------------------------------- Month of Sandpiper, Volume 26 ------------------------------- January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005
Semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU).
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations: BEAVER CREEK: creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, DARKEY CREEK: creek about 4 miles east of Waldport along HWY 34 that flows into Alsea River, HMSC: OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, 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, TIDEWATER: about 8 mi east of Waldport, WANDEMERE: about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
The Yaquina Bay CBC on Sunday, January 2 was a great success! Except for icy roads in the early morning (canceling a planned owling excursion) the onshore weather was wonderful - sunny, calm, and mild after the sun was up. Wind and seas moderated so the Bird Guide pelagic trip had a fine day offshore. CBC results parallel those of other coastal counts this season in that overall numbers of birds were unexceptional, but species diversity was high. The final tally was 138 species found, setting a new count record (previous record was 132 species in 1988). This total does not include the only new-to-the-count subspecies and "Best Bird" winner: a COMMON GULL (Eurasian Mew Gull) seen offshore by several of the pelagic observers. An additional three species (AMERICAN KESTREL, GRAY JAY, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH) were found during the Count Week.
Excellent finds during the CBC included all the expected alcids, NORTHERN FULMARS, SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS, a flyover flock of 29 TUNDRA SWANS seen and heard by 2 field teams, 3 PEREGRINE FALCONS interacting over the Newport bayfront as the pelagic trip was preparing to leave the dock, at least 7 BALD EAGLES, 2 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, a SNOW BUNTING in the dunes at the north jetty, and one LONG-TAILED DUCK. Inland teams found always- elusive MOUNTAIN QUAIL and a surprise CALIFORNIA QUAIL, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, PILEATED WOODPECKER, AMERICAN DIPPER and many RED CROSSBILLS. We did not relocate the Yellow-billed Loon reported earlier in the week by Paul Sullivan. Unexplained misses were no Redheads in the always-reliable spot at Sally's Bend, no American Goldfinches, and no American Kestrels.
Many thanks to the 23 field observers, 8 feeder counters, all the intrepid pelagic explorers, and to The Bird Guide (http://thebirdguide.com) for organizing the pelagic trip.
[EDITOR'S NOTE. Many thanks also to Rebecca Cheek for being the Compiler and to Rebecca & Walt Nelson for graciously hosting the After-Count-Get- Together at their home with refreshments!]
Seabirds die and sometimes wash ashore. B&SLo and LO completed the 27th year of weekly beached bird walks along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach. BLo has been exemplary in making the results of their surveys available, and thanks to ODFW Wildlife Diversity Program funding for copying and mailing his reports, beach walk results are promptly available. In 2004, they found 326 birds other than Common Murre chicks and 171 murre chicks--both numbers are lower than usual. Other observers found high numbers of dead murre chicks in summer north of Cascade Head, so that mortality appeared to be centered on the north coast. 6 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES (5 on one walk) were the most found in one walk and in one year; the 5 were brought to shore in wrack after a heavy onshore wind that also brought a SOOTY SHEARWATER that had been banded by the Maori in 1997 as an adult on an island south of New Zealand.
Thanks to B&SLo and LO for continuing this project and to S&DB for their participation in the past!
As reported in the October Sandpiper, Klem et al. (2004 Wilson Bulletin 116:69-73) 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. So one way to decrease bird deaths is to move feeders closer to windows.
DwnG has also reported that hanging shiny, plastic strips or spinners outside windows seems to work better to reduce bird strikes 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.
This month, BB confirms that placing twisted, spiral, acrylic strips in front of her windows at Yachats has greatly reduced the fatal number of bird strikes.
A rare YELLOW-BILLED LOON (an immature) was about 1/4 mile upstream of River Bend in Yaquina Bay on 12/29 (PS). On 1/5 at the Alsea Bay Port Docks, SaL also saw a Yellow-billed, and SM found another near the YBSJ on 1/15. None were relocated, which is typical for this species.
In December, there were few dead birds found along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach, though there were 2 PACIFIC LOONS, 1 NORTHERN FULMAR, and 2 SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS (B&SLo, LO).
[image not included]. KM's field sketch of 2 "mirroring" WESTERN GREBES at Sallys Bend on 1/2. Such sketches are important in more clearly learning and documenting details of displays than written words, but her written note "Bodies were closer than this & [therefore] more upright" also helps correct the sketch.
At 4 PM on 1/2 at Sallys Bend, where WESTERN GREBES often raft during the day, KM saw 2 become upright and face the same direction and synchronously move/swim together through the water, though not as vigorously as in their "rushing" display. Afterwards, they faced each other and "mirrored" each other as in KM's sketch above for about 20 seconds before doing other displays and eventually separating.
At least 2 uncommon CLARK'S GREBES were at Sallys Bend on 1/2 (KM).
A GREAT EGRET at Milepost 30 along HWY 229 between Siletz and Toledo on 1/6 (JL) is at an unexpected, winter location; 3 at Beaver Creek during the 1/22 YBNFT are more expected.
We still have much to learn about BLACK BRANT behavior at night. On 11 & 24 February 2004, RB heard 2 flights of Brant flying west out of Yaquina Bay at 6:31 & 9:03 PM, respectively. This year at 6:27 PM on 1/12, RB heard a flock of unknown numbers flying west at about 50-200 ft above the channel past the HMSC Pump House Dock. Then in the twilight of 1/30 at 6:03 PM at the Dock, RB heard and barely saw a very wide "V" flight of a minimum of 50 Brant flying westward at an altitude of about 100-200 ft towards the north end of Yaquina Bay Bridge.
JL has been keeping regular counts of Brant at Idaho Flats, which along with Sallys Bend, are the regular areas to find Brant at Yaquina Bay in winter. On 1/3, she counted 133 and about 130 on 1/13. On 1/4, DP & MT found 1 banded Brant and 19 that hatched in 2004, with a grand total of 133. These continue the low numbers seen in recent years and are far below the 342-398 found during 5 counts at Yaquina Bay in January 1990.
A CACKLING GOOSE was with gulls along the YBSJ on 1/28 (JL), and a female LONG-TAILED DUCK was at Seal Rocks on 1/2 (KM).
2 female and 5 male HARLEQUIN DUCKS were doing lots of courtship displays at Seal Rocks on 1/2 (KM). 1 in Alsea Bay near the mouth on 1/9 (D&AH) is at a location where they are rarely reported, while the pair at 1st rock finger west of Yaquina Bay Bridge on 1/21 (RB) is more expected.
A pair of HOODED MERGANSERS near the HMSC Pump House Dock on 1/5 (JL) is surprisingly low in the Estuary for this normally freshwater species. In the Alsea near Tidewater, B&PW found a male COMMON GOLDENEYE and COMMON and HOODED MERGANSERS on 1/7.
BALD EAGLES do not frequent Yaquina Head only in summer when seabirds are nesting, but also in winter, as the BLM had BALD EAGLE reports for 12/14, 28, and 30.
On 1/3, WN & KS (a birding friend from Idaho Falls) were watching "several flocks of ducks (AMERICAN WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN PINTAIL, and MALLARDS) along the north shore of Alsea Bay when all took wing. Scanning around we picked up the cause of the distress, two adult Bald Eagles that were moving out over the bay from the north shore. As we tracked the eagles, one bird went into a sharp dive to attack a lone BUFFLEHEAD on the water that had not yet taken alarm. The Bufflehead dove, the eagle struck at the water with its talons, but missed the duck and peeled off. The Bufflehead popped to the surface and was immediately attacked again. The eagle missed and moved off a short distance, while the second eagle dropped down to participate. As soon as the duck popped back to the surface, the second eagle attacked the bird. The Bufflehead was dodging for all it was worth, and for several minutes, there was a tag team between the two eagles, with each taking turns to attack the same Bufflehead. When there was a short respite, the Bufflehead popped up again, suddenly took wing and flew off at a height of about 4 feet above the water. The first eagle gave chase, flying at the same level, and rapidly closed the distance on the fleeing Bufflehead, which was an impressive demonstration of an eagle's speed and power. Once more the eagle attacked, and the spunky Bufflehead dodged and escaped. At this point, the eagles seemed to tire of the chase and gained altitude, flushing all the ducks that has settled down while all of the pursuit went on farther out on the bay. A third adult eagle flew in from the south shore of the bay and joined the other two, and all three birds then flew inland up South Beaver Creek road. The Bufflehead high-tailed it out of the area, one assumes counting his lucky stars."
