------------------------------- Month of Sandpiper, Volume 26 ------------------------------- June-August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 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, 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, LYONS POND: pond in lower Beaver Creek just east of Beaver Creek road after it makes a sharp turn to the south about 0.2 mile east of the junction with HWY 101, MIKE MILLER PARK: county park 1.2 miles south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on the east side of Hwy 101, OCAq: 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, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
On 7/2, K&DC discovered and reported a possible YELLOW-BILLED LOON at the YBSJ. It was confirmed and resighted on 7/11 (D&LF) and 7/15 (WH; JL), photographed on 7/16-17 (WH), and spotted again on at least 7/25 (JL; RB); 8/2 (T&LP), 8/3 (WH), 8/4 (CK & her Thursday Birding Group), 8/15 (WH), and 8/26 (DA). It was generally sighted in the evening near the YBSJ or near the North Jetty from the viewing platform at Yaquina Bay State Park, but, on 8/26, DA found it on the ocean about 50-200 yards south of the YBSJ. Other summer YELLOW-BILLED LOON records at Yaquina Bay include one in 1985 from July 20 to August 15 (when it was found dead) and 1 July 1987--both records were accepted by the Oregon Rare Birds Records Committee, which has removed it from its Review List. Another was reported in late July 1992, so they can be found here in summer. This Yellow-billed appears to already have been the one most-often as well as the longest seen in Lincoln County, and it may still be here.
On 8/3, AP & BH saw 29 PACIFIC LOONS in two clusters in Alsea Bay, and they remained there the next day (CK & others). Some are often present in summer along the coast, but this is a high number inside a bay. Several observers also reported COMMON LOONS, a few of which often oversummer.
On 8/3, LO saw an adult PIED-BILLED GREBE with 5 chicks and another 3 juvenile chicks at Lyons Pond in lower Beaver Creek. LO notes that the Lyons Pond has been extra wet this summer.
On 7/2, BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, SOOTY SHEARWATERS, PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, and NORTHERN FULMARS were seen offshore of Newport during the BGPT and RL's halibut fishing trip; RL also spotted 400 FORK-TAILED STORM- PETRELS about 6-8 miles offshore.
On 7/25, RL & DPI went 22-24 miles offshore of Newport to where draggers were trawling for Pacific Whiting and saw numerous birds including at least 200 Black-footed Albatrosses, many Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, numerous gulls, and small numbers of Northern Fulmars and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels; as they returned to shore they saw 1 BULLER'S SHEARWATER. During the 8/13 BGPT off Newport to Perpetua Bank, the same species were seen with 110 Black-foots, 152 fulmars, 102 sooties, 83 pink- foots, 842 fork-tails, and 3 Buller's. Sooties were seen from land at Lincoln City in mid-August (PO) and at Boiler Bay on 8/25 (PP).
BROWN PELICANS were regular at Yaquina Head during May-July (BLM). The first one inside Yaquina Bay appeared on 6/24 at Idaho Flats (JL).
An immature BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON roosted in a tree near Newport's Port Dock 1 on 8/4 (HSh). HSh watched it fly down to the fish- processing area, so maybe it is common there?
2 GREAT EGRETS were at Idaho Flats on 6/28 (PL), and three were at the lower Yaquina Bay Great Blue Heron colony on 7/12 (JL), but there is no indication that the egrets nested. The property that included the heron colony was sold recently, and its fate is unclear. In early August, very large flocks of immigrant Great Egrets were noted: 60 were at Sallys Bend on 8/8 (RB), 55 at Idaho Flats on 8/11 (RL), and 47 to about 60 at Idaho Flats on 8/16-17 (JL).
GREAT BLUE HERONS sometimes squawk for a short time after being disturbed, but they do not call repeatedly without a reason. However, a continually calling heron that did not sound like a heron was flying over the HMSC during 9/1 to 10/21/2003 and on 4/21/2004 (RB, TW, DPi, RO). DPi heard presumably the same heron on 5/20/2004 at the Little Nestucca River. Its continuous calling draws attention to itself, so it would not be surprising if a predator got it.
This year, on 7/2, RB again heard the hoarse, distressful, now goose- like calls of the repeatedly calling heron flying over the HMSC. He wondered if perhaps there had been a genetic mutation in a pair of herons here that resulted in a continuously calling heron. He also heard it on 7/18, and, on 7/19, it flew close enough that he could determine without binoculars that it was missing at least one primary feather in its right wing and that its head had a lot of white on it--both indications that it was not hatched this year and could be the same repeatedly calling heron as in 2003. He has also heard it on 4 other days between 7/19 and 8/4, but not again until 11:30 PM the night of 8/30. This year its sounds more goose-like, but its unique call still has a distress-call quality to it that draws one's attention.
26 WESTERN CANADA GEESE were flying north over Yaquina Bay on 5/31 (DPi), and another flock flew over Eckman Lake on 6/4 (RL). These may be nonbreeders or failed breeders going to the Columbia River to molt. Westerns first started appearing at Yaquina Bay embayments on 8/8 (RB), with counts of 49 at Idaho Flats on 8/17 (JL), 78 at Sallys Bend on 8/22 (RB), and an amazing 85 for Yaquina Bay at Idaho Flats on 8/29 (DPi).
Nonbreeding, summering waterfowl included singleton BRANT at Otter Rock on 6/13 (RH) and Yaquina Bay during 6/22-7/2 (JL; DPe; 7/2 BGPT); a male NORTHERN PINTAIL at ponds between the HMSC and OCAq on 6/14, 6/21, and 8/1 (JL; A&GF); 13 GADWALL at Idaho Flats on 6/17 (JL). 3-5 SCAUP near the HMSC during 5 days in June (JL; RB), SURF SCOTERS at Yaquina Bay (JL; RB) or Yaquina Head (BLM) in June and/or July, and HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Seal Rock on 7/3 (ABWFT).
Nesting waterfowl records were two broods of WOOD DUCKS with 4 and 10 chicks at Eckman Lake that appeared to be about 10 days old on 6/30 (MR), and a female Woodie with ducklings and 17 MALLARDS at Lyons Pond on 8/3 (LO).
"Fall" migrant waterfowl include a possible family group of 15 GREEN- WINGED TEAL at Idaho Flats on 8/5 (JL), a large flock of Northern Pintails and of WIGEON flying south over Boiler Bay on 8/20 (JG, GL, & TSt), and 2 NORTHERN SHOVELERS on the water near the tip of the YBSJ on 8/26 (DA).
At least one BALD EAGLE was regularly at Yaquina Head in June and July (BLM). While waiting for the traffic light to change at the intersection of HWY 101 and Hurbert Street in downtown Newport on 6/3, RB dismissed what sounded like the call of a Bald Eagle as an European Starling mimicking an eagle, until an adult eagle circled overhead. 2 eagles were on a Waldport beach on 6/24 (JWE) and at the Yachats bay area in July (BB).
An OSPREY had a fish at its Mike Miller Park nest during the 6/18 YBNFT.
The first of the season RED-SHOULDERED HAWK appeared at Toledo on 8/27 (DG), and our only Accipiter report was of a COOPER'S HAWK at DG's Toledo home on 8/24. A male and/or female NORTHERN HARRIER at the HMSC during 2 days in June (JL) suggests nesting in South Beach.
One PEREGRINE FALCON was over Newport on 6/28 and 7/1 (PL), one perched on a ledge of a bridge support at the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 7/1 (SK), and another was flying south of Yaquina Head on 8/21 (VD). On 7/27, RL & DPi saw 2 Peregrines, at least one of which hatched this year, at Yaquina Bay. Later on 7/27 at the south end of Yaquina Bay Bridge, RL saw an adult Peregrine standing on top of a flattened ROCK PIGEON. AMERICAN CROWS were mobbing the Peregrine, and one of the crows hit the Peregrine on the head. Startled, the Peregrine took off after the crow, and the prostrate Rock Pigeon immediately regained its composure and flew off. The Peregrine returned and landed on a wire with neither crow nor pigeon. As RL commented: "That was one lucky pigeon!"
