about 200 WESTERN GREBES.
During November, only 6 NORTHERN FULMARS were found along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, LO)--last year there were many.
While walking quietly around Eckman Lake on 12/12, RL found a GREEN HERON (which are now rarely found in winter). Our GREAT EGRET included 2 at Sallys Bend and 1 at Eckman Lake on 11/28 (KM) and 1in the Beaver Creek valley on 12/17 (LO). 1-2 GREAT BLUE HERONS are occasional to locally common along the open coast, and one was noted at Yaquina Head on 11/10 (BLM).
BLACK BRANT numbers at Yaquina Bay continue to be lower than in the 1980's, with only 80 found on 12/9, 112 on 12/16 (JL), and 114 on 12/22 (RB). A CACKLING GOOSE hatched in 2004 that was only slightly larger than the Mallards it was with in Newport at Little Creek Cove on 12/12 (JB).
Duck courtship appears to occur here in November as KM noted male displays and attention to females at Eckman Lake on 11/28 for GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GADWALL, RING-NECKED DUCKS, and BUFFLEHEADS.
An EURASIAN WIGEON was in Idaho Flats near the HMSC Nature Trail on 12/3 & 6 (JL). A LONG-TAILED DUCK was at Yaquina Bay on 11/14 (EH) and Alsea Bay (an unexpected location) on 11/30 (BLo).
600 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 800 SURF SCOTERS were mostly flying south past Boiler Bay on 12/14 (PP). At Sallys Bend on 11/28, KM watched a Surf Scoter surface with a clam in its bill that was about 7/8 of the vertical width of its head. The scoter rotated and struggled with the clam for at least 30 seconds before swallowing it whole. It then rested for about 15 seconds before diving again. As KM writes: "Here's proof that scoters really do swallow [clams] whole, including the shell."
The East Cascades Bird Conservancy is sponsoring this new project to determine wintering raptors in Oregon during December-March. If you are interested in putting together a route in your area, please contact Jeff Fleischer (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Albany, and he will be able to let you know where the current routes are located and how to set a route up to survey. The first 11 routes averaged 87 miles in length and took an average of 5.7 hr/route.
In Lincoln County, RC & WN and WH set up a route from Waldport to Siletz Bay, then inland to Siletz and Toledo, and then back to the coast along Yaquina River. They completed the first Lincoln County Raptor Run of 119 miles on 12/18 in 7.5 hrs. A total of 29 raptors were observed:
Red-tailed Hawk 14 American Kestrel 2 Northern Harrier 3 (males) Bald Eagle 4 (2 adult, 2 immature) White-tailed Kite 3 (1 immature) Cooper's Hawk 2 (1 adult, 1 immature) Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Locations for raptors other than Red-tails by RC:
KESTRELS: one in a pasture along Hwy 229 and one on Miller Rd (both a few miles N of Siletz).
HARRIERS: one seen across the water from Bayview Pasture [on north side of Alsea Bay], two at HMSC.
BALD EAGLE: one subadult passed us flying S as we were stopped at Seal Rock pullout; saw another subadult flying over the upper Alsea Bay (seen from Bayview Rd.); one adult sitting in the mud at Idaho Flats (seen from the pullout at Spencer House), and one adult perched in a tree at Boiler Bay.
WHITE-TAILED KITES: two probable adults perched together in a treetop at HMSC Nature Trail, one subadult at the LNG tank.
COOPER'S HAWKS: one adult perched in a treetop along S. Beaver Creek Rd, one immature sitting on a drift log at HMSC Nature Trail.
The SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was only seen because it came out to harass a perched Red-tailed Hawk along South Beaver Cr. Road.
Their route gives a good estimate of relative raptor abundance in Lincoln County, though they did not see Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, Red- shouldered Hawks, or Goshawks which is understandable because of these raptors fleetness, inconspicuousness, or low abundance. Rough-legged Hawks and Golden Eagles are rarely found in Lincoln County.