On 1/4, RC witnessed another interesting eagle interaction. She was driving north across the Yaquina Bay Bridge when she spotted 2 adult Bald Eagles flying together high over the Newport bayfront. After a few seconds it was apparent this was a high-speed chase; the birds were flying fast and separated by a very few feet, and any dip or zag by the lead bird was instantly mirrored by the follower. Realizing she would be a traffic hazard if she kept gawking at the action while driving, she pulled over at the first opportunity and continued to watch the chase. The two eagles continued to fly hard and fast across downtown Newport and the Nye Beach area, and when last seen were still involved in the chase and going north in the direction of Yaquina Head.
On 1/16, WN, WH, & RC did the second Lincoln Co. Raptor Route (see results in the following Table) that covers the coast from Alsea Bay to Siletz Bay, follows inland valleys to Siletz and Toledo, and then returns to Newport via the Yaquina Bay Road. It is very interesting to compare counts because multiple counts give a better idea of relative abundance than a single count. The only raptor to be expected that they have not yet found is Merlin, which are elusive and inconspicuous, which would make them difficult to find during road surveys. Averaging for both counts, Bald Eagles are the 2nd most abundant raptor, which may seem surprising, but then they are the largest and probably the most conspicuous raptor, too, so their high visibility may contribute more to their observed numbers than their actual abundance. Thanks for doing this route--these surveys are fascinating!
RC & WN invite anyone who would like to ride along or run the route during Feb.-March to contact them: 541-867-4699 or firstname.lastname@example.org- -go on it and have an adventure!
------------------------------------------- 12/18 1/16 ------------------------------------------- White-tailed Kite 3 1 Bald Eagle adults 2 12 " " subadults 2 1 Northern Harrier 3 0 Cooper's Hawk 2 0 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 Red-tailed Hawk 14 10 Red-shouldered Hawk 0 2 American Kestrel 2 4 Peregrine Falcon 0 1 SUM 29 32 Miles 119 121 Hours 7.5 7.5 -------------------------------------------
BB spotted an OSPREY on the beach at Yachats on 1/14--our first report in several months of this uncommon wintering species (SemiL).
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was at 35th Street in South Beach on 1/20 (EH), at Beaver Creek on 1/22 (LO), and at the HMSC on 1/26 (JL).
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS continue to be regularly observed with 1 at 35th Street in South Beach in early Jan. (EH) and 1 in the Wandemere and Makai area on 1/13 (WH & RC) and 1/22 & 23 (YBNFT; LO).
A COOPER'S HAWK was at BB's Yachats home on 12/22 and 1/14, and a SHARP-SHINNED or COOPER'S HAWK has been a regular at LH's backyard in Newport since November. On 1/20, it caught 2 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, and LH writes: "The first goldfinch was taken in flight, then to the top of the swing where the hawk stood with it (under one foot) for several minutes before flying off with it. Then, an hour or so later, a second goldfinch was picked off one of the niger seed feeders - the hawk swooped in, grabbed it, and kept going with it. Both times the hawk headed north behind our house toward the gully, with its prey. The gully is a place of mature trees - alder, spruce, a few fir and coast pine. I don't like to think I'm providing a buffet for this little raptor, but still - it's quite exciting to see so close."
SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS reports included 2 at Wandemere on 1/15 (WN), 1 at the HMSC on 1/18 (DwnG), 1 caught a Pine Siskin at L&JM's home east of Sallys Bend on 1/19, and an immature, probable female has also been hanging around RC&WN's Wandemere home during January. For Darkey Creek, JC writes on 1/25: "our Sharp-shinned Hawk is still around. We typically have one that stays here during the month of February and leaves for the summer and fall."
A MERLIN was in Yachats on 12/21 (SaL), at Tidewater in late December (P&BW), and in the Beaver Creek area during the 1/22 YBNFT.
Last month, PL reported a female PEREGRINE FALCON with a white (patagial) marker on her left scapular; in early January, he studied the bird at the HMSC closely and found that it was not a patagial marker but an injured feather that appeared like one. This aberrant feather may allow that female to be individually identifiable until molt. Another Peregrine was at Mooloch Beach north of Yaquina Head on 1/13 (WH & RC), and 1 was attacking the Rock Pigeons at the HMSC on 1/19 (DM).
CALIFORNIA QUAIL are seldom reported here, but it is not clear if this is because they are rare, observers are rarely where these quail are, or a combination of both factors. During the 1995-1999 Oregon Breeding Bird Atlas project, they were noted as "possibly" breeding in some portions of Lincoln County. During the Jan. 2 CBC, JP saw one that: "flushed about 50 yards past the gate on the road to Mike Miller Park [in South Beach] at the very end of the day. It hadn't occurred to me that it was an unusual sighting for Lincoln County because there have been two additional observations of California Quail during Marbled Murrelet surveys I've been supervising on private timber lands during the past two summers. I observed at least one bird on 10 May 2004 near Logsden. Heidi Packard, who is very reliable in her birding skills, heard a bird calling during a murrelet survey in the vicinity of Wade Creek, off the Siletz Road near Morgan Park on 1 July 2003."
MOUNTAIN QUAIL were at BB's Yachats home in late December, and 8-9 were at GS' Newport home on 12/31--she found a nest under a bush last summer, so they grew up there.
A VIRGINIA RAIL and a probable SORA were heard at Beaver Creek during the 1/22 YBNFT.
An AMERICAN COOT was at the West Log Pond between the HMSC and Oregon Coast Aquarium on 1/13 (JL)--they have become almost uncommon in recent years.
At Seal Rocks, 1 ROCK SANDPIPER foraged on 1/2 (KM) and 2 were at a high tide roost with other rockpipers on 1/25 (EH). Another was with surfbirds and turnstones along the YBSJ on 1/28 (JL).
SaL spotted an immature GLAUCOUS GULL near the Alsea Bay Port Docks on 12/30 and several days since then to at least 1/17.
Several rare HORNED PUFFINS (dead and alive) were reported along the Oregon and California coasts in mid- to late January (OBOL). In Lincoln County, January totals for the 4.6 mi beach walk north of Ona Beach have not yet been completed, but a birder from Denmark saw one fly north of Boiler Bay in mid-January (fide BS and JG), and CP found a dead, beached one about 100-150 yards south of the YBSJ that he showed to DG on 1/22.
At least 10% of the COMMON MURRES flying by Seal Rocks on 1/2 were in breeding plumage (KM)--in other winters, Common Murres in breeding plumage have also been observed, so a breed-plumaged murre now is not necessarily a Thick-billed as some field guides have mistakenly suggested.
In December, 1 RHINOCEROS AUKLET and 1 CASSIN'S AUKLET were beached along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, LO).
A BAND-TAILED PIGEON appeared at J&KC's Darkey Creek home on 1/25; they are uncommon here in January (SemiL). 20 MOURNING DOVES near DwnG & DG's Toledo home on 1/13 may be a record high number.
At about 6 AM, a GREAT HORNED OWL was calling at J&KC's home along Darkey Creek on 1/4. In these days of Homeland Security, a Great Horned was the sole sentry on the federal NAL building roof at the HMSC at 10:55 PM on 1/20 by its challenging "Who? Who? Who?" (SB; RB).
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS are regulars to feeders at Darkey Creek in winter, but there was a marked increase to 6 males on 1/5 (J&KC). They are not limited to feeders, as DwnG spotted one along the South Beach Jetty Trail on 1/13.
A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER visited LO's Beaver Creek home in late December.
A NORTHERN FLICKER with yellow-shafts was at the HMSC on 1/4 & 12 (JL) and at Wandemere on 1/9 (WN). At Darkey Creek, JC writes on 1/25: "the male yellow-shafted Northern Flicker is getting up earlier every morning since the winter solstice. He's now up and out of his roosting box at 8:05 AM. We have at least 6 different flickers around this winter. Normally, we have around 9. Our tail-less female red-shafted flicker is still around and still tail-less."