A pair of CALIFORNIA QUAIL were seen and heard near the south entrance to the HMSC on 6/15 (RL; A&GF)--they are rarely reported here. DF found some young MOUNTAIN QUAIL at Thornton Creek on 7/30 that were not more than a day or two old--it seems late for such young chicks.
VIRGINIA RAILS are attractive but are uncommonly seen and appreciated because of their secretiveness. One was heard in lower Beaver Creek on 8/3 (LO), and one was brought in dead by a cat from near the Newport Middle School on 8/26 (DG). Outdoor cats can prey on many birds.
During the late May BLACK OYSTERCATCHER Coastwide Survey, 34 adults were counted along the Lincoln County Coast (DD, BB, SaL, and others?). PS writes about the ones the ABWFT saw at the south end of Devils Punch Bowl State Park at Otter Rock on 7/3: "One parent was on guard duty, sheltering the 4" tall chicks from interested gulls. The other parent was foraging in the intertidal zone and bringing morsels to drop at the chick's feet. These chicks have a gray fleece plumage, with gray bills and gray feet. Truly cute."
Nonbreeding WHIMBREL numbers seemed to be down this summer, and one was at Seal Rock on 6/23 (MC).
JL reported the first contingent of about 30 "fall" migratory PEEPS on 6/21 at Idaho Flats; flocks of about 250 were noted at Idaho Flats on 8/1 & 24 (JL). Other arrivals include a LESSER YELLOWLEGS heard at Idaho Flats on 6/30 (RL), 1 MARBLED GODWIT at Sallys Bend on 7/2 (ABWFT), an immature SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER north of Ona Beach on 7/30 (SD), a RED- NECKED PHALAROPE at Lyons Pond on 8/3 (LO), and 1 LONG-BILLED CURLEW and 3 RUDDY TURNSTONES at Yaquina Bay jetties on 8/4 (CK & others).
At Yachats State Park on 6/25, DPe and MM spotted a PARASITIC JAEGER. During the 8/13 BGPT to Perpetua Bank from Newport, 6 Parasitic, 1 POMARINE JAEGER, and 15 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS were counted. 5 SABINE'S GULLS were also tallied during the 8/13 BGPT.
JL spotted a MEW GULL at Idaho Flats on 6/28 (JL), and the same day she also noted the first, seasonal influx (360) of CALIFORNIA GULLS there. Hundreds continued at Idaho Flats in July and August with over a thousand estimated on 8/16 (JL). A BONAPARTE'S GULL hung around the HMSC during early August; at first it still had part of its black hood, but it was clearly molting by 8/24 (JL).
JL first found a COMMON/ARCTIC TERN at Idaho Flats that sometimes appeared as if it had an injured wing on 6/17 that lingered for a while to at least 7/2 (MC; DPe; JWi; BGPT; ABWFT). JWi first determined that it was a Common Tern. On 7/5, JL wrote: "Last time I saw it, the wing was drooping more and though the tern could still fly, it didn't fly far, and it still kept trying to hitch up that wing. The Caspian Terns were hassling it." A Common and 7 Arctics were noted offshore during the 8/13 BGPT to Perpetua Bank.
The peak count of nonbreeding summering CASPIAN TERNS at Idaho Flats was 104 on 6/14 (JL). Young Caspians hatched this year and accompanying adults seemed surprisingly rare at Idaho Flats this year as few were heard at the HMSC (RB), and the first sighting of a juvenile there was on 7/18 (JL).
This year has been a poor year for COMMON MURRES. Murre chicks typically start jumping from their nesting colony and swim off with their fathers the last week of June. This year few chicks apparently fledged, since few were seen at sea. During an all-day 7/25 pelagic trip off Newport, RL & DPi only saw one murre chick with an adult; RL notes "In a good year, we would have seen hundreds." At Boiler Bay in July, PP had not seen any chicks, and, on 8/25, he only saw one there. If few chicks fledge, then few can wash ashore, and only 6 murre chicks were beached through 8/19 along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, LO). In typical years, they find 30 or more beached murre chicks.
Starting in mid-July, high numbers of adult murres started washing ashore. During a 7/25 pelagic trip off Newport, RL and others saw many stressed murres and some floating dead ones. BB & SaL found 3 dead at their Coast Watch Mile 198 beach on 7/19 & 8/16, and SS found 14 adults along a mile north of Seal Rock on 7/31. Along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach, B&SLo and LO had a July total of 183 dead adults, which is the highest monthly total since BLo started his surveys there in 1978. BLo's records indicate that their 271 total for 2005 through the 8/19 is approaching adult totals for the entire year of 1987 (276) and 1983 (286), but there are still about 4.5 months to go in 2005. In 1987, the peak month of mortality was October, when 150 adults were found. In 20 of 27 years, they found less than 100 dead adult murres, so this year is clearly abnormal. RL reported that murres that have been necropsied this year were emaciated and had empty digestive systems, which suggests that feeding conditions were poor. The noticeably increased mortality of BRANDT'S CORMORANTS in spring has not continued, and the number of other beached seabirds was not conspicuously high during June-July along their beach (B&SLo, LO).
COMMON MURRES are a diving bird that normally feed on fish and invertebrates in the water column and usually flee before people get close. But feeding circumstances must have been pretty limited in July. On 7/27, RL was only about 25 ft from 2 murres dipping their heads in 6 inch water at the YBSJ and feeding on mole crabs (Emerita sp.) in sand! Murres typically don't travel far up the Yaquina, but feeding conditions for them must have been poor and they were searching afar for food as on 8/27, WH saw 2 at Oregon Oyster and notes that is the farthest upstream in the Yaquina that he has ever seen them.
1 TUFTED PUFFIN at the south side of Yaquina Head during the 7/2 ABWFT was our only report of this formerly regular species. SS appreciated a PIGEON GUILLEMOT bringing food to its nesting burrow in the cliffs at Seal Rocks on 7/31.
MARBLED MURRELETS were noted during the 7/2 BGPT, at Yaquina Head and Devil's Punch Bowl during the 7/2 ABWFT, at Yaquina Head on 7/20 (CGa), at Boiler Bay on 8/12 (SJ), and during the 8/13 BGPT. Perhaps the best look from shore was of as many as 20 on very calm water at Boiler Bay on 8/20 (JG, GL, & TSt); JG writes: "It has been years since I have seen them so close and under such perfect conditions."
Surprisingly, the only ANCIENT MURRELETS were two WH observed during a whale watching trip from Newport to Yaquina Head on 8/27.
MOURNING DOVES were confirmed nesters at DG's Toledo home, but one at the HMSC on 8/23-24 (RL; TW & HSt) is unusual for that site.
On 6/8, RF & CGr saw a rare WHITE-WINGED DOVE at their Newport home. One of their photos of it is above, and they have sent a report to the Oregon Bird Records Committee.
On 8/9, J&KC had a rare BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD at one of their Darkey Creek feeders. They took photos and videos that are at http://www.birdsamore.com/byb/hummingbird-broad-tailed.htm; DV & DT looked at the photos and confirmed that it was a female and probably immature. The 8/14 ABWFT also saw it.
[above] Images of juvenile Rufous Hummingbird at Darkey Creek in late June by J&KC. The hummer had pierced a bumble bee with its beak. JC writes: "The hummer could barely get its tongue out. We watched the hummer try to get the bee off by rubbing the beak across the edges of the feeder. It also tried using its feet to push off the bee. We didn't think that it would last a night because its feathers were all fluffed, and it looked so malnourished. We were very surprised to see it at the feeder the next morning with the bee still on the beak. We saw it for three days. We didn't see it after 3 days and hope the hummer was able to remove the bee."
During the 6/18 YBNFT to Mike Miller Park, EH and others saw a DOWNY WOODPECKER nest with young in an alder snag and also a PILEATED WOODPECKER. Another Pileated was near the Waldport Elementary School on 7/5 (JWe), and 3 were in south Waldport in late July (fide JWe).
On 6/16, a rare ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was at the HMSC (TSn).
