------------------------------- Month of Sandpiper, Volume 27 ------------------------------- January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006
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, 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, 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, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
Approximately weekly in 2005, B&SLo and L&VO conducted beach walks along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach. BLo's annual report notes that they found a total of 887 dead birds, which is higher than the 785 in 2003 and 499 in 2004. Excluding Common Murre chicks, the 860 other beached birds in 2005 was much higher than the average of 445 during 1978-2002.
Probably the most worrisome mortalities were the 339 adult murres this year, which was the most since BLo began in 1978. The previous high was 286 adults during the 1983 El Nino. Murres are long-lived, so a bad year of two of chick reproduction does not have as big an impact as a year in which many adults die. In 2005, only 27 dead murre chicks were found, which is much less than average.
An abnormally high 206 NORTHERN FULMARS were also found during a brief die-off in Nov. and early Dec.
BLo also notes that more than usual BRANDT'S CORMORANTS and PELAGIC CORMORANTS were found this year and may be related to the same poor feeding conditions that affected adult Common Murres.
Thanks to BLo and his team for continuing this series of beach walks! Their readily available data provide a quick glimpse of beached bird mortalities as well as a background of information to see if mortalities are abnormally high! To my knowledge, there is not a similarly long data set for beached birds elsewhere along the Pacific Coast, so we are fortunate to have BLo and his team.
WH noted an immature BROWN PELICAN that "looked miserable and out of place in the rain and wind" in one of the rainwater pools along the YBSJ road on 1/12.
On 1/5, PP saw a flock of 28 CACKLING GEESE flying south at Boiler Bay, and, on 1/8, BB & SaL saw a flight of 16 CANADA GEESE "in a V heading south" at Beachside State Park south of Waldport. It appears that there was a flight of Cackling/Canada Geese, which seems late.
2 GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE remained at YBSJ with 2 CACKLING GEESE through 1/3 (JL).
JL noted BLACK BRANT throughout the month with a peak count of about 180 on 1/20 at Idaho Flats. They overwinter in Idaho Flats and Sally's Bend areas; JL also saw one eating grass near the Gull Puddle along the YBSJ during 3 days in January, and 1 was also noted at the YBSJ on 1/13 (AW) and 1/17 (PJ). The YBSJ is an anomalous location for them in winter, but they often show up there during spring migration.
On 1/3, CP saw a flock of 56 RING-NECKED DUCKS in a single flock at Nute Slough, a freshwater slough at about mile 9.3 along north Yaquina Bay Road. A flock that large is rare.
1-2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were spotted at Boiler Bay during 4 days in Jan. (PP). Many Snowy Owl observers, including D&JD, also saw 1-6 Long- tailed Ducks throughout January at the YBSJ. The most unexpected sighting was MC's and PV's pair at Sally's Bend on 1/21--they are rare that far upstream.
A HARLEQUIN DUCK was uncommon at Boiler Bay with only 2 sightings during 10 days of Jan. seawatches (PP). As many as 7 were counted at the YBSJ during Jan. (many obs.), and the furthest Harlequin upstream was 1 female near the HMSC pump dock on 1/6 (JL).
PP counted thousands of SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS at Boiler Bay throughout January.
On 1/27, JW spotted two Bald Eagles in the large snag at Ona Beach and notes that when there are two, the larger "queen" perches higher than the smaller "king."
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was hovering near the south end of Toledo airport on 1/20 (SK).
DG & RL found a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK outside their HMSC office building on 1/30, and TW reported that he had also seen it there in late January.
1 PEREGRINE FALCON was near HMSC on 1/21 (MC & PV).
On 1/21, WN, WH, & RC did their second Lincoln Co. Raptor Route this winter (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. They saw many more total raptors than in their previous counts, with notably more adult Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks. Their 2 counts this winter suggest that Red-tails and Peregrines are more numerous than last winter. Thanks for doing this route--these surveys are fascinating!
------------------------------------------- Lincoln Co. 2004- 2005-2006__ Raptor Route 2005* 12/9 1/21 ------------------------------------------- White-tailed Kite 1-3 0 3 Bald Eagle adults 2-12 8+ 16 " " subadults 1-4 1+ 5 " " unknown 0 2 0 " " total 4-14 11 21 Northern Harrier 0-1 5 1 Cooper's Hawk 0-2 1 4 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 2 Accipiter sp. 0 0 1 Red-tailed Hawk 10-14 18 22 Red-should. Hawk 0-2 0 0 American Kestrel 1-4 1 5 Merlin 0 0 1 Peregrine Falcon 0-1 3 2 Snowy Owl 0 1 0 SUM 29-34 41 62 Counts 3 1 1 Miles 119-121 119 120 Hours 7.3-7.5 7 8 * 12/18/2004, 1/16/2005, 2/12/2005 -------------------------------------------
[Image not included: Noah Strycker's photo of 4 Marbled Godwits roosting in the Hatfield Marine Science Center parking lot at high tide during the 12/31 Christmas Bird Count. Photo from http://www.noahstrycker.com/randompages/yaquinaCBC.htm]
JL spotted 1 MARBLED GODWIT eating earthworms in grass adjacent to Gull Puddle at YBSJ on 1/18. 1 was also with 3 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS at Idaho Flats on 1/21 (MC & PV), and 1 was also there on 1/28 (FS).