A flock of BUSHTITS were along the South Beach Jetty Trail on 1/13 (DwnG). On 1/4, JW opened the door to her gallery sun porch at Yaquina John Point in Waldport, and a bird flew in. She: "Came back out to see a beauty of a BEWICK'S WREN sitting on the back of the kitty basket near the door. Of course the bird wanted out--but how? First I just stood nearby while it hopped back and forth on the window sill near the open door. By moving to the far side of the window sill (i.e. away from the door opening), I was able to encourage it to hop toward the door and in a moment, swoosh, and our Bewick's flew away. I must say, after my concern dwindled, I was able to see from up close 'and personal' the beauty of this tiny bird. The long curved beak which seem to flow out from the eye line is a beautiful addition to the subtle feathering. What a treat!"
A PALM WARBLER remained at the HMSC on 12/29 (PS) and 1/12 (JL).
WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are either in much lower abundance this winter or they are not being reported very often as our only reports have been by PD of 1 in Toledo on 12/28, 1/3, and 1/12.
1-6 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS graced the HMSC during 5 days in early January (JL). Flocks of HOUSE FINCHES still occur in winter at the HMSC as JL noted about 50 on 1/12 & 13. EVENING GROSBEAK flocks flew over PD's Toledo home on 1/20 & 21.
The many reports and concern about PINE SISKINS that were reported last month continued into January here as well as elsewhere in western Oregon (OBOL). About 70 were at Wandemere on 1/8 & 9 (RC & WN), a flock of about 50 were noted nearly every day from 1/8-21 in Toledo (PD), and large numbers were at BB's Yachats feeders on 1/14.
On 1/13, WH wrote: "Here in South Beach we have had at least three brief episodes of siskin invasion since early December. We had about 200 all over our feeders and the ground under them Dec. 11. (Same time a lot of others had big influxes?) This was down to 30 the next morning, and then quite low since, except for 2 events of 80+ for 1-2 day periods in early Jan. In between we have had 0-10 at a time. However, there are flocks of siskins travelling around in the woods all over this area. I think they are here and abundant, but for some reason are keeping moving - not setting up residence at feeders as in previous years."
Several at TM's feeders in Waldport in late January--over a period of days, they first appeared fluffed up, then lethargic, and finally died. Contaminated food is a possibility but salmonella is more likely from bird droppings contaminating bird seed at feeders. So cleaning tray type feeders or using types of feeders where droppings don't mix with feed as in tray or platform feeders may reduce disease. For more info about salmonella, see the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center's Chap. 9 in "Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases" or search the Internet for "siskin salmonella").
The apparent decrease in siskin numbers may not be related to their mortality from disease and/or Sharp-shinned Hawk predation (which has often been noted and would be expected for lethargic siskins) but their moving through the area as suggested by WH.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Steve Bemis, Don & Sara Brown, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti, Pat Dickey, Jeff Gilligan, Dawn Grafe (DwnG) & Doug Grafe (DG), Louise Hemphill, Dan & Anne Heyerly, Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Linda & John MacKown, Dave Mellinger, Kathy Merrifield, Shawn Morgan, Tricia Morgan, Walt Nelson, OBOL (Oregon Birders On Line; recent postings with info about joining is at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Laimons Osis, Chuck Philo Dave Pitkin, Jonathan Plissner, Gerti Schramm, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Bob Stites, Kit Struthers, Paul Sullivan, Michael Taft, Jean Weakland, Pat & Bunny Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by Laimons Osis).
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, 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, TIDEWATER: about 8 mi east of Waldport, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
Rafts of 14 and 5 COMMON LOONS were west and east of the Yaquina Bay Bridge at 5 PM on 2/11 (RB), showing that they don't all roost together in rafts as night approaches.
About a 1/4 mile off Boiler Bay on 2/1, M&MD saw 5 NORTHERN FULMARS feeding on bits of fish from "a sealion thrashing around on the surface with a large fish in its mouth."
The head "whiskers" of a BRANDT'S CORMORANT roosting on pilings west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge during the 2/25 YBNFT were very visible. During this field trip, only 1 of 4 flying PELAGIC CORMORANTS had the white breeding flank patch.
JL has been monitoring the small GREAT BLUE HERON colony in lower Yaquina Bay and saw the first heron at the colony on 2/18, none on 2/23, but 15 on 2/24. In some years at other colonies, herons have been seen in late January at a colony. Their first eggs should be laid in about mid- March.
At Idaho Flats, JL counted as many as 133 BLACK BRANT in Jan. on 1/27 and as many as 124 in Feb. on 2/7 and 110 on 2/16, but on four other days in Feb., she saw 25-100.
[Image] Digiscoped photo [not included here] by Dick Demarest of a male Harlequin on one of Yaquina Bay South Jetty "fingers" during the Feb. 25 YBNFT.
A female LONG-TAILED DUCK was in the channel near Newport's Embarcadero on 2/2 (M&MD).
A pair of HOODED MERGANSERS were near the HMSC Pumphouse Dock on 1/5 & 13 (JL), and a male was inside the South Beach Marina on 2/11 (RB)--they are usually in fresher water. And a pair of COMMON MERGANSERS near the Wecoma Dock at the HMSC on 2/26 (JL) were also out of place.
M&MD discovered a RUDDY DUCK out in Depoe Bay on 2/1--generally they are inside bays.
On 2/12, WN, WH, & RC did their third Lincoln Co. Raptor Route (see following Table) that covers the coast from Alsea Bay to Siletz Bay, follows inland valleys to Siletz and Toledo, and then returns to Newport via the Yaquina Bay Road. Thanks for doing this route--these surveys are fascinating! They show that there is some variation in counts, but not huge variation indicative of migration or very patchy distribution.
------------------------------------------- 12/18 1/16 2/12 ------------------------------------------- White-tailed Kite 3 1 2 Bald Eagle adults 2 12 10 " " subadults 2 1 4 Northern Harrier 3 0 1 Cooper's Hawk 2 0 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 1 Red-tailed Hawk 14 10 11 Red-shouldered Hawk 0 2 2 American Kestrel 2 4 1 Merlin 0 0 0 Peregrine Falcon 0 1 1 SUM 29 32 34 Miles 119 121 121 Hours 7.5 7.5 7.3 -------------------------------------------
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was at the HMSC on 1/26, and one along the HMSC Nature Trail flew to field near the LNG tank on 2/2 (JL). JL writes on 2/14 that the "kite was just sitting in the dead alder tree near the Trail, while off in the distance in the same binocular view a Bald Eagle was flying. Sometimes birding is just such a pleasure!"
1 adult BALD EAGLE flew over BLo's Thiel Creek home on 2/21--an unusual place for them. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at the HMSC on 1/21, 1/24 & 2/17 (JL) and near Ona Beach on 1/31 (CP).
A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK sailed through the trees of BLo's Thiel Creek neighborhood on 2/7, and VO watched 1 take a STELLER'S JAY at the Osis' feeder at North Beaver Creek in mid-February.
A MERLIN skimmed the coastline north of Lincoln City on 1/29 (EC), and a PEREGRINE FALCON perched on a crossbeam of the Alsea Bay Bridge on 1/31 (JGr).
An AMERICAN COOT was at the West Log Pond between the HMSC and Oregon Coast Aquarium throughout Jan. and Feb. (JL), and two were a surprise inside the South Beach Marina during the 2/25 YBNFT.
Rare HORNED PUFFINS continued to be found. 2 beached along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in January along with 1 CASSIN'S AUKLET and 1 RHINOCEROS AUKLET (B&SLo, LO). While walking near Newport's Nye Beach on 2/4, HR found one that he left in place (fide CT). On the beach between Deer Creek and Seal Rocks, TD & SS found 1 Horned Puffin on 2/10 and 2 on 2/16. At Beverly Beach north of Newport, IT found one so fresh on 2/18 that he prodded it a couple of times to make sure it was dead.
On 2/1, only 40+ COMMON MURRES were at Yaquina Head, but at 7:50 AM the next morning, there were 10,000-12,000 in rafts just off the Head (M&MD). On 2/15, JGr spotted "seagulls feeding on bait fish that were balled up at the surface, just behind the surf zone off the Sandpiper Village beach [just north of Waldport]. I checked out the situation using my spotting scope and was amazed to see several hundred Common Murres."