During July at her Waldport home, JWe once saw branch with at least 24 BUSHTITS that "looked like a foot long bottle brush." A Bushtit flock was also at lower Beaver Creek on 8/3 (LO), and they also nested near DG's Toledo home, where BROWN CREEPERS were also in the nearby forest.
On 6/16, RL discovered an adult male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at a feeder at the USFWS Building at the HMSC that RC was able to see before it disappeared. An aberrant-plumaged female/immature BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK was at J&ST's Seal Rock feeder on 7/31 & 8/1, and AL had a flock of 6 at her home near Ona Beach in July that she noted "came in a variety of markings and coloration."
On 6/14, DF spotted a female, possible SCARLET TANAGER at his Thornton Creek home. A WESTERN TANAGER was appreciated at Mike Miller Park during the 6/18 YBNFT and near BB's Yachats home on 7/25--they nested near DG's Toledo home.
A SAVANNAH SPARROW at the HMSC on 2 days in late June (JL) suggests nesting there. 2 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS were recorded offshore during the 8/13 BGPT--land birds sometimes are found offshore!
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Don Albright, Audubon Birding Weekend Field Trip (ABWFT led by PS), Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Kerri & Dave Cawthon, Rebecca Chuck, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Marcia Cutler, Vern D. (from Ada, Oregon), Dick Demarest, Steve Dougill, Darrel & Laura Faxon, Roy Filby, Andrea & Greg Foster, Charles Gates (CGa), Jeff Gilligan, Dawn Grafe, Cathy Grimm (CGr), Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT; info about pelagic trips, http://thebirdguide.com), Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Rich Hoyer, Bill Hunter, Steve Jaggers, Carol Karlen, Steve Kupillas, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Ardis Letey, Gerard Lillie, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Mike McDermet, Robert Olson, Paul Osburn, Laimons Osis, Diane Pettey (DPe), Tom & Laurie Phillips, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin (DPi), Al Prigge, Mark Rudolph, Howard Shippey (HSh), Tom Snetsinger (TSn), Tom Staudt (TSt), Heather Stout (HSt), Stacy Strickland, Paul Sullivan, Jim & Shirley Thielen, Dave Tracy, Dennis Vroman, Tom Wainwright, Jean Weakland (JWe), Jay Withgott (JWi), Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by EH).
The Sandpiper is a publication of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists, a Lincoln County (Oregon) natural history group. Yaquina Birders & Naturalists is independent of the Audubon Society of Lincoln City.
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, ONA BEACH: State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, SPANISH HEAD: north of inn at 4009 SW Highway 101 north of Taft in Lincoln City, THIEL CREEK: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, WANDEMERE: about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
The last report of the summering YELLOW-BILLED LOON was on 8/29, about 15-20 feet south of the YBSJ (RA). RA is new to birding in Oregon and notes that it was his first loon of any kind in Oregon. What a great way to start! K&DCa first discovered it at the YBSJ on 7/2.
The season's first RED-NECKED GREBE returned to Yaquina Bay on 9/2 (JL), which is about when they arrive in many years (SemiL).
2 NORTHERN FULMARS washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in August (B&SLo, L&VO). 10 people at the Sept. YB&N meeting participate in beached bird surveys--2 (LO & VO) with Bob Loeffel's group and 8 with CoastWatch surveys. The USFWS also has a beached bird route between Seal Rocks and Alsea Bay, so many beaches are being monitored for dead birds in Lincoln County. Accordingly, please leave dead birds on the beach, so they may be counted.
On 9/21, PP saw a rare FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER about a quarter mile off Boiler Bay.
On 9/3, BH was fishing for tuna about 25 miles offshore and somewhat north of Newport. Tuna were feeding on sauries (long slender, marine surface fishes; Cololabis saira) and in doing so forcing the sauries to the surface where SOOTY SHEARWATERS would feed on them. The boat captain used the Sooties as a sign that there were tuna below, would motor to near the Sooties, and then turn off the motor to drift over the area where the tuna and shearwaters were feeding. Otherwise, the motor of the boat scattered the sauries [and tuna] and drove them down, so that the tuna couldn't be caught.
On 9/16, PP saw a sustained flight of about 150-300 Sooty Shearwaters per minute flying north about 1.5 miles off Spanish Head, and on 9/21, he saw about 20/minute flying north mostly about a quarter to a half mile off Boiler Bay. A feeding flock of many shearwaters and several hundred gulls was about 1.5 miles off Wandemere on 9/22 (RC).
On 9/14, LO found a live SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER on the beach by Thiel Creek--this may be the first live shearwater that BLo's group has found.
A beached PELAGIC CORMORANT north of Ona Beach in August was entangled in fish line with a heavy sinker (B&SLo, L&VO). If you see fishing line or 6 pack holders lying around, please pick them up and dispose of them!
This time of year, flocks of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS migrating south can be easily mistaken as migrating geese because they often fly in V's like geese. To add to the possible confusion, on 9/7, TW noticed "what appeared to be a large V of cormorants approaching the HMSC across the bay, but one side of the V seemed to be a bit light colored. As they got nearer, I discovered it was a mixed-species V, with the head and left wing composed of about 30 cormorants, and the right wing of about 15 CANADA GEESE. First time I've seen geese and cormorants flying together in formation."
On 9/16 during a half hour morning seawatch at Spanish Head, PP saw 500 BRANDT'S CORMORANTS flying north.
A flock of 8-10 BROWN PELICANS were with many gulls feeding on a school of baitfish at Yachats Bay on 9/27 (BB).
GREAT EGRETS have been gracing Alsea Bay near LL's home in early Sept. GREAT EGRETS have remained very abundant at Yaquina Bay embayments, with 83-84 counted on 8/22 & 9/19 (RB).
[IMAGE NOT INCLUDED] Howard Shippey's video still of part of the flock of Great Egrets (and their reflections!) with cormorants in the background at Idaho Point the east edge of Idaho Flats on 10/3.
On 9/5, RB was pleasantly surprised to see GREAT BLUE HERONS and GREAT EGRETS roosting at high tide on the Siletz Bay salt marsh island across from Immonen Road where he saw them roosting in 1973. Continuity of roosting sites is nice to see!
In the darkness of 9/7, the repeatedly squawking heron flew NW over the HMSC apartments (RB).
JG found 5 BLACK BRANT near the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 9/27; they are most likely summering birds moving around because the first Brant migrants don't appear until the last week of October.
WOOD DUCKS were at Newport Reservoir and Eckman Lake on 9/17 (BC & RG).
On 9/21, PP spotted many dabbling ducks, including NORTHERN PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL during his Boiler Bay seawatch.
DC reports a juvenile GOLDEN EAGLE on the north side of the Newport Airport on 9/13; an airport employee had also seen it. Golden Eagles are rare here.
LL noticed a BALD EAGLE occasionally flying over Alsea Bay that is often harassed by crows while doing so. At Idaho Flats on 8/30, JL "watched all the gulls fly up, so I looked for a predator and saw an adult Bald Eagle. The eagle had its eye on pirating a fish from an OSPREY, which seemed quite willing to drop the fish. The eagle caught the fish in mid- air and flew east over the LNG tank!"
A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was in Toledo on 9/5 (CP), and RL wrote about one on 9/7 near the USFWS building at the HMSC that "plucked the MOURNING DOVE right out of the air by an office at the end of our building! We watched it from about 20 feet away. Several times it tried to fly away with the dove only to have it snag on berry vines. After awhile it was able to disappear in the trees with its quarry. Quite a load for it to carry. So much for having an unusual dove around here!" [Mourning Doves are rare at the HMSC.]
On 8/31 RL spotted a MERLIN near his USFWS office at the HMSC, and the next day, SaL saw one near one of her Yachats feeders. This is about the time the first fall ones are found (SemiL).