During the cold spell on 12/17, BLl saw 6 KILLDEER slip-sliding on ice-covered Logsden Lake near the Store, and a flock of another 6 all day in a Yaquina Head Parking Lot on 12/20 (BLM) also seems related to the freezing weather.
3 ROCK SANDPIPERS were at Depoe Bay on 1/2 (PS & CK), and our last RED PHALAROPE was reported at Boiler Bay on 1/11 (PP).
PP noted PIGEON GUILLEMOTS at Boiler Bay during 8 of his 10 January seawatches with a peak count of at least 15 on 1/1.
MARBLED MURRELETS were regulars at Boiler Bay with a peak count of 119 on 1/13 (PP). But PP found ANCIENT MURRELETS to be rare at Boiler Bay this January as they were only seen on one day (3 on 1/11) of his 10 days of January seawatches.
[Image not included: Patty Burke's Jan. 6 photo of Snowy Owl on roof of building near current cherry processing facility to west of HMSC. The wooden shingle roof has tufts of scattered "graybeard" lichens.]
Many, many observers reported 1 SNOWY OWL almost daily during January at either the YBSJ area, at the HMSC, or the old Oregon Aqua-Foods, now cherry processing site west of the HMSC. It appeared to be trying to select daytime roost areas inside fenced areas, perhaps to roost in peace and to fence out observers approaching too closely.
On 1/3, JL was watching it at dusk (5:15 PM) and wrote "I first saw it fly with its huge white wings up to the railing around the big HMSC reservoir, then down to Idaho Flats, back to the reservoir, out over the water and then land at the top of the spruce near the EPA building. I did not see it catch anything, but watching it hunt and fly against the darkening sky was very impressive - so different from its sleepy daytime demeanor."
On 1/4 at about 5 PM, CA saw it perched on the HMSC reservoir railings and wrote: "From there, it seemed to give things a good survey and then swooped down toward the water and made a broad low circular sweep over the water and on its way back to the reservoir railings it flew straight at me, made eye contact while flying straight toward my face and then at the last minute swooped up right above my head....it was an AMAZING look at this creature."
At dusk on 1/12, CA noted: "You can usually tell when the Snowy Owl is about to take flight after a long roost because it leans forward, lifts its tail numerous times, walks around in place, and seems to "stretch" its legs for maybe 10-20 minutes beforehand...reminds me of watching a jogger stretch before they jog...and then it often takes a short flight (test flight?) before it takes a much longer flight to some survey spot for hunting. ... There was just enough light for me to watch it with binoculars while on it was on top of the HMSC reservoir and it was obvious it turned its head in the direction of EVERY bird sound that I could hear in the area and right when it took off there was a bird sound right in direction of its flight and where it flew low to the water...unfortunately I could not see well enough to see if it captured anything."
On 1/28, CA noted: "Right at sunset the owl rapidly flapped its wings in place several times before it actually took off (I have never seen it flap its wings in place so fast and so much before...the wind was extremely strong at this point). It didn't fly far before right behind it an adult Bald Eagle came up right on its tail and seemed to be chasing it. The owl circled around, and they were facing each other and about that time a Northern Harrier showed up making a raucous sound. The eagle immediately lost interest in the owl and started chasing the harrier instead. The owl flew east and down below the ridge and I lost it for a moment before it showed up again on an adjacent dune top. I have to say it was pretty darn cool to see these three raptors interacting at the same time."
[Image not included: Clay Creech's Jan. 10 photo of Snowy Owl on a white container at the HMSC Ship Operations facility. Photo from SK.]
1-2 COMMON RAVENS were spotted during 3 January days near the HMSC (JL), and PS & CK found an AMERICAN DIPPER behind Rose Lodge on 1/2.
SK noted an influx of about 20 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS in early Jan. at his home near Criteser's Moorage southwest of Toledo. A PALM WARBLER lingered at the HMSC on 1/28 (JH & BT).
A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW remained along the YBSJ road on 1/2 (PS & CK) and 1/8 (SM). A FOX SPARROW with a white head and some white body feathers visited BB's Yachats home on 1/29.
1-6 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS were at the HMSC or west across the road during 6 January days (JL; DM; DG).
A female BULLOCK'S ORIOLE was photographed in northeast Newport in mid-December (BR); perhaps the same one was noted at Grant Street Newport during the 1/31 YCBC (DE) and on 1/1 (CP).
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Cindy Ashy, Betty Bahn, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Marcia Cutler, Dick & Judy Demarest, Donna Eggman, Dawn Grafe, Jeff Harding, Wayne Hoffman, Paul Jacobsen, Carol Karlen, Steve Kupillas, Janet Lamberson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Sylvia Maulding, Dave Mellinger, Walt Nelson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Bill Rogers, Floyd Schrock, Paul Sullivan, Bill Thackaberry, Paula Vanderheul, Tom Wainwright, Jean Weakland. Allen Wineland.