PIGEON GUILLEMOTS typically begin appearing in February (SemiL), usually in breeding plumage. During the 2/25 YBNFT, a pair in nonbreeding plumage perched on a rock "finger" near the YBSJ "jaws."
A MARBLED MURRELET was an unexpected inside the YBSJ "jaws" on 2/23 (CP), and an ANCIENT MURRELET was at Boiler Bay on 21/ (M&MD).
5 BAND-TAILED PIGEONS arrived in a tree at Toledo on 2/18 (CP), 1 was at Darkey Creek east of Waldport on 2/20 (J&KC), and several were at North Beaver Creek on 2/22 (LO). These are about right on time (SemiL).
A BARRED OWL called near LO's North Beaver Creek home on 2/8 & 12-- they have become a regular there. A NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was heard in late January at Newton Hill between Toledo and Siletz (JL).
Our first male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was at Darkey Creek the morning of 2/4--in the afternoon there were 3 (J&KC), which is earlier than prior to 1993 (SemiL). Elsewhere, the first male arrived at Camellia blooms in Depoe Bay on 2/13 (DT), at J&JG's Yachats home on 2/14, at the HMSC on 2/16 (DG), and on 2/17 at Tidewater (B&PW) and Newport (RF & CG). The first female Rufous arrived at Darkey Creek on 2/23 (J&KC).
On 2/20 at Darkey Creek, JC: "watched a male Rufous Hummingbird do his display in front of a female ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD. She did not appear to be receptive to his display but did sit in a rhododendron and watched him perform." 3 Anna's Hummingbirds visited a feeder at the USFWS Bldg. near the HMSC on 2/16 (DG) and at least 2 male and 2 female Anna's wintered in Newport (RF & CG). At Darkey Creek on 2/20, a female was still collecting cotton for her nest (J&KC).
A hundred or so AMERICAN CROWS were scattered on Idaho Flats several days in February (JL); they may be one of our most important mudflat "shorebirds." 1-2 COMMON RAVENS were at the HMSC or Idaho Flats during 4 days in Jan. and 2 days in Feb. (JL).
A flock of BUSHTITS graced Toledo on 1/31 (CP), and 15-20 were foraging and chattering in the brush near Patterson State Park just south of Waldport on 2/13 (MR).
A white VARIED TRUSH was at BL's Thiel Creek home intermittently during at least 2/19-24. It had lots of white on the back and tail--there was some orange down the breast but there was also lots of white (BLo).
A huge vociferous flock of probably over 500 AMERICAN ROBINS arrived on trees in CP's Toledo neighborhood the afternoon of 2/25 and departed about 20 minutes later.
A WESTERN MEADOWLARK was near the 804 Trail in Yachats on 2/9 (SaL), another was near USFWS Bldg. at HMSC on 2/16 (DG). At the HMSC, 1-6 were present during 6 days in January and 1-8 were noted during 5 days in February, with at least one singing on Valentine's Day (JL).
An EVENING GROSBEAK flock was heard but not seen in Toledo on 1/29 (CP), and one was at DG's Toledo home on 2/13. On 2/17, a flock of 30 showed up at Darkey Creek (J&KC).
On 2/2, JL was hiking the HMSC Nature Trail without binoculars, when she glimpsed what appeared to be a yellow bird on the top of a small spruce tree. Later, she got a closer look and discovered it was "a large Dungeness crab claw adorning the top of the tree like an ornament on the top of a Christmas tree!"
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Range Bayer, Ellen Cantor, Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (see Jorrie's "Birds Amore'," http://www.birdsamore.com), Mike & MerryLynn Denny, Roy Filby, Jim & Janice Gerdemann, Dawn Grafe, Cathy Grimm, Jill Grover (Gr), Wayne Hoffman, Todd Dunkirk, Janet Lamberson, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Walt Nelson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Maggie Rivers, Hal Ross, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Stacy Strickland, Iain Tomlinson, David Tracy, Cynthia Trowbridge, Bunny & Pat Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by RB).
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, TIDEWATER: about 8 mi east of Waldport, WANDEMERE: about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
DS had two sightings of a single BROWN PELICAN flying at Depoe Bay on 3/22--they are early, as since 1982, the first were usually spotted in April (SemiL).
Our first spring flock of 13 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS flew north in a "V" over Nye Beach in Newport on 3/22 (DP).
During the 3/19 pelagic trip offshore to 20 miles off Newport, BG found a rare FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER, a PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER, a SOOTY SHEARWATER, 10 SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS, and a NORTHERN FULMAR.
The GREAT BLUE HERON colony in lower Yaquina Bay is active again this year, but it still is at a sensitive location for human disturbance, so, in my opinion, it is best to not publicize its location. One summer in the mid-1970's, I had the misfortune of visiting a heron colony near Waldport that I had been studying and discovered all heron chicks had been shot. The State Police were not able to do anything.
Most heronries are vulnerable to disturbance from people, including birders approaching too closely. Under controlled situations, such as the Audubon Canyon Ranch heronry in California, it is possible to closely observe herons and not disturb them. For several years in the 1970's, there was also a small heron colony in the Coos Bay area that was in a family's back yard, maybe a hundred feet from their house! The family was very proud of their heronry and was careful to not disturb it early in the season, and the colony flourished! Herons can successfully nest near people if access is controlled. Analogously, Yaquina Head is a "treasure" for observing nesting seabirds because human disturbance is restricted.
JL was watching the lower Yaquina Bay colony the morning of 3/9, and "when I was looking at the heron trees, something startled them, and over 100 of them were circling the tops of the trees, then they gradually settled back down into the trees. I never did see what startled them." On 3/10, JL also saw a "huge swarm of herons" flying over the colony and circling.
On 3/10, JL saw 2 GREAT EGRETS fly with herons over the lower Yaquina Bay heron colony, but the egrets did not land. On 3/11, an egret stood on a tree in the heron colony, and, on 3/25, another was at Idaho Flats (JL).
A pair of CANADA GEESE was by the East Log Pond between Oregon Coast Aquarium and the HMSC on 3/25 (JL); RB has occasionally been hearing and once saw a pair of Western Canada Geese in that area near dusk throughout March--perhaps they will nest there?
A male MANDARIN DUCK (probably an escapee) graced Devils Lake in January and February (A&FR), and the first WOOD DUCK of the year arrived at Devils Lake on 3/1, with 10 there on 3/17 (A&FR). WOOD DUCKS and RING- NECKED DUCKS were at Newport Reservoir in mid-March (BLo).
NORTHERN SHOVELERS were at flooded fields along HWY 20 near Newport during February and March (BLl; PD), with 4 pairs on 3/22 (BLl).
At least 1 HARLEQUIN DUCK was at Yaquina Head on 2/3 & 5 (BLM), a pair was at Seal Rocks on 3/22 (LC), and 2 pairs were at YBSJ on 3/25 (JL).
Our first TURKEY VULTURE arrived at Tidewater on 2/24 (B&PW) and at Toledo on 3/6 (CP). It's a mystery why 15 circled high over the middle of Yaquina Bay Bridge on 3/25 (RO). On 3/22, JL spotted 13 vultures on and in trees by Idaho Flats and writes: "Somebody scared them off, so I went down to see what they had been doing. Nothing was there but lots of vulture footprints and the remains of the skull of a very large sculpin. They are very efficient spring beach cleanup experts! One of the vultures had a couple of white wing feathers."
The first OSPREY returned to their Eckman Lake nest a few hours after noon on 3/12 (RL), to Siletz on 3/21 (BLl) and to their HWY 101 nest near Waldport on 3/25 (B&DM).
BALD EAGLES occurred every day in February with observations at Yaquina Head, and one took a COMMON MURRE on 2/6 (BLM). In mid-March at Ona Beach, SP saw an adult and immature on the beach; the adult was feeding on a fish and the immature managed to sneak in and get a few bites without the adult chasing it off. On 3/13, JP saw 4 adults and 2 subadults soaring and diving over Alsea Bay. They were also reported elsewhere (e.g., a pair of adults visited the Yachats beach almost daily in March, BB).