An AMERICAN KESTREL was near the USFWS Offices at the HMSC on 8/31 (RL), and an adult male was in a nearly dead alder tree with 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS along the HMSC Nature Trail on 9/2 (JL). On 9/6, the kestrel was being chased by a Sharp-shinned Hawk (RL). It was at the alder again on 9/13 (TW). On 9/19, RL noted that there was quite a chase outside the USFWS building: "It began with a Merlin chasing the kestrel around. Then the Merlin started chasing a crow. A few minutes later a crow was chasing the kestrel. Looks like the kestrel is at the bottom of the pecking order." On 9/20, a female or juvenile kestrel was at the alder (JL). A kestrel was also at South Beach on 9/20 (EH), so kestrels are starting the fall with a very good showing.
A PEREGRINE FALCON was at Idaho Flats on 8/26 (JL) and near Lost Creek south of Newport on 9/14 (L&VO).
On 8/28, D&LF saw a CALIFORNIA QUAIL at the west end of the HMSC Nature Trail. 2 were at the back entrance to the HMSC on 9/20 (DG) and 9/25 (RB).
In early Sept., 1-2 female, very well fed, and fairly tame RING-NECKED PHEASANTS were in Yachats (BB; SaL).
5 GREATER YELLOWLEGS were at the South Beaver Flooded Pasture (pullout at Milepost 1.6 along South Beaver Creek Road just south of Seal Rock Stables and driveway to large white barn) on 9/26 (RB). Many waterfowl and shorebirds have been seen there in winter and spring.
3 WHIMBRELS and 1 MARBLED GODWIT were on the beach south of Seal Rocks on 9/12 & 13 (TD & SS).
On 9/17, BC & RG found a PECTORAL SANDPIPER and about 10 WILSON'S SNIPE at Lyon's Pond, a small pond along North Beaver Creek Road about 0.2 mile east of Ona Beach State Park and on the north side of the Road.
At least 150 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were spotted during PP & DS's 9/5 Boiler Bay seawatch, and 5 were also at the YBSJ on 9/17 (BC & RG).
A POMARINE JAEGER arrived at Boiler Bay on 9/21 (PP).
Lighting and thunder can startle gulls, too; since just after the 7/27 lightning storm started in Newport, JH & MG saw gulls flying inland, and RB heard them giving alarm calls in the darkness.
At low tide on 8/31, gulls and crows were feasting on mole crabs (Emerita sp.) on the beach north of Thiel Creek (L&VO).
Dead adult COMMON MURRES kept washing ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in August (B&SLo, L&VO) with an apparent total of 298. This is higher than any year since their tallies began in 1978; the previous high was 286 during the 1983 El Nino. Also found dead along their beach in August were a juvenile MARBLED MURRELET, a CASSIN'S AUKLET, and a juvenile RHINOCEROS AUKLET. During their 9/5 Boiler Bay seawatch, PP & DS saw 2 Marbled Murrelets, no Cassin's, 3 Rhino's, and a TUFTED PUFFIN, and during PP's 9/21 Boiler Bay seawatch, he spotted 7 Marbled's and no Cassin's, Rhino's, or Tufted Puffins.
[IMAGE NOT INCLUDED] Paula Carson's still image from a video camera through a window of a White-winged Dove that was briefly at her Newport home on 9/19 & 20.
On 9/19 & 20, a WHITE-WINGED DOVE was at PC's Newport home briefly. PC is going to fill out an Oregon Bird Records Committee form for it. Could it be the one that RF & CG saw in Newport on 6/8 and have lingered?
We only had 1 COMMON NIGHTHAWK report since May--one visited South Beach on 8/28 (EH).
The female BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD at J&KC's Darkey Creek home remained to at least 9/1. Since RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS have left J&KC's place, a male ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD has been singing in his favorite tree.
On 9/13, a NORTHERN FLICKER screamed as it was being chased by a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk at Darkey Creek (J&KC). At Thornton Creek on 9/20, DF heard a PILEATED WOODPECKER give a distress call "and looked up in time to see it being pursued by a Cooper's Hawk. The woodpecker escaped unharmed. I suspect that a Cooper's could well take a Pileated, but is not likely to do so. It seems to me from my hundreds of observations of accipiters hunting that a great many of their passes at other birds are more for the purpose of practicing their skills than for actually capturing a meal. From the cries it made, however, I don't think the Pileated was inclined to differentiate between the two." A Pileated was also in the forest near Waldport Elementary School on 9/10 (JW).
A WESTERN KINGBIRD visited Ona Beach State Park on 9/17 (BC & RG).
At her Darkey Creek home on 9/1, JC was "able to take some video of a WARBLING VIREO! Gosh, what a flighty bird! It was here last year, but I couldn't get pictures."
WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS often show in spring and fall (SemiL), but it appears that they may be more common this fall, with sightings at South Beach on 9/8 (EH), J&KC's Darkey Creek home on 9/11, BB's Yachats home on 9/15, in woods near the South Beach Community Center on 9/20 (TD), Thornton Creek on 9/22 (DF), and Wandemere on 9/23 (RC&WN).
On 9/26, COMMON RAVENS led the way along the road and GRAY JAYS alighted on the road up Elkhorn Road to Horse Creek Trail into Drift Creek Wilderness (RB). A family of GRAY JAYS was coming to a feeder at Elkhorn Creek above North Beaver Creek in late August (fide LO), and one was also at Thornton Creek, where they are uncommon on 9/21 (DF).
Departure dates include 9/14 for BARN SWALLOWS at South Beach and 8/29 for PURPLE MARTINS at Yaquina Bay (EH).
We are unaware of the movements of many common birds. WINTER WRENS can be found throughout the year and nest at some locations, but DF's Thornton Creek observations at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#thornton_creek reveal that they are much more frequent from September through April. This year, RC similarly noticed an influx of Winter Wrens at Wandemere on 9/20.
On 9/1, DF noted that he had been hearing SWAINSON'S THRUSH going over Thornton Creek at night for several weeks and writes that in order to hear them before the first week in October: "go out into a secluded patch of woods, preferably one with some deciduous trees, about half an hour before daylight. At that time you will hear the soft 'heep' calls of Swainson's Thrushes calling to one another in the sky. As the first hint of daylight begins to creep up on the eastern horizon, the calls increase in frequency, as if the birds were telling each other it was time to quit the migratory flight and settle down for the daylight hours. Just as dawn actually begins to lighten the woodlands, that is exactly what the thrushes do. As they settle into the trees and shrubbery, (you can actually see them then) they continue to call to each other for a very brief period of time, and then they stop. You never hear another sound from them all day long, and it would be very easy to walk through the woods all day without detecting the presence of a single one of them. As dusk begins to settle, the process is repeated in reverse. Quiet 'whit' calls begin to resonate from the throats of hundreds of thrushes still in hiding in the foliage, and as dark begins to descend upon the forest, you can hear the calling birds begin to rise into the sky to resume their nocturnal journeys. So and you will get to experience a truly soul-thrilling event."
RB first heard a few in the late evening of 8/28 at the HMSC. At 5:30 AM, JL heard them on 9/3 at her home between Toledo and Siletz. Our latest report was 9/23 at South Beach (EH).
Several migrant flocks of WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were at DF's Thornton Creek home on 9/21--in recent years, DF has come to expect them on almost a daily basis there in September and October.
SaL found our only recent AMERICAN DIPPER along the north Fork of the Yachats River about 9 miles NE of Yachats on 9/25. An AMERICAN PIPIT flew over South Beach on 9/8 (EH) and was at Boiler Bay on 9/21 (PP). On 9/17, GS watched about 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS flying back and forth between 100 year old trees at her Newport home.
At South Beach, TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS returned on 8/30 and YELLOW WARBLERS departed on 9/21 (EH). At Darkey Creek, J&KC's bird baths were graced by a flock of 6 WESTERN TANAGERS during 8/16-20, and, on 9/13, JC notes: "The feeders have become nearly empty with the last of the BLACK- HEADED GROSBEAKS gone. I miss their lovely garment of orange and black, their love of using the peanut butter log and listening to their 'mews' to each other."
Although DARK-EYED JUNCOS nest at some places in Lincoln County, at many areas they are migratory. The first of the fall at Wandemere arrived on 9/20 (RC).