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, 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, WANDEMERE: about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
A British Columbia newspaper article reported that "thousands" of seabirds were washing ashore this winter mysteriously in British Columbia and that "thousands" were also washing ashore or had poor breeding success between Washington and California.
In Lincoln County along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach, B&SLo and L&VO found a record high since 1977 of 312 dead adult COMMON MURRES during July-October 2005, and a nonrecord but high 200 NORTHERN FULMARS in November and December. They counted 36 RED PHALAROPES after December storms, but they surveyed 200 in November-December 2002. They found 5 CASSIN'S AUKLETS in December, but numbers picked up in late January when 30 were found--this is higher than usual, but it is not close to the January 1993 total of 381.
All in all, this winter does not appear to have resulted in an unusually high die-off of seabirds as reported for British Columbia. The high mortality of adult murres during July-October is worrisome, though. We are fortunate that BLo's team surveys have been done since 1977 and that the results are available, so that we can put this winter's mortalities into perspective.
On 2/5, BB, SaL, and a friend were walking their CoastWatch mile between Beachside State Park and Big Creek south of Waldport, when they found a WESTERN GREBE on the beach sand. It would take a few steps and then flop over. BB went to investigate, and caught it carefully--being sure to secure its head so that it would not injure her. Based on her experience with oil spill rescues, she examined it and could find no obvious problems, so she put it in the water where "it swam away excitedly, diving and preening." Western Grebes (like scoters) sometimes get caught up in heavy surf and are pushed on the beach where they are unable to get back through the surf into the water. They are unable to fly away because they normally run across the water to take off, and they can't run along the beach. So carefully transporting one to open, quiet water and releasing it, gives it a chance. If you do this, be sure to secure the bill and feet to avoid being injured.
On 2/8, JL first saw a GREAT BLUE HERON in the trees at their colony in lower Yaquina Bay. 5 GREAT EGRETS were scattered throughout the Beaver Creek Valley on 2/17 (LO), and 4 were there during the 2/18 YBNFT.
100 CANADA GEESE, 25 CACKLING GEESE, and 50 WIGEON foraged in Weisgaver's field near Logsden on 1/20 (BLl). A Cackler and 2 GR. WHITE- FRONTED GEESE were a surprise in the parking area west of Newport's LNG tank on 2/8 (RB)--perhaps these were the same birds that were regularly reported at the YBSJ earlier this winter.
On 2/17, 1 EURASIAN WIGEON was at Beaver Creek (LO) and Eckman Lake (RL), and one was appreciated the next day near Seal Rock Stables on South Beaver Creek (YBNFT).
A male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was amongst the much more common Common Goldeneyes at Coquille Point at the southeast side of Sally's Bend on 2/9 (JL). On 2/21, JWe & SaL discovered an immature male Barrow's near the Alsea Bay Port Docks.
At Boiler Bay, there were 30,000+ WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and SURF SCOTERS on 2/1 and 77,000+ on 2/4 (PP).
As many as 8 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were spotted at the YBSJ during six days in Feb. (BLl; FS; WH; M&MD; ND & Portland Audubon Magpie group; JWi). The high counts of 7-8 were found during or after rough weather (FS; WH), when some out in the ocean may have sheltered in the Bay. Another was at Boiler Bay on 2/4 (PP).
4-8 HARLEQUIN DUCKS graced the YBSJ in Feb. (R&NA; M&MD; JWi; PD). 6 were at Seal Rocks during the 2/18 YBNFT.
On 2/12, WN, WH, & RC did their third Lincoln Co. Raptor Route this winter (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. Their 3 counts this winter suggest that Red-tails are definitely and Peregrines possibly more numerous than during surveys last winter. Adult Bald Eagles were also higher in 2 of 3 counts this winter compared to last winter. Overall, this winter's range (41-62 raptors) was consistently higher than for last winter (29-34).
------------------------------------------- Lincoln Co. 2004- 2005-2006________ Raptor Route 2005* 12/9 1/21 2/12 ------------------------------------------- Turkey Vulture 0 0 0 1 Northern Harrier 0-1 5 1 1 White-tailed Kite 1-3 0 3 0 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 2 1 Cooper's Hawk 0-2 1 4 0 Accipiter sp. 0 0 1 0 Red-should. Hawk 0-2 0 0 0 Red-tailed Hawk 10-14 18 22 21 Bald Eagle adults 2-12 8+ 16 14 " " subadults 1-4 1+ 5 1 " " unknown 0 2 0 0 " " total 4-14 11 21 15 Merlin 0 0 1 0 American Kestrel 1-4 1 5 3 Peregrine Falcon 0-1 3 2 1 SUM 29-34 41 62 43 Counts 3 1 1 1 Miles 119-121 119 120 119 Hours 7.3-7.5 7 8 7.5 Snowy Owl 0 1 0 0 * 12/18/2004, 1/16/2005, 2/12/2005 -------------------------------------------
BALD EAGLES are often noted, but 2 vocalizing adults and 1 adult circling higher over North Beaver Creek on 2/19 (LO) are noteworthy. On 2/19 at Yaquina Bay, JWi observed:
"A young Bald Eagle took flight and scared off a raft of scaup, but one scaup had been underwater at the time and got left behind. The eagle began dive-bombing the lone scaup, and each time the scaup escaped by diving underwater for 5-10 seconds. This continued for 10 or 15 minutes, and it was spellbinding to watch the eagle try to time its swerves and dives using its best guesses about when and where the duck would come up. But the duck managed to avoid surfacing too predictably, and was getting the better of the game. At one point the scaup took flight and tried to get away, but the eagle was right behind and gaining on it, so it had to barrel into the water to escape, and the whole thing started over in a new spot. Then two more immature eagles joined in, and for 10 more minutes the poor scaup had to deal with 3 lumbering predators overhead. At last everybody became thoroughly exhausted, and things just sort of petered out. The scaup got away."