RC & WN invite anyone who would like to ride along or even run the route during Jan.-March to contact them at 541-867-4699 or email@example.com on it and have an adventure!
Probably our best fall/winter for RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS continues with EH noting 1 near his home in South Beach during 2 days in October, 4 days in November, and 4 days in December. There was an adult along the HMSC Nature Trail on 12/14, and an adult there on 12/20 flew towards Embarcadero across the Bay (JL). One was also on wires just north of Ona Beach on 12/16 (SM & DP).
1-2 BALD EAGLES are regularly noted, but on 12/10, JW spotted 3 perched in the big tree at Ona Beach and when she drove around the next bend, another was on a log on the beach.
SK saw the rarest raptor this month on 12/22 as he was driving along North Yaquina Bay Road near the intersection with Hidden Valley Road, when an adult NORTHERN GOSHAWK flew "Right out of the trees on one side of the road and into the trees on the other side." SK was lucky and notes that "When I worked as a biologist for Georgia Pacific, I saw only two in the two years I was in the woods. Once was in a thick approximately 40 year old reproductive forest flying fast and another time when I was driving down a road in similar habitat, one broke out of the woods and flew down the road in front of me for about a hundred yards and did a ninety degree turn right back into the trees without so much as slowing down. It would be cool to put a camera on one and record their flight through the trees."
A COOPER'S HAWK sat on J&KC's picnic table at Darkey Creek (Alsea) on 11/20, and another took a small bird near BB's pond in Yachats on 12/22. On 12/1, an immature SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was perched in a tree near the pond between the HMSC and Oregon Coast Aquarium, and an adult was chasing birds near the HMSC Library (PL). Others were seen in association with influxes of Pine Siskins (see below).
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was at Idaho Flats on 12/7 (EH) and at South Beach on 12/14 (DwnG).
An AMERICAN KESTREL was on a Beaver Creek power line on 12/17 (LO). 1-2 MERLINS are weekly visitors to feeders at Seal Rock in early December (S&JT). TW was "driving back from lunch on 12/21, when a female Merlin swept in front of my windshield and grabbed a EUROPEAN STARLING off the sidewalk in front of the USFWS building at the HMSC, then carried it out into the dunes."
1-2 PEREGRINE FALCONS were noted at Yaquina Head on 11/18 & 27 (BLM). On 12/10 at the HMSC, a pair were feeding on a pigeon as they were watched from people from two different buildings; the female had a white tag on her left scapular (PL), but it is unknown who put the tag there. On 12/12 at Eckman Lake, RL noted: "a Peregrine came in from the north from over the Alsea River and soared up high all over the lake area. It eventually went into a steep dive and screamed across the lake surface at high speed. There were lots of ducks present and all were alert, but nothing would dare fly! Eventually, it disappeared after three high speed runs across the lake."
On 11/27, SS opened the door to her deck in Neskowin (Tillamook Co.) and saw movement on the ground--it was a female RUFFED GROUSE that was nearly invisible when it stood still on dead alder leaves with salmonberry and elderberry bushes as a backdrop. About 6 MOUNTAIN QUAIL continue to visit BB's feeder in Yachats in early December.
On 12/7, MR noted that the storm seemed to bring flocks of BLACK TURNSTONES to the Alsea Bay Port Docks and parking lot. A BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was at Boiler Bay on 12/14 (PP). A pair of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were in the surf at Boiler Bay and another flew south on 12/14 (PP).
Some MOURNING DOVES lingered with 1 at Thiel Creek on 12/1 (BLo), and 8 in Toledo in mid-December (DwnG).
A BARN OWL at Toledo in early December (DG) is a welcome sighting because we seldom get reports of them.
At Lost Creek Estates south of Newport on 12/17, BLo saw an apparent male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD with an orangy-red throat as it looked straight at BLo. On 12/19 at their Darkey Creek home, J&KC saw a female/immature hummingbird that also appeared to be a Rufous. In other years, they have not been reported during November-January (SemiL), but Rufous have also been reported elsewhere in western Oregon this month.