A NORTHERN HARRIER flying over PD's Toledo home on 3/14 was a welcome surprise, and a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK perched at the Ona Beach curves on 2/2 (LO).
A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK or COOPER'S HAWK visited L&JM's home at Coquille Point (east of Sallys Bend) in early March, and LM writes: "It swoops in and then if it hasn't caught anything, walks around on the ground poking its head into each shrub and clump of flowers until a bird is flushed out, then rushes after it. Quite a sight!" A Sharp-shinned attempted to take a PINE SISKIN at DG's Toledo home on 3/13. On 3/21 at Eckman Lake, SaL "got a great view of the underside of a Sharp-shinned as it flew into alder and Douglas fir." 2 Cooper's were at Siletz on 3/21 (BLl).
DD spotted a MOUNTAIN QUAIL on 3/7 near Whale Cove south of Depoe Bay along HWY 101, about a thousand feet from the ocean and in a cedar/fir forest.
Our biggest count of BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS this winter was 27 along the rocks west of the Depoe Bay traffic light and north of the bridge on 11/27 (FRe fide LK).
On 3/25, JL studied an uncommon LONG-BILLED CURLEW at Idaho Flats and later a spring-migrant MARBLED GODWIT showed up there for JL, DG, & KS.
BC spotted a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE "in the gull flock in the bay outside of the Landmark Inn in Yachats while I was eating a mid-afternoon lunch on March 1." PP also sighted only 1 at Boiler Bay on 3/28 (PP).
The first northerly flight of CALIFORNIA GULLS at Lincoln City was on 3/16--most were adults (PP). LC saw our first CASPIAN TERN at YBSJ on 3/22, which is among our earliest dates (SemiL)--3 were at Idaho Flats on 3/29 (JL).
February brought few dead birds along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach--the highlight were 4 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS (B&SLo, LO).
COMMON MURRES first landed on the Yaquina Head colony on Lion's Head on 2/2 (BLM). A PIGEON GUILLEMOT in breeding plumage was at YBSJ on 3/25 (JL); on 3/28, PP saw an average of about 2/minute flying past Boiler Bay. PP also found 7 MARBLED MURRELETS at Boiler Bay on 3/28, and 30 ANCIENT MURRELETS graced the 3/19 pelagic trip off Newport (BG).
MOURNING DOVES remains in Toledo on 3/6 (DG), and a BARRED OWL called at North Beaver Creek on 3/17 (LO).
ANNA'S and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS continued using DG's feeders at the USFWS Bldg at the HMSC on 3/8. The first female Rufous arrived at RF & CG's Newport feeder on 3/11--one had arrived at Darkey Creek (Alsea) on 2/23 (J&KC).
At their Seal Rocks home, J&ST noted that something had been tearing up "a rotting spruce about 5 to 10 feet from its base. When we first noticed it, a couple of weeks ago, we thought a bear had been clawing at it, but there was no other sign. The devastation continued, and this morning (3/4) Shirley woke to the unmistakable call of a PILEATED WOODPECKER, which, we had deduced it must be, but had not been able to catch it at work."
A NORTHERN FLICKER drummed away on a Douglas fir all day on 3/6 (DG).
Our first VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS debarked at Beaver Creek on 3/2 (LO), at Tidewater on 3/7 (B&PW), and at Toledo on 3/11 (DG). Our first report of TREE SWALLOWS was at Logsden on about 3/8 (BLl) and the HMSC on 3/11 (RL).
On 3/6, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES were singing and looking into nest boxes at CP's Toledo home; the past 3 years, Black-caps have nested first, and then later Chestnut-backeds nested there. DG also heard them singing in Toledo on 3/6.
On 2/26 in Toledo, PD saw 8-10 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES "in some trees honking and fluttering about; I've never seen so many nuthatches in one place at the same time!"
BROWN CREEPERS are uncommonly reported, though they are probably common here, so it was a treat for DG to hear one singing at Toledo on 3/13.
5 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were a pleasant surprise about a quarter to a half mile from Siletz Bay along Drift Creek on 3/27 (DP).
The "white" VARIED THRUSH previously reported at Thiel Creek remained until at least 3/7 (BLo). On 2/25, PD saw a flock of about 100 AMERICAN ROBINS swooping around her Toledo neighborhood--as reported in last month's Sandpiper, this was the same day that CP had also seen so many near his Toledo home.
At Darkey Creek on 3/9, JC has "been trying to capture a pair of WRENTITS on video but they sure are allusive. We are also hearing them in the morning."
While jogging, RO heard the first ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER along Yaquina Bay Road on 3/23, and BG found a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER 20 miles off Newport on 3/19!
RB heard the first singing WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at the HMSC on 3/30, and, on 3/10 in Toledo, PD saw a DARK-EYED JUNCO with nesting material in its bill. Our first female RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD arrived at Tidewater on 3/4 (B&PW).
While running, SaL appreciated a WESTERN MEADOWLARK along Yachts 804 Trail on 3/1.
The first spring PURPLE FINCH was at Tidewater on 3/5 (B&PW) and at Coquille Point on the east side of Sallys Bend on 3/15 (J&LM).
JP spotted an "orange" HOUSE FINCH in the County in early March. This atypical coloring is a consequence of a diet deficient in certain pigments, and orange or yellow ones are uncommonly found here in most months.
Lots of PINE SISKINS were noted at Toledo on 2/22 (PD) at the HMSC on 3/8 (DG), and at DO's Waldport feeder in March--as many as 50-60 during March were at BB's Yachats feeders and at BLl's Logsden feeders.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Lee Cain, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Barbara Combs, Dick Demarest, Pat Dickey, Roy Filby, Dawn Grafe, Cathy Grimm, Bird Guide (BG; info about pelagic trips, http://thebirdguide.com), Liz Kelly, Janet Lamberson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, John & Linda Mackown, Bobby & Dawson Mohler, OBOL (Oregon Birders On Line; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Dorothy Olson, Robert Olson, Laimons Osis, Sylvia Pauly, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin, Jan Power, Fran Recht (FRe), Al & Fran Rice, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. records at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Khem So, Don Stein, Jim & Shirley Thielen, Bunny & Pat Wright.
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, MIKE MILLER PARK: county park on east side of HWY 101 in South Beach, NWR: National Wildlife Refuge, OCA: Oregon Coast Aquarium, 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, TIDEWATER: about 8 mi east of Waldport, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
A COMMON LOON called at 11:20 AM at Sallys Bend on 4/14 (RB), so, yes, they can be heard here! For 2 weeks, PP was checking Boiler Bay or Spanish Head in Lincoln City for the beginning of mass loon migration and first observed it on 4/17 at Boiler Bay with an average of about 39 PACIFIC LOONS/minute and 3 RED-THROATED LOONS/minute.
A beached BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS was amongst the band of beached Velella vellela (Purple Sailor) south of Driftwood Beach State Park between Waldport and Seal Rocks on 4/21 (JG).
3 FORK-TAILED STORM PETRELS washed ashore in March along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, LO).
PP detected a rare MANX-type SHEARWATER at Boiler Bay on 4/19.
The first BROWN PELICAN visited Depoe Bay on 3/22 (DS). But they were not reported again until late April: 5 at Boiler Bay on 4/24 (PP & WH), 4-6 at Salishan Spit on 4/25 & 26 (GC), and 4 past both Wandamere near Ona Beach (RC & WN) and Yachats (DPe & MM) on 4/26.
On Dec. 18, BLo found a banded BRANDT'S CORMORANT on the beach north of Ona Beach--RL reports that it was banded as a nestling last July 16 at SE Farallon Island near San Francisco by Point Reyes Bird Observatory.
A GREEN HERON was at Idaho Flats near OCA on 4/5 (JL) and 4/8 (BLl)-- at least 5 skulked at Eckman Lake on 4/26 (DPe & MM).
1-2 GREAT EGRETS were almost daily at Idaho Flats during 3/24-31 but in early April only on 4/14 (JL); one was also in lower Yaquina Bay during 4/23 YBNFT.
Flocks of GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were first reported on 4/21 along the beach (CP), 4/24 at Lincoln City (PP), and 4/26 at the HMSC (RB).
Our high BLACK BRANT count for April was 165 at Idaho Flats on 4/4 (JL)--their low numbers at Yaquina Bay and the Oregon Coast continue to be of concern.