Perhaps a follow-up occurred when RL saw on 2/22 a Bald Eagle hovering over a bird on the flooded Idaho Flats just east of the shelter on the HMSC estuary trail. RL wrote:
"With binoculars I could see that it was a juvenile Bald Eagle attempting to catch a male scaup. The eagle would hover over the bird maybe 10 feet off the water and make repeated short dives as if it was going to grab the scaup. The scaup kept diving each time, but they were very brief dives barely under the surface. After hovering awhile, the eagle would circle to the south and come in low and try to grab the scaup, and again the duck would make shallow dives. On two of these circle events, the duck tried to make a break for it and take off to the north, but it was injured and one wing was not working so it did not get far before having to dive from the incoming eagle. I don't know if the eagle injured the bird or if it was already injured. I suspect the latter as eagles are really good at picking up on injured or sick birds. After watching this activity for more than five minutes the eagle got serious and began diving into the water talons-first to catch the bird. It missed four times and would literally hop around the surface chasing the scrambling scaup, but on the fifth attempt it pounced on the duck and then just stood there on the scaup drowning it! I then realized that the water depth was too shallow for the duck to escape by diving. After a few minutes the eagle easily lifted off the water with the dead scaup and flew to shore for breakfast."
JL noted that two immature eagles have regularly been on a drift log that washed into Idaho Flats.
On 2/27, CP was walking the beach at South Beach when an adult BALD EAGLE came flying closely overhead with a duck in its talons. Compared to the eagle, the duck seemed sparrow-sized. The eagle was being harassed by 2 COMMON RAVENS, and it dropped the duck on the foredune. The ravens swooped down for a meal. CP went to investigate and discovered that it was a White-winged Scoter. As he walked away, he saw one adult eagle flying back towards the scoter, and a second adult eagle circling high overhead.
Raptor Route (WN, WH, & RC); our second report was in south Newport on 2/22 (RB), and our third was at Idaho Flats on 2/24 (JL). In most years, they are first detected as arriving in late Feb, and, prior to 1993, our earliest was on 2/6/1989 (SemiL). The high count was 3 at Toledo on 2/28 (CP).
Idaho Flats is excellent for birding. On 2/27, RL wrote:
"I was stuck all day behind a computer, but Idaho Flats is the backdrop to my screen! The morning started out with a very soggy juv. Bald Eagle perched on the pole with the Purple Martin box just south of the shelter on the HMSC trail. While watching the eagle, I glanced over and saw the adult Red-shouldered Hawk fly into the willows west of the eagle. Later in the day another large dark bird was perched on the martin box pole and when I glassed it with binos I discovered it was a Turkey Vulture! Also saw a male Northern Harrier today and a male (tiny) Sharp-shinned Hawk. Today was raptor day!"
BLl saw an injured RED-SHOULDERED HAWK along the roadside about a mile from Twin Bridges between Logsden and Siletz on 1/20.
NORTHERN HARRIERS are regular to South Beach, and on 2/7, PD saw a male hunting the dunes. On 2/4 at Thornton Creek about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, DF commented:
"Today a male Northern Harrier cruised through the valley here in the interior Lincoln County Coast Range. I've lived here for 57 years and that is only about the sixth one I've ever seen in this location. Local rarity, I guess. What struck me as more odd was the time of year. All the others had been in the mid-late fall migrant window."
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was hunting the South Beach area where the Snowy Owl was on 2/5 (R&NA).
An AMERICAN KESTREL was at Yaquina Head on 1/3 (BLM), near Logsden on 2/4 (BLl), and 1-3 were at Beaver Creek on 2/17 (LO) and the 2/18 (YBNFT).
1 PEREGRINE FALCON was at Oregon Coast Aquarium on 2/17 (BLl).
A RUFFED GROUSE booming near Logsden on 1/23 was the first one heard this year (BLl).
On about 2/5, one of the MOUNTAIN QUAIL near GS' Newport home flew into a window and died. A couple of days later, a Bald Eagle swooped only 4-5 ft over her head, and the quail was gone. Perhaps the eagle took it?