PP found Lincoln County's 3rd BREWER'S SPARROW at the north side of D River on 9/25. After being absent all summer, PINE SISKINS returned to CP's Toledo feeders on 9/8.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Rich Armstrong, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Paula Carson, Kerri & Dave Cawthon (K&DCa), Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (www.birdsamore.com), Barbara Combs, Doug Cottam, Todd Dunkirk, Darrel & Laura Faxon, Roy Filby, Robin Gage, Joel Geier, Dawn Grafe, Cathy Grimm, Mike Guthrie, John Hagan, Bill Hanshumaker, Eric Horvath, Janet Lamberson, Lola Landis, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Walt Nelson, OBOL (Oregon Birders On Line; recent postings is at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Gerti Schramm, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Howard Shippey, David Smith, Stacy Strickland, Tom Wainwright, Jean Weakland.
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, 2005), 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, SPANISH HEAD: pullout north of Inn at Spanish Head at 4009 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
On 10/22, an uncommon CLARK'S GREBE visited Boiler Bay (WH), and the season's first EARED GREBE appeared at Sallys Bend (ASCFT). PACIFIC LOONS were migrating south in late Oct. with a peak of about 200-600/minute at Boiler Bay on 10/27 (PP).
2 rare FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS and 65 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were viewed during the 10/1 BGPT off Newport.
During WH's Boiler Bay seawatch on 10/16, he spotted 8 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS and 9 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS. The latest Pink-footed was at Boiler Bay on 10/22 (WH), and the latest Buller's was there on 10/28 (PP).
BROWN PELICANS were very numerous in October (many observers), and, in mid-Oct., RM saw "lots of pelicans on each rock" at Yaquina Head. The highest counts were a total of 900 flying south in many small groups past Spanish Head on 10/18 (PP), and more than 600 at the creek outfalls between Beverly and Moolack beaches north of Yaquina Head on 10/20 (DD). On 10/19 at Yaquina Head, CA saw 74 perched on a long rock ledge, and "I watched them for over 3 hours and enjoyed watching the interaction between them and the gulls. The pelicans were occupying areas where the gulls often land, and I'd see them try to land but the pelicans would open their enormous bills and snap at them. So the gulls positioned themselves lower on the rocks and judging from the huge flock I saw fly up a couple of times they were also on the west side of the long rock. It seemed to me that when the winds would calm a bit, some of the pelicans would 'test fly' but as the storm would get worse they'd all end up back over on the long ledge."
5 BRANDT'S CORMORANTS and 4 PELAGIC CORMORANTS were washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in September (B&SLo, L&VO).
On 10/10, WH saw 3 flocks with 50 or so DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS each flying south along the central Lincoln County Coast. At Spanish Head, PP saw 270, including one wedge of 230; on 10/18; he also noted more flying south on 10/21. At Boiler Bay, WH spotted 250 on 10/22. While migrating in V's or strings, they can be mistaken for geese.
MH regularly drives along South Yaquina Bay Road but was surprised to see the high number of 25 GREAT EGRETS at the lagoon at Milepost 4.8 during 10/4-6.
At least one SNOW GOOSE visited Yaquina Head on 9/4 (BLM).
On 10/8, BLo found a live GR. WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on the beach at Beaver Creek that allowed BLo to approach within 50 yards. On 10/19, as CP walked the beach towards South Beach State Park, a flock of 60 white-fronts flew about 40 ft overhead in wet weather, and he walked within 15 paces of 1 White-front that was grounded. An immature white-front that appeared sickly was near the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/16, and two juveniles were grazing near a HMSC building on 10/21 (TW). Migration is tough, and these singletons appear to have dropped out of their flocks.
On 10/19 along the beach at South Shore in South Beach, CP discovered a flock of 60 dark CANADA GEESE on the beach that were probably Duskies. BB noted some flocks of south-bound Canadas over Yachats the first week of Oct., and on 10/7, SaL was doing yard work at her Yachats home when a flock of 46 flew overhead to the south. On 10/15, BB estimated 26 flocks with many flocks having 60-100 geese or more between 10 AM and noon. At Yachats on 10/25, BB writes that 2-3 Canadas "are hanging out daytimes in an empty lot for the past week. One has a damaged leg and hops about quite happily. It doesn't seem to be a recent injury, and it otherwise appears fat and happy. They fly out at dusk, I presume heading for water at night."
During Boiler Bay seawatches, 1,500 CACKLING GEESE were sighted on 10/16 (WH), with 5-8 on 10/25 & 26 (PP). 25 flew by Spanish Head on 10/18 (PP), and 3 were grounded at YBSJ on 10/28 (JL).
One BLACK BRANT on 10/25 at Boiler Bay (PP) is hard to interpret as whether it is a sign of migration. But on 10/28, the 7 at Boiler Bay (PP) and 4 at Idaho Flats (JL) are a clearer sign. They have often arrived the last week of Oct. (SemiL).
The season's first EURASIAN WIGEON was reported at Yaquina Bay on 10/16 (RM, JN, SA), and 3 males and a female were at Idaho Flats on 10/122 (ASCFT). They are usually first reported in Oct. (SemiL), though they may be around earlier and hard to detect because they are in eclipse plumage.
Duck migration is underway, and one of the signs are the ones that don't make it. Dead along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in early October were a MALLARD hen, a HY NORTHERN PINTAIL drake, and a pintail hen (B&SLo, L&VO).
At Siletz Bay on 10/22, the YBNFT viewed a great selection of duck decoys that confused the discovery of real ducks.
This may have been our month with the most widely distributed HARLEQUIN DUCK records. A few were in Yaquina Bay during the 10/1 BGPT, and 1-15 were at the YBSJ on 10/5, 9, 15, 16, & 22 (JL; NS, NRi, & DA; TJ, DB, B&NR; RM, JN, SA; JS). 2-4 were also at Seal Rocks on 10/15 (TJ, DB, B&NR), Spanish Head on 10/21 (PP), and Boiler Bay on 10/22 (WH).
Thousands of SURF SCOTERS migrated south past Spanish Head or Boiler Bay on 10/18 & 22 (PP; WH). A flock of at least 50 scoters were north of Beaver Creek on 10/24 (KB).
1-2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS flew south past Spanish Head on 10/18 and Boiler Bay on 10/26 (PP).
A BALD EAGLE landed on the crabbing dock railing at the Newport Bayfront on 10/7 (CT), and several others were also noticed.
Our latest OSPREY reports were of one at Yaquina Bay on 10/9 (NS, NRi, & DA) and during the 10/22 YBNFT.
On 10/9 at their home near Eckman Lake, R&LL were "amused to watch a male and female SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS chasing STELLER'S JAYS off our feeders for 45 minutes or so. Each hawk took a feeder, and they never seemed to work together. Once they chased one another, but mostly they did there own thing. Interestingly, the jays would dart into a nearby bush or tree to escape a hawk's stoop, but the instant the hawk passed by they would go right back out to the feeder. At times a hawk could be seen perched 50 feet away and they would still come out and feed. The hawks made numerous attempts but never got a jay."
A PEREGRINE FALCON stirred up a shorebird flock that NS, NRi, & DA were watching on 10/9 at Siletz Bay, and 1 was also at Boiler Bay on 10/22 (WH).
2 female CALIFORNIA QUAIL fed outside DG's office at the HMSC on 10/24.
[Image Not Included] Roy Lowe's photo of 2 female CALIFORNIA QUAIL roosting out in the open after scurrying through the blackberries near the USFWS building at the HMSC on 10/24. Their "scaled" bellies distinguish them from Mountain Quail.
A BLACK OYSTERCATCHER at the YBSJ on 10/9 (NS, NRi, & DA) is not to be expected for that site. Our only WANDERING TATTLER reports were for Yaquina Head on 9/4, 9, & 14 (BLM).
The season's first ROCK SANDPIPER was with about 30 BLACK TURNSTONES at the YBSJ on 10/16 (RM, JN, SA), which is about on time (SemiL).