At Boiler Bay, PP spotted a hundred or more CACKLING GEESE flying north on 4/19, 4/21, and 4/23.
On 4/6, SaL discerned a flock of 30 CANADA GEESE unexpectedly flying SOUTH "in a rather ragged V formation" along the coastline near Yachats.
4 WOOD DUCKS roosted in a snag at Mike Miller Park during the 4/23 YBNFT, and 2 males were at Eckman Lake on 4/26 (DPe & MM).
A heavy northward flight of about 8 GREEN-WINGED TEAL/minute flew past Boiler Bay on 4/21 (PP). Our latest Green-winged Teal and GADWALLS were at Eckman Lake on 4/26 (DPe & MM).
On 4/5 at the YBSJ, there were a pair and two male HARLEQUIN DUCKS (JL), and a LONG-TAILED DUCK flew north with murres past Boiler Bay on 4/19 (PP). HOODED MERGANSERS were at Mike Miller Park during the 4/23 YBNFT.
1-2 OSPREY have become common along coast, but inland sightings are uncommon, so BLl's report of one at Logsden Store Pond on 3/21 is noteworthy. Also, 3 at Embarcadero at Yaquina Bay on 4/21 (RO) is a high number.
A BALD EAGLE perched in the lower Yaquina Bay heron colony on 4/13 (JL)--they sometimes prey on adult and heron chicks. JW writes: "Mid- morning on March 15, we were stopped on HWY 101 by a flagger lady just before the Thiel Creek passing lanes. We were first in line, and she came over to the car and said to look back to the small snag there on the ocean side. We did, and oh my goodness - there perched a mature eagle on top with an immature on a branch below! What a sight right there so close to the highway and on such a small snag. I now try to remember to look out for that snag each and every time I go by there." On 4/5, JL saw two subadults flying around each other near the HMSC, and "occasionally one would contact the other, and they tumbled down before regaining flight attitude. They eventually circled up and away to the north over Newport." Also on 4/5, BLo spotted 7 large, all-dark raptors that possibly might be eagles over Newport, but he did not have binocs with him to get a good view. He called DP, who with binocs was able to determine that they were 2 immature eagles and 5 TURKEY VULTURES.
A female NORTHERN HARRIER lingered at the HMSC on 4/5 (JL), and 2 COOPER'S HAWKS visited the Logsden Store pond on 3/21 (BLl).
A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was hunting PINE SISKINS at LW's Toledo feeder in March, where, on 4/16, she writes: "I took an entire roll of film of the Sharp-shinned Hawk a couple of days ago. He was just sitting there and looking up and around for about 10 minutes, so I scrambled and got my camera. No telling if they turned out, but it is such a wonderful looking bird! The chickadees came in and started to really badger him with a huge amount of noise. I even went around outside for a couple of photos, which he didn't seem to mind, before the chickadees finally ran him off."
Our only AMERICAN KESTREL was at Twin Bridges between Logsden and Siletz on 4/14 (BLl). A MERLIN was at OCA on 4/13 (BLl), a quarter mile off Boiler Bay on 4/19 and 4/20 (PP), and in lower Yaquina Bay during 4/23 YBNFT.
JL alerted us to a large falcon at Idaho Flats on 4/5-7; DP's photos
of it on 4/7 were put on the Internet by RB, and the OBOL consensus was
that it was a first-year, female PEREGRINE FALCON. It didn't seem to be in
great shape as its feathers were fluffed, and it appeared wet in the rain.
[Image not included of DP's photo of a first-year, female PEREGRINE FALCON at the Idaho Flats salt marsh near the HMSC Nature Trail on 4/7.]
A PEREGRINE FALCON was near OCA on 4/7 (BLl), and JL notes that 1 at Idaho Flats on 4/20 "has chased 8 Rock Pigeons off the roof of the USFW building, then herded approx. 500 peeps around the sand bar before settling down" and a little later "watched two Peregrines and an immature Bald Eagle chasing each other and getting the shorebirds and ducks all stirred up. Both the eagle and the peregrines went after each other with talons extended, but never actually 'hit,' as far as I could tell. One poor Bufflehead had all three raptors coming toward it and promptly dived, staying down as long as it could."
A RUFFED GROUSE drummed near BLl's Logsden home on 4/16. A single AMERICAN COOT lingered at the west log pond between the HMSC and OCA throughout March and early April (JL).
PP first reported mass shorebird movements past Boiler Bay on 4/19 with an average of about 48 WESTERN SANDPIPERS/minute, 1.5 DOWITCHERS/minute, and 0.4 WHIMBRELS/minute. On 4/23, an average of 63/minute Westerns flew past Boiler Bay (PP). On 4/26, DPe observed "at least one thousand sandpipers, easily over 90% Western, with a few Dunlin and Least Sandpipers mixed in" at Idaho Flats.
Some shorebird arrivals: GOLDEN-PLOVER sp. (3) and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS (5+) at Boiler Bay on 4/21 (PP) and DOWITCHERS on 4/11 at Idaho Flats (JL). DUNLIN were "getting their dark bellies" at Idaho Flats on 4/4 (JL).
The first WHIMBRELS were on the beach north of Ona Beach on 3/24 (BLo), and a flock were at Idaho Flats on 4/18 (BLl) and Salishan Spit on 4/19 (GC).
JG viewed an uncommon LONG-BILLED CURLEW at the south end of Bayshore Beach north of Waldport in early April. Our Whimbrels do not have the black and white head stripes often shown in field guides and can be mistaken as curlews.
A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was spotted during DG's 4/22 Siletz Bay NWR kayak/canoe field trip, and our only COMMON SNIPE flew over the road from near LNG tank on 4/21 (RO).
An uncommon FRANKLIN'S GULL graced Boiler Bay on 4/19 (PP), and a BONAPARTE'S GULL with a partial black hood was at Idaho Flats on 4/11 (JL).
Without binocs, SS reported 2 possible ELEGANT TERNS flying by the Inn at Spanish Head in Lincoln City on 4/6. During 1983-1992, they were only reported here from June through early October, with most records in August and September (SemiL).
On 4/12 at north Siletz Bay, TS saw without binocs what may have been a BLACK TERN. They are very rare in Lincoln County (SemiL) but nest at a few sites in the Willamette Valley (BOGR:284).
Along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach, B&SLo and LO found another 2 dead HORNED PUFFINS in March. The Jan.-March 2005 reported grand total of beached Horneds in Lincoln Co. is 9 (3 in Jan., 4 in Feb., and 2 in March), with 4 of the 9 on B&SLO's and LO's beach. A very unusual year. Our only live Horned Puffin report this month was of one flying north by itself about a half mile off Boiler Bay on 4/20 (PP).
A TUFTED PUFFIN (now uncommon here) flew by Boiler Bay on 4/19 (PP). PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were very numerous in late April with PP often reporting 100-350+ at Boiler Bay, and BT noted 500+ between Seal Rock to Boiler Bay on 4/18.
At Boiler Bay, there were 16 MARBLED MURRELETS on 4/4, 7 on 4/17, 238 on 4/19, 400+ on 4/20 (PP), and 128 on 4/24 (PP & WH).
Our only reports of CASSIN'S AUKLETS were of 8 at Boiler Bay on 4/23 (PP) and 3 pairs flying south past Yachats on 4/26 (DPe & MM).
Our first VAUX'S SWIFT debarked at Toledo on 4/18 (DG), and, on 4/20 in Toledo, JL noted that "they flew down the chimney of the Methodist church at 8:15 PM." They were also noted at Yachats on 4/26 (DPe & MM).
MD found a hummingbird's tiny nest with 1 egg about 5 ft above the ground at the end of a Douglas fir branch on 4/15 near Logsden--it was probably a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD's nest.
Two PILEATED WOODPECKERS visited J&KC's Darkey Creek home on 4/10.
An AMERICAN CROW "divebombed" a COMMON RAVEN at Idaho Flats on 4/15 (JL).
Arrivals: singing WARBLING VIREO at Thornton Creek between Eddyville and Toledo on 4/23 (DF), PURPLE MARTIN on 4/19 at Wecoma Cove at the HMSC (JL) and South Beach (EH) and 4/21 at Fowler's Oyster at about Milepost 7 along North Yaquina Bay Road (RO), and NO. ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW at Boiler Bay on 4/19 (PP).