At J&KC's Darkey Creek home, a female ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD was collecting cotton on 12/17, and males were sitting in their territories singing and flashing their gorgets; J&KC's video of an Anna's collecting cotton last year is at http://homepage.mac.com/wildbirds/anhu-cotton.htm
At his Thiel Creek home on 12/17, BLo noted: "I saw an apple fall when I was in the back yard this morning and went to pick it up. As I got close to the apple, movement in the tree caught my attention and looking up I saw a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER about 10 feet away. It paid me no attention as it worked around in the tree and found another apple to address. I think that it knocked the first apple down while feeding on it. The bird had a lot of red, but the chin and throat were brownish, which I took to show it to be a bird of the year." Another Red-breasted Sapsucker was noted several times in late December in a lilac tree at J&KC's Darkey Creek home.
DG saw 2 PILEATED WOODPECKERS in Toledo in early Dec., and 1 greeted NC at Idaho Point near Yaquina Bay on 12/16. On 12/21, JL spotted a hybrid NORTHERN FLICKER with yellow-shafts at the HMSC.
While steelhead fishing on the Siletz River downstream of Morgan Landing, WH spotted a rare BLACK PHOEBE in the willows and red osier dogwoods along the bank.
A pair of COMMON RAVENS were at the HMSC Nature Trail on 12/6, 9, & 16 (JL). On 12/17, JL observed: "For about an hour this morning, a solitary raven sat in and repeatedly flew from and returned to the dead alder tree along the Nature Trail, looking around and calling. Finally a second raven flew in calling and being mobbed by a bunch of crows, and settled in the dead alder below the first raven. After a brief exchange of words, both ravens flew off in separate directions - a marital dispute?"
MC is almost 93 and still observing; at her Newport home, a pair of STELLER'S JAYS were present for a few weeks this fall and "were smart enough to hang on the feeder by their toes, put their heads through the two-inch wire guard and eat their fill." The partial albino Steller's at J&KC's Darkey Creek feeders is still around.
EH has been putting up and maintaining PURPLE MARTIN houses along the Oregon Coast for several years. He reports that in 2004, 72 pairs nested at Yaquina Bay, which is an increase of 12 pairs from 2003! Thanks, EH, for making a positive difference!
A PALM WARBLER remained along the HMSC Nature Trail near the shelter on 12/17 (MT) and 12/18 (RBe).
On 12/12, LO discovered and photographed a male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at his North Beaver Creek home; VO also saw it. LO saw it in the mornings through at least 12/17.
Our only WESTERN MEADOWLARK was 1 at the HMSC on 12/22 (DM).
The influx of PINE SISKINS in early December at Yachats diminished to just 1-3 by 12/22 (BB). At J&KC's Darkey Creek home, there were over 100 siskins on 12/9 that brought in a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK; on 12/27, JC writes: "On 12/11, while the sharp-shinned was chasing a siskin, they both hit the window. The siskin died and was lying on the step above the hawk. The hawk never saw or just ignored the dead siskin and eventually flew away. He's back nearly every day. However, the flock of siskins has decided to move somewhere else. The hawk has made feeder watching gloomy because there are often no birds in sight." The siskin influx was also noted in early to mid-December and was also followed by the appearance of a SHARP- SHINNED HAWK at Coquille Point at the east side of Sallys Bend (L&JM) and about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach (RC).
2 EVENING GROSBEAKS (which can be sporadic in winter) were at Darkey Creek the first 12 days of December (J&KC).
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Renee Bellinger (RBe), Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Judy Butts, Margaret Carstens, Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti, Neal Coenen, Dawn Grafe (DwnG) & Doug Grafe (DG), Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Steve Kupillas, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, Sylvia Maulding, Dave Mellinger, Kathy Merrifield, Walt Nelson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Diane Pettey, Phil Pickering, Maggie Rivers, Shirley Schwartz, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU)), Michael Taft, Shirley & Jim Thielen, Tom Wainwright, Jean Weakland.