5 ROCK SANDPIPERS were at the YBSJ the first week of Feb. (M&MD).
On 2/5, PD noted 2 WILSON'S SNIPE flying out of the drainage ditch behind Memorial Field in Toledo, and a few snipe along with GREATER YELLOWLEGS were at Seal Rock Stables on South Beaver Creek during the 2/18 YBNFT. 3 Greater Yellowlegs were also foraging at Lint Slough in Waldport on 2/19 (JWe). 2 LESSER YELLOWLEGS were heard at Eckman Lake on 2/25 (RL).
[Image Not Included: Phil Pickering's photo of a Glaucous Gull on the lawn at Boiler Bay on Feb. 4 (http://www.harborside.com/~philliplc/glaucous23.jpg).]
2 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were at Boiler Bay on 2/1 (PP) and 2/5 (R&NA), and 6-34 MARBLED MURRELETS were at Boiler Bay on 2/1 & 4 (PP).
On 2/12 at her Yachats feeder, BB reported first seeing BAND-TAILED PIGEONS, and she noted that 5 were occurring daily on 2/20. This is about when the first contingent has also been noted in the past (SemiL). They arrived en masse at RL's feeders near Eckman Lake on 2/25.
A BARRED OWL was calling near North Beaver Creek on 2/8 (LO) and at Eckman Lake on 2/25 (RL).
MDo spotted a BARN OWL between Siletz and Logsden on 1/25 and 2/3.
[Image Not Included: Howard Shippey's photo of a Snowy Owl perched on post at the YBSJ in December 2005. Note the large talon.]
The SNOWY OWL was seen by many at the YBSJ and near the HMSC in early Feb., with the last reports on 2/10 during the day (ND & Portland Audubon Magpie group) and lastly at dusk (CA). On 2/2, LW wrote:
"This morning about 10:15 am one of our volunteers in the HMSC Visitor Center watched as the Snowy Owl flew in and sat on a roof across from the Center. We were able to pull the visitors together and stand outside and show this wonderful creature off. It stayed there until the crows harassed it enough that it flew off."
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS wintered at Seal Rock (WS), J&KC's home about 4 miles east of Waldport, HMSC (DG); at RL's home near Eckman Lake, and MH's Newport home. On 2/17, RC noted that the adult males had abandoned her Wandemere feeders for 2 weeks in early Feb. during the cold weather, but that a few females and a subadult male had remained--on 2/17, all the Anna's were back.
1 immature male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was at J&LM's Coquille Point home in December as reported earlier. The first male migrant was reported at J&KC's home about 4 miles east of Waldport on 2/15 and on 2/17 at Wandemere (RC) and near Eckman Lake (RL). In 2003-2005, they first arrived at RF & CG's Newport home during Feb. 23-25, and this year the first one fit this pattern, too, as it was noted there on 2/24. Rufous also first arrived at J&JG's Yachats home on 2/24. About 10 males and females were at Seal Rock on 2/27 (WS).
At J&KC home about 4 miles east of Waldport, JC writes on 2/28:
"The female Anna's Hummingbirds have enjoyed gathering cotton this winter more than ever before. They wait in a holding pattern allowing one female at the cotton ball to finish collecting cotton before coming in to gather cotton for herself. I added short pieces of wool roving to the cotton ball. Because wool is water resistant, I'm hoping it might help keep the nest drier and warmer during this rainy weather. We must have at least 5 female Anna's - more than in winters past. It's been such a joy to have so much action at the cotton ball. However, it all changed two days ago with the arrival of a number of male Rufous Hummingbirds. This year, these males have decided to sit at each feeder in order to protect it from other hummers. These guys are so testy that they won't even let the female Anna's use the cotton. In the past, the male Rufous would sit in a nearby bush, but this year, all have staked out a feeder. I had to put up more feeders to help the Anna's. So far, 11 feeders with hummers flying everywhere!"
A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER'S tree at BLl's home in Logsden fell after a windstorm. On 1/30, the sapsucker lingered on the stump as BLl and a neighbor approached to within 15-20 ft to saw up the part of the tree that had fallen.
GRAY JAYS graced J&JG's Yachats home in late Feb. 20+ STELLER'S JAYS continued at Beaver Creek on 2/17 (LO). On 2/26, WH spotted at least 125 AMERICAN CROWS on the mudflats near Keady Wayside in south Waldport--such congregations are fun to watch for the interactions.
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS were first reported on 2/16 at Beaver Creek (LO), 8-10 returned to the lake across from the Logsden Store on 2/17 (BLl), and Violet-green and TREE SWALLOWS were Seal Rock Stables on South Beaver Creek on 2/18 (YBNFT). Arrival dates vary yearly, and these this year are within the range of the past (SemiL).
Flocks of 30 AMERICAN ROBINS were at Logsden on 2/5 (BLl), and a large flock were in Toledo on 2/18 (PD).
A PALM WARBLER was at the Whaler Motel near the beach in central Newport in early Feb. (M&MD).