At Darkey Creek, J&KC note: "We put up two swallow houses (with the horizontal entrance holes) and placed cedar shavings and wood ashes in the bottom of the box. This morning, April 14th, we saw two CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES removing the cedar shavings from the box. Apparently, they are going to be nesting in the box instead of the swallows."
A BROWN CREEPER was a treat during DG's 4/22 Siletz Bay NWR kayak/canoe field trip, and 1 was probably heard during the 4/23 YBNFT at Mike Miller Park.
On 4/26 at the HMSC, RB thought he heard the squeaky-door calling of a Bald Eagle, but in looking around, there was no eagle--but there was an EUROPEAN STARLING perched on top of a spruce going through his repertoire.
A breeding-plumaged PALM WARBLER was along the HMSC Nature Trail on 4/9 (WH). In 1982 and 1992, we also had sightings into early May, but in most years few have been found after March (SemiL).
More singing arrivals include WILSON'S WARBLERS at Beaver Creek on 4/19 (LO) and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT at Toledo on 4/2 (DG). A flock of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS visited the vine maple at B&PW's Tidewater home on 4/15--they do so every spring.
On 4/18 at Yachats, SaL wrote: "This morning an exhausted and perhaps foundered little female ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was sitting on my front porch to regain her flight strength. Am not sure quite how long she was hunkered there, but she flew off about 45 minutes after I first noticed her."
Other firsts of the season: SAVANNAH SPARROW at the HMSC on 3/23 (JL) and singing on 4/21 (DG), CHIPPING SPARROW on 4/13 at the HMSC (CD) and 4/15 at Tidewater (B&PW), first singing WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at the HMSC on 3/25 (JL), a noticeable influx GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS on 4/10 at Tidewater (B&PW), 4/13 at OCA (BLl) and north Beaver Creek (LO), and Logsden on 4/16 (BLl); and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD at Tidewater on 4/10 (B&PW).
Latest reports include FOX SPARROW at Beaver Creek on 4/13 (LO) and WESTERN MEADOWLARK near the HMSC on 4/5 (JL).
On 4/15, WH noted that large numbers of RED CROSSBILLS have been present all winter in the South Beach area and observes that in addition to the smallish ones that had been present, that there had also been flocks of larger, louder ones.
30-50 PINE SISKINS have been at BLl's and MD's Logsden feeders since about mid-February.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Range Bayer, Birds of Oregon: A General Reference (BOGR), Gert Carey, Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti, Carol Delancey, Martha Doldt, Darrel Faxon, Dawn Grafe, Jill Grover, Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Janet Lamberson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Mike McDermet, Walt Nelson, OBOL (Oregon Birders On Line; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Robert Olson, Laimons Osis, Diane Pettey (DPe), Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Steve Shunk, Tom Snetsinger, Don Stein, Bill Thackaberry, Jean Weakland, Bunny & Pat Wright, Lynne Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by RO).
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, MIKE MILLER PARK: county park 1.2 miles south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on the east side of Hwy 101, OCA: Oregon Coast Aquarium, 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.
During spring migration, the most numerous loon seen during seawatches is the PACIFIC LOON. This year, PP's seawatches show that during the 4/17- 5/22 period that the peak appeared to be from about 4/23-5/2. Some are also usually found flying north in June.
PP's Estimated Average Pacific Loons/Minute Passing Boiler Bay or Spanish Head during 45-225 Minute Morning Seawatches
167/min on 4/23 B 200- / i 175- X r 150- X X d 125- X X s 100- X X / 75- X X X m 50- X XX X i 25- XX XX XXX X X n 1-12-X XXX XX XXXXXXX XX X X X 0-X XXX XX XXXXXXX XX X X X |''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|'' 17 20 23 26 29 2 5 8 11 14 17 20 April---------|---May----------------
The second most numerous loon during PP's seawatches was the RED- THROATED LOON, which only had a maximum average of about 4/minute during his 4/17-5/22 seawatches; they were most abundant in late April. COMMON LOONS also peaked in late April with a peak average of only 1.3/minute.
A rare YELLOW-BILLED LOON passed about a quarter mile off Boiler Bay on 4/28 (PP).
Loons do call here occasionally--an unidentified loon did so on 5/1 as it flew over the Newport Bayfront (JP).
An uncommon CLARK'S GREBE was with 10 WESTERN GREBES north of Yaquina Head on 5/20 (RH).
On 5/3 at the lake near the Logsden Store, BLl saw a PIED-BILLED GREBE eating a very large bullhead. The grebe took at least 3 minutes of mandibulating it, repositioning it, and even diving with it before finally managing to swallow it.
A late EARED GREBE was at Yaquina Bay on 5/3 (TJ, JW, D&LF).
On 4/21, a BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS was found beached along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, LO) and also between Seal Rocks and Waldport (JG).
SOOTY SHEARWATERS first became abundant at Boiler Bay on 4/29, when PP estimated at least 10,000 flying steadily south 1.5 mile or farther offshore. PP spotted the season's first PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER at Boiler Bay on 5/1; he also saw 1-3 there on 5/5, 5/18, and 5/22.
Starting on 4/24, as many as 15 BROWN PELICANS were often sighted along the open coast (many observers). None have yet been reported inside estuaries.
17 dead BRANDT'S CORMORANTS were counted along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach during April (B&SLo, LO)--this is more than usual. On 4/27, PP counted 950 flying south past Boiler Bay in small groups; the next day he saw at least 250 that were mostly flying north.
JL viewed 2 GREAT EGRETS at Idaho Flats on 4/25 & 26, but they were noticeably absent there in early May and were also not near the heron colony. At Beaver Creek, 2-3 were counted on 4/23 (TD & SS) and 5/21 (YBNFT).
We seldom get reports from Eddyville, but we have 2 this month: a GREEN HERON on 5/7 (JP) and 5/17 (DM).
RL detected the first broods of WESTERN CANADA GEESE at Eckman Lake in mid-April. RL also first reported flocks of them heading north in their annual late-May migration in Lincoln County on 5/23.
Singleton BLACK BRANT were at Alsea Bay in late April (BLl) and at Depoe Bay on 5/3 (TJ, JW, D&LF); 3 winged past Boiler Bay on 5/14 (TJ, HH, NS, JW).
A brood of tiny MALLARDS was first noted at Eckman Lake on 5/2 (RL).
2 male NORTHERN SHOVELERS lingered at a flooded field along HWY 20 west of the Toledo Dairy Queen on 5/6 (BLl) as did 5 at Idaho Flats on 5/10 (JL). Other lingerers were 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL drakes at the West Log Pond between the HMSC and OCA on 5/12 (JL) and a CINNAMON TEAL drake at Beaver Creek on 5/21 (YBNFT). GREEN-WINGED TEAL aren't normally at Idaho Flats, but 4 on 4/27 (JL) were probably taking a break from migration.
1 HARLEQUIN DUCK was just north of Yaquina Head on 4/29 (TJ). At Seal Rocks, there were 2 on 5/3 (TJ, JW, D&LF) and 3 drakes during the 5/21 YBNFT.
Along north Yaquina Bay Road at Milepost 7.7 (Fowler's), BLl saw an OSPREY perched on a piling with lots of seaweed on its feet on 5/5. It appeared to be wiping its bill in the seaweed or eating something in it. It then flew down on the mudflats, got more seaweed, and again appeared to be picking through it and perhaps eating something. What was it doing?
On 5/3, GC observes: "At Kirtsis Park in Lincoln City, across from the Elks Lodge, there is an OSPREY nest on top of the light pole between the two ball parks. They were working on it during the games."
At the Ona Beach BALD EAGLE nest, there were 2 young of different sizes in the nest on 5/21 (YBNFT). A male NORTHERN HARRIER foraged at the Yaquina Bay South Jetty on 5/14 and at the HMSC on 3 days in early May (JL) and 5/18 (RB). At Boiler Bay, 1 MERLIN was identified on 4/30 (PP; TJ, LG, DH, JPo), and a PEREGRINE FALCON was also there on 5/2 (PP) and 5/14 (TJ, HH, NS, JW).