MARBLED GODWIT records include 1 at "Wecoma Cove" at HMSC on 9/29 (JL), 4 at Siletz Bay on 10/9 (NS, NRi, & DA), and 12 at Idaho Flats on 10/22 (ASCFT).
On 10/9 at Siletz Bay, NS, NRi, & DA also spotted 1 RED KNOT, 40 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, 3 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 3 DOWITCHER SP., 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 4 DUNLIN, and 50 SANDERLINGS. On 10/12 at Yachats, there was another juvenile RED KNOT (B&ZS, fide DP).
On the beach south of South Beach State Park on 10/19, CP saw a flock of 200 DUNLIN, 8 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, 100 SANDERLING, and 1 LEAST SANDPIPER that were with 1 WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE.
The only phalaropes were 80 RED PHALAROPES flying south in small groups at Boiler Bay on 10/25 (PP).
4 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and PARASITIC, POMARINE, and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS graced the 10/1 BGPT off Newport. From shore, WH saw 4 Pomarine and 3 Parasitic Jaegers at Boiler Bay on 10/16 and 2 Parasitic and 1 probably 1 Pomarine on 10/22; another Parasitic visited Spanish Head on 10/18 & 21 (PP).
On 10/14, a flock of about 80 unidentified gulls were circling over the YBSJ are as if they were hawking insects (KM).
On 10/9, WH noted "flocks of hundreds of CALIFORNIA GULLS and scores of HEERMANN'S GULLS at every creek mouth or other traditional roost between Newport and Yachats." Lots of these two species were also noted during other October seawatches at Spanish Head or Boiler Bay (PP; WH), with peaks of as many as 3,500 Californias and 1,800 Heermann's at Spanish Head or Boiler Bay on 10/21 & 22 (PP; WH).
Our first THAYER'S GULL of the season was at Yaquina Bay on 10/16 (RM, JN, SA), and our latest CASPIAN TERNS were reported at Idaho Flats on 10/22 (ASCFT).
Dead adult COMMON MURRES kept washing ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in September (B&SLo, L&VO) with an apparent total of 316 so far this year. This is higher than any year since their tallies began in 1978; the previous high was 286 during the 1983 El Nino. They also found 9 HY murres, and the only other alcids found dead along their beach in September were 2 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS. On 10/14, 2 live PG's in winter plumage were at the YBSJ (KM); 1-6 were at Boiler Bay on 10/14, 16, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 (WH; PP), and 1 was at Spanish Head on 10/18, 20, & 21 (PP). Up to 1986 , it was rare to see them this late (SemiL).
1-3 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were at Boiler Bay on 10/14, 22, 25, 27, & 28 (PP; WH), and 2 were at Spanish Head on 10/21 (PP).
MARBLED MURRELET reports were widely distributed with 1 at Yaquina Head on 9/3 (BLM), 4 near the Yaquina jetties on 10/16 (RM, JN, SA), 2-35 at Spanish Head on 10/18, 20, & 21 (PP); and 2-59 at Boiler Bay on 10/25, 28 & 29 (PP).
1-13 ANCIENT MURRELETS were at Spanish Head on 10/18 & 21 (PP) and Boiler Bay on 10/22, 25, & 28 (WH; PP).
On 10/12 at his Thornton Creek home, DF wrote that: "just before dawn while walking through a 20 year old stand of douglas fir which I had thinned last winter I heard some quiet owl vocalizations nearby. So I made a few imitation mouse squeaks, and within seconds a SAW-WHET OWL flew to an overhead branch about eight feet from me, and peered down at me curiously. Seconds later, it was joined by a second bird, which copied the behavior of the first one. I couldn't see any color on them, but they were so close I could easily make out the puffy shaped head which marked them as Saw-whets. After I moved from the trees into a nearby clearcut, I could still hear the owls chuckling to each other for another ten or fifteen minutes."
An ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD worked LO's fuchsias in North Beaver Creek on 10/14.
At Sally's Bend on 10/14, KM watched a male BELTED KINGFISHER with her scope and noted that "When hovering, the kingfisher's eyes appear white, as if the nictating membrane is closed. He doesn't look at all as if he is looking down. His body really is nearly motionless."
A PILEATED WOODPECKER was in the pine and spruce trees at Sandpiper Village, just north of Waldport, on 10/13 (JG).
A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was at KS's home in North Beaver Creek in mid-Oct. (fide LO), and they were almost of daily occurrence at LO's home in late Oct.
A WESTERN KINGBIRD, unusual this late, was reported at Yaquina Head on 9/3 (BLM). More to be expected in October, RL found a TROPICAL KINGBIRD on 10/24, and JL also got a chance to see it.
[Image Not Included] Roy Lowe's photo of a perched TROPICAL KINGBIRD along the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/24. Note the notch in the tail that separates it from a Western Kingbird.
On 10/10, BB had 5 GRAY JAYS "eating sunflower seeds eagerly at my feeders in Yachats."
On 10/13, DF noted that he was still hearing some migrating SWAINSON'S THRUSHES before dawn at Thornton Creek.
PP detected our only AMERICAN PIPITS with 4 at Spanish Head on 10/18 and 2 at Boiler Bay on 10/27.
WESTERN MEADOWLARKS included 2-4 at the HMSC on 10/3 & 8 (JL; RB) and 1 in downtown Yachats in an undeveloped lot on 10/25 (BB).
GG discovered a SNOW BUNTING along the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/29. GG's photos are at http://thebirdguide.com/digiscoping/album.htm. They are more expected along the South Jetty Road west of Yaquina Bay Bridge. In 1900, the first report was on Oct. 29, but in many years they were not recorded until November (SemiL).
[Image Not Included] Roy Lowe's photo of the Snow Bunting at the HMSC Nature Trail on 11/1. That may be the glint of the sun in its eye.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Devin Allphin, Cindy Ashy, ASCFT (led by Paula Vanderheul and reported by Marcia Cutler), Suzanne Bythell-Austin (SA), Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Kitty Brigham, Dan van den Broek (DB), Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Dick Demarest, Darrel Faxon, Greg Gillson, Dawn Grafe, Jill Grover, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT; info about pelagic trips, http://thebirdguide.com), Wayne Hoffman, Mary Holbert, Tim Janzen, Janet Lamberson, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy & Laurie Lowe, Kathy Merrifield, Ruby Miller, Randy Moore, Jamie Nelson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Diane Pettey, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Bill & Niko Ranta, Nate Richardson (NRi), Kate Scanlon, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Joline Shroyer, Bill & Zanah Stotz, Noah Strycker, Cynthia Trowbridge, Tom Wainwright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by DD).
I apologize, there is no way I can put together the bird notes this month without further delay of the Sandpiper. So this month will only touch on two species of birds--Barred & Snowy Owls.
I will try to incorporate bird notes for this month with those of December for the December newsletter, which is only a few weeks away in the heart of the Holiday season....
It appears that we had a mini-invasion of Barred Owls in very conspicuous places.
On 10/30, Jean Weakland and her friend Pat saw a Barred Owl, and Jean wrote:
"We couldn't believe it! As we drove into Seawoods [south of Waldport] - where we live - a large bird flew over the hood of the car landing on a branch alongside the road. I stopped - backed up and thought it looked like an owl! It obliged us by flying to the other side of the road where we could get a look at it - and there it sat even with the car lights beaming near."
It was also in the area, the next day, and Jean wrote that she found it at:
"4:30 when our owl flew up into a tree a few feet in but along side the road. I rushed back to house with the dog, grabbed the binocs and headed back where the owl, and I watched each other carefully....And so two days in a row this individual owl has found it convenient to fly out so we knew he/she was there and then perched close by so we could inspect one another. What fun! And especially exciting for one who has only seen a live owl now 3 times in 73 years! Whew! Keep your binocs handy."
[Image Not Included. Howard Shippey's photo of a Barred Owl near an apartment building above the Newport Bayfront (SW Lee Street) on Nov. 1.]