1 or more TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS were at the HMSC on 2/6 (SS), and another was appreciated at Lint Slough at Alsea Bay on 2/19 (JWe) and B&SLo's Thiel Creek home about 3.5 mi south of the Yaquina Bay bridge on 2/23.
The CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was last reported with the other sparrows by the old trailer park along the YBSJ road on 2/10 (DD; ND & Portland Audubon Magpie group).
1-6 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS were at the HMSC on 2/1 & 16, with one signing on 2/16 (DG).
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Rich & Nanette Armstrong, Cindy Ashy, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Dick Demarest, Mike & MerryLynn Denny, Pat Dickey, Norine Dietrich, Martha Doldt (MDo), Darrel Faxon, Roy Filby, Jim & Janice Gerdemann, Dawn Grafe, Cathy Grimm, Wayne Hoffman, Mary Holbert, Janet Lamberson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Walt Nelson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Wendy Schouviller, Gerti Schramm, Floyd Schrock, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Stacy Strickland, Jean Weakland (JWe), Jay Withgott (JWi), Lynne Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by LO).
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations: BEAVER CREEK: creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, 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, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
[Image Not Included: Patty Sorensen's photo of the March 18 YB&N Field Trip at the Yaquina Bay South Jetty.]
2 RED-THROATED LOONS were swimming within a couple hundred feet of each other and calling near the mouth of Nute Slough at about mile 9.3 along north Yaquina Bay Road on 3/11 (WH & RC). WH notes that "the calls were single-note falsetto and sounded like an unnaturally high raven croak."
A rare, immature SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS graced the 3/18 pelagic trip out of Newport along with 4 LAYSAN and over 60 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES (BGPT).
A FORK-TAILED STORM PETREL was found along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach on 2/28 (B&SLo, L&VO), and a live one flew in lower Yaquina Bay west of the Bridge on 3/9 (WH).
Our only GREAT EGRET was at Lint Slough north of the HWY 34 Bridge in Waldport on 3/5 (JW).
A GREAT BLUE HERON was at Yaquina Head during 2 days in early Feb. (BLM). On 3/18, some of the YBNFT saw 30 herons flying in a "swarm" above the lower bay colony.
On 3/17, JL was delighted to see 5 SWANS flying south over Idaho Flats. Two GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE have been periodically reported around Yaquina Bay this winter (especially at the YBSJ); presumably the same two were near the HMSC Nature Trail on 3/3 & 3/15 (JL) and near Idaho Point on 3/16 (NC).
JL's high count of BLACK BRANT at Idaho Flats in February was 114, but BO counted 187 at Sallys Bend on 3/17. Brant aren't usually at the YBSJ except in spring, so a flock there on 3/28 was seasonal (JS).
20 GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 2 HOODED MERGANSERS were at Lint Slough in Alsea Bay on 3/5 (JW).
2-3 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were at the YBSJ on 3/18 (YBNFT; BGPT) and 3/28 (JS).
HARLEQUIN DUCKS were at Yaquina Head during 3 days in late Feb. (BLM), where they have been uncommonly reported in recent years. At their favored Seal Rocks, 3-7 were viewed on 3/4 (JG) and 3/22 (RW). At YBSJ, Harlequin reports included 4-6 on 2/6 & 14 (JL), 7 males and 6 females that were well-appreciated and photographed on 3/17 (P&RS), 5 during the 3/18 YBNFT, and 2 males on 3/28 (JS).
On 1/23, NC was driving from Idaho Point to South Beach when he heard a very loud noise at the south end of Idaho Flats. He stopped, got out of his car, and saw and heard 2 adult BALD EAGLES mating in a tree along the south side of Idaho Flats.
On 3/15, ReB was sitting in her office at the HMSC when she heard a "thump." She:
"looked outside and saw something whitish on the ground. Then I heard a bird call, looked closer at the object on the ground and realized the 'thump' was a fish hitting the roof and subsequently sliding to the ground! I went outside, and a Bald Eagle was circling overhead. The fish was a ~12" coho salmon, still alive, lying in the grass next to the sidewalk."
Bald Eagles were also reported at Yaquina Head during 6 days in Feb. (BLM).
[Image Not Included: Dave Pitkin's photo of an Osprey with an approximately 3 lb salmonid near the HMSC Nature Trail on 3/23.]
Prior to 1990, we had no records of OSPREY arriving prior to April (SemiL). This year, RL's neighbor reported the first Osprey back at their Eckman Lake nest on 3/13; in 2004, a pair was there on 3/19 (RL), and, in 2005, the first arrived on 3/12 (RL). On 3/15, JL spotted one at Yaquina Bay, and on, 3/21, JW saw one near the Bayshore pond north of Waldport. On 3/23, RL and others saw an Osprey with a live, wild [it had an adipose fin] salmonid near the HMSC Nature Trail. RL writes:
"Shortly after I first saw the Osprey with the fish, crows began to arrive and wait for their turn at the carcass. Then within 5 minutes, two Turkey Vultures began making low passes over the Osprey. Those vultures don't miss anything. Over the next twenty minutes, the Osprey consumed a large portion of the head of the fish. Luckily no one came down the trail to spook the bird, but just before noon the Osprey lifted off the ground and struggled into the wind with the fish. It headed in the direction of the Oregon Coast Aquarium and was able to get about 10 ft above the ground. Within a few minutes, folks hit the trail for a noon time walk, so the Osprey departed at the right time."