A CALIFORNIA QUAIL was detected along Three Rocks Road in north Lincoln County on 5/3 (TJ, JW, D&LF).
On 4/23, TD & SS heard a SORA while kayaking in Beaver Creek.
A KILLDEER family graced Ona Beach during the 5/21 YBNFT.
On 5/23, BB, SaL, and JBo did BLACK OYSTERCATCHER surveys in the Yachats area and counted 10; the next day, DD surveyed from Otter Rock to Whale Cove and spotted 6-7.
PP's Estimated Average "small" Shorebirds/Minute Passing Boiler Bay or Spanish Head during 45-225 Minute Morning Seawatches
B 160- i 140- X-134/min on 4/21 r 120- X d 100- X s 80- X / 60- X X m 40- X X X i 20- XXX XX n0.1-9- XXX XX XXXXXX XX 0-X XXX XX XXXXXXX XX X X X |''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|'' 17 20 23 26 29 2 5 8 11 14 17 20 April---------|---May----------------
Seawatches can give an idea of the peak passage time of shorebirds. PP's observations show that the peak for "small" shorebirds ("peeps") was during about 4/19-23 this year. JL's results at Idaho Flats are similar as she estimated 100-500 during 4/18-26 and less than 75 after 5/4; she didn't make estimates from 4/27 through 5/3.
During PP's seawatches, the BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER peak was before April 23 (less than 1/minute), and the DOWITCHER SP. peak (maximum of 7/minute on April 21) was prior to April 28, with few or none of either after these dates. WHIMBREL abundance was much more variable with 2 peaks (see below).
PP's Estimated Average Whimbrels/Minute Passing Boiler Bay or Spanish Head during 45-225 Minute Morning Seawatches
B 3.0- X-3/min on 5/6 i - X r 2.0- X d - X X s 1.0- X X X X X / - X X XX X XX X m 0.1- XXX XX X XX XX i 0-X XXX XX XXXXXXX XX X X X n |''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|''|'' 17 20 23 26 29 2 5 8 11 14 17 20 April---------|---May----------------
A flock of 7 Whimbrels flew west (presumably to a night-time roost) over the HMSC at 8:15 PM on 5/11 (RB). On 5/13, 23 were at south Siletz Bay (DS); and on 5/19, just before the YB&N meeting began at 7:25 PM, many observers watched 2 flocks with a total of 6 Whimbrels fly over the HMSC and angle north over Newport.
A LONG-BILLED CURLEW flew north past Spanish Head 5/1 and Boiler Bay on 5/5 (PP).
1-3 MARBLED GODWITS were at Beverly Beach and Siletz Bay on 4/29 & 30 and 5/14 (TJ, LG, DH, JPo; TJ, HH, NS, JW).
In May, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS show up at un-freshwater locations, and this year was no exception. On 5/11, DP & MM found 2 on rocks near the surf at Yachats, and JL found 2 at the first rock "finger" west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPES can be extremely numerous during some spring migrations, but not this year as only 6-9 were reported at Boiler Bay on just 4/27 and 5/5 (PP).
On 5/4 at Idaho Flats, JL "watched a WESTERN GULL repeatedly and persistently pulling the tail feathers of a CASPIAN TERN in shallow water. The tern was squealing and splashing while trying to get away. It finally succeeded and flew off to another part of the sand flat." JL also determined that 1 of 31 Caspians at Idaho Flats on 5/25 had a color band and will report it to http://www.columbiabirdresearch.org; researchers are banding many at the Columbia River.
MARBLED MURRELETS were often reported at Boiler Bay with a peak of 114 on 4/27 (PP), and PP also discovered a rare probable KITTLITZ'S MURRELET there on 5/8.
1-3 CASSIN'S AUKLETS were only at Boiler Bay on 4/27, 5/8, and 5/22 (PP). PIGEON GUILLEMOT numbers continued to be high with peak counts of 880 on 5/19 and 630 on 5/22 at Boiler Bay (PP).
TUFTED PUFFINS were absent from most of PP's seawatches but he detected 1 flying north past Boiler Bay on 5/2 & 5/5 and 7 on 5/22. A rare HORNED PUFFIN also flew south past Boiler Bay on 5/22 (PP).
MOURNING DOVES have been around elsewhere in Lincoln County this year, but they first appeared at BB's Yachats home on 5/25.
1-2 BARRED OWLS were detected at North Beaver Creek on 5/3 (TJ, JW, D&LF) and 5/14 (TJ, HH, NS, JW), and a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL called at Beaver Creek on 4/23 & 24 (TD & SS).
DP & MM viewed 4 uncommon BLACK SWIFTS flying about 2 miles up Yachats River Road on 5/11.
DF detected our first COMMON NIGHTHAWK this year on 5/26 at Olalla Lake north of Toledo. Prior to 1993, our earliest dates were on 5/23 in 1988, 5/28 in 1986, and 5/30 in 1936 (SemiL; our most complete records started in 1973).
In mid-May, an ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD remained with RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS at L&JM's home at Coquille Point east of Newport. On 5/14, WH found an Anna's between Boiler Bay and Seal Rocks, and another was also at EH's South Beach home on 5/22.
Spring arrivals include a WESTERN KINGBIRD at the HMSC Nature Trail on 5/12 (JL) and OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS on 5/14 near Siletz Bay (TJ, HH, NS, JW).
We often have a small influx of WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS in spring, and J&KC spotted one at Darkey Creek on 5/17. 27 STELLER'S JAYS near the ODFW building at the HMSC on 5/3 (SK) is a remarkable concentration for this time of year.
At J&KC's Darkey Creek home on 5/19, JC writes: "We have two nest boxes of Chestnut-backed Chickadees. They are bringing in food and leaving with fecal sacs. We watched a Douglas Squirrel try to climb the post to get into one of the nest boxes. Because we have vent pipe around the pole, the squirrel couldn't get past the vent pipe to get to the house. Discouraged, he ran to the nearest tree ran out as far as he could on one of the limbs, but decided it was too far to jump and gave up."
A MARSH WREN sang at Siletz Bay on 5/13 (DS).
A female WESTERN BLUEBIRD graced a clearcut east of Siletz Bay on 5/3 (TJ, JW, D&LF).
More arrivals include BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS on 4/23 at Darkey Creek (J&KC) and shortly thereafter elsewhere (B&PW; JG; BB), HERMIT WARBLERS at Cape Perpetua overlook on 5/2 (B&ZS fide DP), and WESTERN TANAGERS at Darkey Creek on 5/12 (J&KC). In mid-May, SM found YELLOW WARBLERS in Newport.
At Boiler Bay, PP reported our only AMERICAN PIPIT on 4/28. On 5/22 at the north side of D River in Lincoln City, PP conservatively estimated about 1,500 CEDAR WAXWINGS with "many small flocks flying north, plus brief but remarkable fallout at the tail end of a squall, with several large flocks flying in from the east off the lake and dropping into the willows, 700-800 present at once."
The spring passage of SAVANNAH SPARROWS along the coast is often missed, but PP counted 20 at Boiler Bay on 4/28. JL had good views of a LINCOLN'S SPARROW at the HMSC on 4/20 & 21.
Our only BULLOCK'S ORIOLE was in South Beach on 5/22 (EH).
JB spotted a flock of RED CROSSBILLS at Mike Miller Park on 5/5, and a puffed up, sick-appearing female crossbill took seeds out of TM's hand in Waldport on 5/12.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Jim Bower (JBo), Judy Butts, Gert Carey, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Dick Demarest, Todd Dunkirk, Darrel & Laura Faxon, Larry Gohl, Jill Grover, Hendrik Herlyn, Wayne Hoffman, Dana Hoinowski, Eric Horvath, Rich Hoyer, Tim Janzen, Steve Kupillas, Janet Lamberson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John Mackown, Sue Martin, Mike McDermet, Dave Mellinger, Tricia Morgan, Laimons Osis, Diane Pettey, Phil Pickering, Jonathan Plissner, Johnny Powell (JPo), SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Don Stein, Bill & Zanah Stotz, Stacy Strickland, Noah Strycker, Jay Withgott, Bunny & Pat Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by LO).