On Nov. 1, Howard Shippey found a Barred Owl in a Newport residential area, and his neighbor Connie Hildebrand wrote:
"My neighbor Howard and I spent about a half hour watching this owl watch us. I think his pictures came out great, he set up his tripod in the driveway across from me, and we just sat quiet so as not to disturb him, it was quite an exciting experience to see him so up close."
Howard graciously shared his video of this Barred Owl with us at our Nov. 17 meeting.
Khanh Tran first saw A Snowy Owl along the Yaquina Bay South Jetty on Nov. 25, and promptly reported it to Michael Marsh (Portland), who relayed on the message. As a consequence of relayed messages, many local as well out of county birders have seen at least one in dunes and trees and on the jetty as well as flying over to the North Jetty to at least Dec. 9. On Dec. 8, Judy Butts and Dick Demarest each reported seeing two. The one at Coos Bay was shot--see an article in the Dec. 10 Oregonian.
Cindy Ashy has seen the Snowy Owl and notes that some people have been getting "far too close to the Snowy in Newport, causing it to waste much energy in vigilant head raising and even sometimes flying away." Please be respectful of the Snowy, and keep your distance!
There is an Oregon Revised Statute that prohibits disturbing or harassing wildlife, but it really is up to people to exercise restraint. Unfortunately, some birders and some photographers want to get ever closer and are not knowledgeable enough to know that they are causing a disturbance. Please respect wildlife!
In Ram Papish's Nov. program about the breeding of Steller's Eider at Barrow, Alaska, he noted that the breeding of Steller's Eider, one of the jaeger species, and Snowy Owls goes in cycles and is related to the lemming cycle, with 2005 being a good nesting year for the Eider after 4 (?) years of failure. As Janet Lamberson notes, "Maybe the owls also bred successfully and are crowding the young ones out. All things are bound together!" So perhaps this may be connected to the invasion of Snowy Owls in Western Oregon now?
[Image Not Included. Howard Shippey's Nov. 30 photo of a Snowy Owl on a tree near the Yaquina Bay South Jetty.]
You traveled more than 2000 miles
to find our patch of grassy dunes
reminiscent of your tundra home
We welcome you as our honored guest
Just a glimpse of your snowy white form
is a privilege and a thrill
With our naked eyes
you are but a speck on the landscape
but you fill our vision and our hearts
We admire you, study you, and treasure you
With the aid of our scopes
we observe you atop a dune
alert to every sound
watching us as we watch you
We hope you stay the winter
and share more glorious sunsets
Nature is all the more beautiful
with you in the picture
[Image Not Included. Howard Shippey's Nov. 30 photo of a Snowy Owl at the Yaquina Bay South Jetty as it coughs up a pellet. Howard later got the pellet and may bring it to our Dec. 15 meeting, so come to hear Eric Horvath talk about the Galapagos and maybe also see a Snowy Owl pellet! Where else can you have such a combination?]
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, 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 1.2 miles south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on the east side of Hwy 101, OCAq: 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, SPANISH HEAD: pullout north of Inn at Spanish Head at 4009 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
An uncommon YELLOW-BILLED LOON was with Common Loons about 300 yards off Boiler Bay on 12/23 (PP), and a CLARK'S GREBE was beached along 4.6 miles of beach north Ona Beach on 11/17 (B&SLo, L&VO).
During his 11/4 seawatch, PP spotted a white-bellied albatross that probably was a LAYSAN ALBATROSS at Boiler Bay. 2 beached, dead BLACK- FOOTED ALBATROSSES were north of Ona Beach in Nov. (B&SLo, L&VO).
During the 11/19 BGPT, only 5 fulmars were seen within 5 miles of shore, but 85 were further offshore.
The last week of November and first week of December saw 151 NORTHERN FULMARS (15.2% were light-phase) washing ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO). Live fulmars are rarely found beached, but LO found three moribund ones in the wrack line. A similar die-off was noted by JH in Coos County, who sent 3 fulmars off to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center; they found all 3 to be emaciated and to be juvenile females. In comparison, 2.6% of the 424 dead fulmars found in late 2003 along the beaches north of Ona Beach were light-phase and the beaching was much more extended over several months (BLo).
During seawatches at Boiler Bay or Spanish Head, PP counted zero fulmars on 11/1, 4 & 6; 1 on 11/14 & 15; 60 (13.3% light) on 11/26; 300 (about 20% light) on 12/2; and zero on 12/23, 25, 26, and 29.
Thus, like in 2003, PP's seawatches show a spike in numbers of live fulmars seen from shore at about the same time that B&SLo and L&VO were finding large numbers washing ashore dead. Also, like in 2003, the proportion of light-phase fulmars seen during seawatches was similar to that of beached ones.
In past years, we have often have had BROWN PELICANS lingering into December and even January (SemiL), but our last report this year was on 11/14 at Boiler Bay (PP).
On 11/6, JL saw large flocks of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS flying over Depoe Bay (JL). The morning of 11/7, DS saw 730+ DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS flying south in 3 flocks, the largest of which was 350, south of Depoe Bay. On first glance, these cormorant migrants can be mistaken as migrating geese.
During the 11/19 YBNFT, KB notes that they were amused by a GREAT BLUE HERON sunning itself like a cormorant on an offshore rock at Seal Rock.
4 adult TUNDRA SWANS alighted briefly at Idaho Flats on 11/9 (RL).
1-2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE along with 2-3 CACKLING GEESE were at the YBSJ on 11/1 & 8 (JL) and 12/24 (PPa).
Our highest BRANT count was of 195 on 12/15 at Idaho Flats (JL).
At the YBSJ, NS found our first LONG-TAILED DUCK on 11/6 (NS), and JL also spotted it on 11/8. Starting on 11/26, many people looking for the Snowy Owl also saw the nearby Long-tailed Duck through the 12/31 YCBC, with 3 counted on 12/10 (JD). They were also often noted at Boiler Bay (PP).
NS found 4 HARLEQUIN DUCKS at the YBSJ on 11/6. Many Snowy Owl observers also saw the Harlequins, and 12 were at Seal Rocks on 12/14 (KT).
A male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at Sallys Bend during the 12/31 YCBC was the first at Yaquina Bay since January 2002.
On 11/14, PP spotted a rare female KING EIDER or COMMON EIDER about 1/2 mile offshore of Boiler Bay.
On 12/5, SaL discovered a rare female KING EIDER 100 ft out from the Port Docks at Waldport. She relocated it on 12/16 about 5 ft off the Port Docks, and JW photographed it. It was also found on 12/17 (CP; AC; DSm).
[Image Not Included. Jean Weakland's photo of a female King Eider on 12/16 near the Port of Alsea docks at Waldport.]
Our latest OSPREY report was of 1 near the HMSC on 11/6 (NS). During their 119 mile Lincoln Co. Coast Raptor Run on 12/9, WH, WN, and RC found that RED-TAILED HAWKS (18) were the most numerous raptor, with BALD EAGLES (11) second, NORTHERN HARRIERS (5) third, and PEREGRINE FALCONS (3) fourth.
One RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was 4 miles east of Siletz on 11/12 (BLl), and another was calling in Toledo on 11/22 (EH).
An AMERICAN KESTREL was at the HMSC on 11/15 (PLw). On 11/15, RO was driving about 50 mph along HWY 101 north of Yaquina Head with a PEREGRINE FALCON cruising alongside for about a quarter to half mile!
While looking for two Snowy Owls at the YBSJ, KT detected an uncommon NORTHERN GOSHAWK on 12/14, and another was found in Hidden Valley west of Toledo during the 12/31 YCBC.
An immature COOPER'S HAWK was at the log pond between the HMSC and OCAq on 11/17 (JL & PLw); on 12/15, SD notes that it was chasing a Belted Kingfisher, though it "didn't have the acceleration or the determination" to get the kingfisher.
[Image Not Included. Dawn Grafe's photo of a juvenile female Sharp-shinned or male Cooper's Hawk near her HMSC feeder on 11/30.]