On 3/4, an AMERICAN KESTREL was at Yaquina Head (CA), and another perched at Sallys Bend gave the 3/18 YBNFT an excellent look.
One of the 2 PEREGRINE FALCONS at Alsea Bay on 3/5 stooped on but missed a goldeneye (MiR & MaR).
On 3/11, WH & RC did the fourth Lincoln Co. Raptor Route this winter (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. Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks continued to be the most numerous raptors seen, with Turkey Vultures becoming third most.
------------------------------------------- Lincoln Co. 2004- 2005-2006__________ Raptor Route 2005* 12/9 1/21 2/12 3/11 ------------------------------------------- Turkey Vulture 0 0 0 1 7 Northern Harrier 0-1 5 1 1 0 White-tailed Kite 1-3 0 3 0 0 Sharp-shin. Hawk 1 1 2 1 0 Cooper's Hawk 0-2 1 4 0 1 Accipiter sp. 0 0 1 0 0 Red-should. Hawk 0-2 0 0 0 0 Red-tailed Hawk 10-14 18 22 21 16 Bald Eagle ad. 2-12 8+ 16 14 17 " " subadults 1-4 1+ 5 1 2 " " unknown 0 2 0 0 0 " " total 4-14 11 21 15 19 Merlin 0 0 1 0 0 Am. Kestrel 1-4 1 5 3 2 Peregrine Falcon 0-1 3 2 1 1 SUM 29-34 41 62 43 46 Counts 3 1 1 1 1 Miles 119-121 119 120 119 ? Hours 7.3-7.5 7 8 7.5 ? Snowy Owl 0 1 0 0 0 * 12/18/2004, 1/16/2005, 2/12/2005 -------------------------------------------
A ROCK SANDPIPER was with SURFBIRDS at the YBSJ on 2/22 (JL), and an unseasonal WANDERING TATTLER lingered at Yaquina Head on 3/7 (CA).
9 LESSER YELLOWLEGS called at Lint Slough on 3/19 (JW), 11 yellowlegs were at Eckman Lake on 3/26 (JW), and 4 WHIMBRELS perched on a log at Idaho Flats on 3/30 (JG).
An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was at Nye Beach Turnaround in Newport on 2/28 and 3/25 (WH).
On 3/7 at Yaquina Head, CA spotted a WESTERN GULL floating in a shallow tidepool that put one of its feet onto a "giant green sea anemone whose sticky tentacles immediately closed in on the gull's foot." The "gull yanked its leg and shook its foot and bobbed around awkwardly in the very shallow water, but the tentacles clung steadfast to the gull's foot for at least a minute until the gull finally managed to free it." Then "its other foot got trapped by the sticky tentacles of another big anemone. This time the gull put up more of a frantic fight and got loose faster and then flew quickly to a nearby rock."
A very badly oiled CALIFORNIA GULL was at the HMSC on 3/14 but was too lively to be caught and cleaned (RL).
WH photographed an unidentified, white gull with a light eye at the YBSJ on 3/8. On 3/23, D&LF saw a possible ICELAND GULL at the YBSJ.
SS had our first report of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS in breeding plumage, with at least 10 in Yaquina Bay on 3/24.
On 2/6, two rare PARAKEET AUKLETS washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO); BLo writes that they were in "pretty good condition," about 1/4 mile apart, and were confirmed by DP, who stored them at the USFWS South Beach office. About a month later, on 3/7, a rare dead HORNED PUFFIN was also found by BLo's team.
[Image Not Included: Mike River's March 11 photo of a Rhinocerous Auklet with a whitish "horn" that was beached amongst high tide flotsam south of Waldport. White plumes around the eye are not apparent (though a small part of what may be a white plume is visible towards the back of the head and to the right of the eye); however, its feathers are wet and matted, so white plumes may be present but not visible. The line of white along the top of the head may be debris, not a plume. The upper and lower mandibles are a dull yellowish.]
Concern about RHINOCEROUS AUKLET caused a stir this month. It started on 3/2, with a very fresh Rhino along MH's Coasst beach walk at Agate Beach north of Newport. On 3/4, 2 live Rhinos diving in Alsea Bay (MiR & PT) were unusual as they are rare in our bays. On 3/6, 2 dead Rhino's were beached south of Yaquina John Point at Waldport (JP, fide MaR). On 3/7, B&SLo and L&VO first found beached Rhinos (9) along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach; they found 36 more on the 11th and 12th, and 30 on the 16th and 17th. On 3/11, MiR found 7 between Yaquina John Point and Patterson Park, south of Waldport. On 3/14, JR walked from Agate Beach Wayside towards Yaquina Head and found 26 Rhinos (fide RS).