In mid-December, there was a cold snap, and BLl noted that the ground was frozen at Logsden. As sometimes then happens, KILLDEER began appearing in large flocks along the Coast. On 12/20, BB "saw 25-30 killdeer up in the grass along the south beach access road in Yachats. Amazingly, hardly any were solitary, most were in groups of 4-8."
About 12 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS in several flocks at Seal Rocks during 11/19 YBNFT. In past winters, we have more often had reports of flocks of 10 or more.
7-8 MARBLED GODWITS were near the HMSC on 11/2 (JL) and 12/14 (KT). A very unseasonal WANDERING TATTLER was espied at Yaquina Head during the 12/31 YCBC.
1 ROCK SANDPIPER was on the Yaquina Bay North Jetty during the 11/19 BGPT, and 1-2 were often reported on the Yaquina North or South Jetty during December by Spotted Owl observers, with 13 counted on 12/10 (JD). 3-5 were also at Seal Rocks on 12/10 (JD) and 12/14 (KT).
Our last report of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES was of 2 mixed with 16 RED PHALAROPES during PP's Boiler Bay seawatch on 11/4. A few Red Phalaropes were noted farther than 5 miles offshore during the 11/19 BGPT, and 1-3 were flying at YBSJ , Boiler Bay, or near Waldport during 12/1-10 (SSh; JG; RR, JD; PP). After storms, many Red Phalaropes began to be reported onshore on 12/22 (DG; PP), and they were frequently reported through the 12/31 YCBC.
Our latest POMARINE JAEGER was at Boiler Bay on 11/15 (PP).
On 11/14 at Boiler Bay, PP observed a WESTERN GULL with a silver leg band (07666-13524) and reported it. It turns out that it was banded by our own USFWS biologist RL in June 1987 near Otter Rock, so it is almost 18.5 years old! RL notes that he banded 50 juvenile gulls in the late 1980's and early 1990's, and all previous recoveries had been within 2 years of banding. Will 07666-13524 be seen again? Keep an eye open!
On 12/3, JG found a rare, very weak XANTUS' MURRELET beached at Bayshore Beach, just north of Waldport. She notes that it did not have white markings behind and above the eye like hypoleuca subspecies.
At Boiler Bay in Nov. and Dec., PP often noted MARBLED MURRELETS (high count of 115, mostly in pairs, on 11/4) and 2-13 ANCIENT MURRELETS (peak of 55 on 11/14).
A lonely BAND-TAILED PIGEON visited J&KC's home about 4 miles east of Waldport on 11/28. They occasionally show up in winter (SemiL).
[Image Not Included. Dick Demarest's photo of Snowy Owl at YBSJ on 12/17.]
As reported last month, KT first discovered a SNOWY OWL at the YBSJ on 11/25 and promptly reported it. Many, many people have seen one through at least 12/31. One has also been found at dawn or dusk near the North Jetty, so it moves around a bit. For instance, RBe writes "At midnight on Christmas Eve, I was treated to a close-up view of the Snowy Owl by the fire hydrant near the Visitor's Center in the HMSC parking lot!
At YBSJ, 2 were only seen at the same time (one on the beach, one in the dunes) on 12/8 (JB; DD; CK). CK writes: "One owl came flying up the beach from the south and landed near the first owl. At one point the lighter colored owl flew out over the ocean and came back in with gulls diving at it and that is when it landed on the driftwood. Great owl show and another beautiful day at the coast." BC has photos of both posted at http://www.birdphotographique.com (click on "What's New").
CA teased apart a pellet regurgitated by a Snowy that HS had found, and found some tiny feathers amongst some bones. On 12/15, MPe talked to a surfer who reported that he had seen the YBSJ Snowy eating a cormorant. On 12/19, MPa commented that he has been examining pellets cast by Clatsop County Snowy Owls and found that the main food item appears to be Black Rats; see his web page at http://home.pacifier.com/~neawanna/SNOW/SNOW20051120.html; on 12/23, after many Red Phalaropes were blown onshore, he found that one pellet contained at least 3 phalaropes.
On 12/14, KT found a Snowy on top of one of the rocks at Seal Rocks State Park.
[Image Not Included. Howard Shippey's photo of a perched YBSJ Snowy Owl stretching its wings while bending forward on a post on 12/16.]
Besides JW's late October and HS' 11/1 BARRED OWL sightings reported in the last newsletter, LO heard one at North Beaver Creek on 11/1, and PK found one on a low branch in the woods by the Newport Reservoir on 12/22.
A very late subadult male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD showed up at J&LM's feeders at their home just east of Sallys Bend on about 12/4. On 12/22, D&LF saw it, and DF wrote that it is a "Rufous because of size and shape, a considerable amount of red in the throat, a predominately reddish lower back and tail, and a significant amount of what were apparently rufous feather bases showing through the green feathers on the back and particularly the scapulars. By spring this bird is obviously going to have a rufous back." It was also appreciated during the 12/31 YCBC.
TD & SSt were graced with a PILEATED WOODPECKER as they hiked Mike Miller Park on 11/9.
4 RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS were in a shore pine south of Depoe Bay on 11/20 (DS).
In early December at North Beaver Creek, LO has been hosting 30 STELLER'S JAYS by scattering seed in the driveway, one of which is "tenor voiced" that "sounds like a starter motor that can't quite get the engine started."
On 12/17, AC found an unseasonal BARN SWALLOW about 2 miles south of Waldport that are rare in winter (SemiL).
An uncommon TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was a great find near Ona Beach during the 12/31 YCBC. PP discovered a flock of 11+ WESTERN BLUEBIRDS at Gorton Road Drift Creek Pasture east of Siletz Bay on 12/27--they are rarely reported this close to the ocean.
PD reported our first HERMIT THRUSH on 10/31 in Toledo.
On 11/3, RF spotted and photographed what is probably an uncommon, immature ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at his Newport feeder.
Our first WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was at J&KC's home about 4 miles east of Waldport on 11/6; another was at a feeder near Toledo during the 12/31 YCBC.
While enroute to see the Snowy Owl, AC found a BREWER'S or CLAY- COLORED SPARROW with other sparrows at a bush with red berries near the site of the old trailer park along the Yaquina Bay South Jetty road on 12/17. His photographs indicate that is a Clay-colored and, on 12/18, D&LF and CP also relocated it and thought it was a Clay-colored. DS saw it on 12/23, and it was also reported during the 12/31 Yaquina Bay Christmas Bird Count.
A WESTERN MEADOWLARK was in Yachats on 11/13 (MR) and 11/24 (PB); and 2-4 were at the HMSC during November (JL; DG).
An odd-looking HOUSE FINCH with whitish feathers mixed with reddish feathers on its head visited the HMSC on 11/28 (DG & RL).
A SNOW BUNTING was at Seal Rocks on 11/26 (PB), who wrote: "The bird was running back and forth near the hillside lunging at insects (just missing a large flying bug of some kind)." One also at YBSJ on 12/3 (WH; CA).
An unseasonal female BULLOCK'S ORIOLE at a north Newport feeder during 12/31 YCBC--they have appeared in winter before (SemiL).
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Cindy Ashy, Betty Bahn, Phyllis Bailey, Renee Bellinger (RBe), Kitty Brigham, Judy Butts, Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Alan Contreras, Bruce Craig, Jim Danzenbaker, Dick Demarest, Pat Dickey, Steve Dowlan, Todd Dunkirk, Darrel & Laura Faxon, Roy Filby, Dawn Grafe, Jill Grover, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT; info about pelagic trips, http://thebirdguide.com), Jan Hodder, Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Penelope Kaczmarek, Carol Karlen, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson (PLw), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Walt Nelson, Robert Olson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Peter Patricelli (PPa), Mike Patterson (MPa), Matt Peterson (MPe), Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Mike Rivers, Roger Robb, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Howard Shippey, Steve Shunk (SSh), Dave Smith (DSm), Don Stein, Stacy Strickland (SSt), Noah Strycker, Khanh Tran, Jean Weakland, Yaquina Bay Christmas Bird Count (YCBC), Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip on 11/19 (YBNFT led by LO).