On 3/20, BLo wrote that the freshest birds were found on 3/7, when BLo found one with a "horn," but most did not have them. MiR's photo above shows one with a horn on 3/11. Sibley's "Guide to Birds" indicates a "horn" as part of breeding plumage starting in April.
BLo started his beach walks in 1978, and the previous high for all of
March was 13 Rhinos, so this year with 75 by March 17 is extraordinary.
BLo writes: "I don't know what this bird's prey species are, but I wouldn't
be surprised to learn that they suffered from a severe decline of their
primary food source(s)." He does not think that storms were the cause of
1) there were no storms in the week or so before we saw the first birds on the beach,
2) the bird's breasts are almost razor thin showing very poor condition that didn't occur overnight,
3) this is the only species showing unusual mortality.
Beached Rhinos were found from at least Port Orford to the Columbia River (RL). At least one of these Rhinos came from Alaska as RN found a banded Rhino on 3/16 at Coos Bay that had been banded in July 2005 at Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska. Based on measurements, MP noted that the majority of Rhinos beached in Clatsop County in mid-March were 1st or 2nd winter birds with very few adults.
Two MOURNING DOVES were viewed on 2 occasions at Thiel Creek (about 3.5 mi south of the Yaquina Bay bridge) in mid-March (BLo).
On 3/10, at least 14 male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS were at J&KC's home 4 miles east of Waldport. On 3/13, 3 ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS and 7 Rufous were at DG's feeders at the HMSC. Female Anna's were still collecting cotton & wool at J&KC's home to at least 3/7. On 3/20, J&KC had 17 feeders and 6 very large red currants with at least a dozen male Rufous. On 3/22, BB still had a few Anna's at her Yachats feeders as well as Rufous.
On 3/27, RL first saw a SAY'S PHOEBE flycatching from driftwood perches near the HMSC Nature Trail and the USFWS Building and promptly reported it. Consequently, many others saw it through at least 3/30.
Two GRAY JAYS hungrily visited BB's feeder at Yachats during 3/19-30, and a flock of 10 COMMON RAVENS was in a pasture with cows near Siletz on 3/11 (WH & RC).
ABC TV channels were to run a story about the meaning of the "dees" in BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE songs during mid-March that included JC's video of them. The 3/17 story ("Bird Fight Song") and video are also at http://www.sciencentral.com/ (search for "chickadee" and register for free).
Our only BUSHTITS were in two flocks at Toledo in mid-March (DG).
On 3/11, a flock of at least 6 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were in a clearcut at about Mile Post 10.3 on HWY 229, and there were also "massive numbers of AMERICAN ROBINS in the pastures around Siletz" (WH & RC). Robins with lots of white often appear each spring, and this year was no exception.
[Image Not Included: Gary Buhler's photo of a mostly white American Robin in mid-March at about Mile Post 4 along (north) Yaquina Bay Road.]
In mid-March, an uncommon NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was reported in Newport (Sam S., fide HS).
TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS graced Lint Slough on 3/18 & 19 (JW), and at least one was visiting BB's suet feeder in Yachats in mid-March.
Our latest report of a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was at Toledo on 3/20 (DG), and our first report of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS singing was at the HMSC on 3/26 (RB).
On 3/4, JG "saw an unusual SOOTY FOX SPARROW with a bright white, 1/4-inch wide stripe across the top of its head (not quite linear, a bit patchy)" in the little bog on the north side of the Lighthouse Fish & Chips parking lot in South Beach.
On 3/11, CA appreciated flocks of WESTERN MEADOWLARKS at the HMSC, near the LNG tank, at a Newport Park, Alsea Bay Docks, and Lint Slough.
On 3/28, CP saw the first EVENING GROSBEAK of the season at his Toledo feeder.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Cindy Ashy, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Renee Bellinger (ReB), Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Monita Cheever, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Neal Coenen, Darrel & Laura Faxon, Joel Geier, Dawn Grafe, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT; info about pelagic trips, http://thebirdguide.com), Bill Hanshumaker, Wayne Hoffman, Mary Holbert, Janet Lamberson, Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Russ Namitz, Bob Olson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Mike Patterson, Chuck Philo, Dave Pitkin, Jan Power, John Raum, Mike (MiR) & Maggie (MaR) Rivers, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Howard Shippey, Joline Shroyer, Patty & Rick Sorensen, Stacy Strickland, Rob Suryan, Paul Thomas, Jean Weakland, Rainer Wieland, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by BO).
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, 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, 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, SOUTH BEAVER STABLES PASTURE: pasture at about Milepost 1.6 along South Beaver Creek Road at Seal Rock Stables, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
CP recognized an adult YELLOW-BILLED LOON in the channel at about Milepost 8 along north Yaquina Bay Road on 4/3.
Along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach, B&SLo and L&VO found no FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS in February but 14 during 3/11-31. So these storm-petrels as well as Rhinoceros Auklets appear to have been stressed in late February & March.
A rare MANX SHEARWATER was near Boiler Bay on 4/2 & 25 (PP).
Our first BROWN PELICANS since a late lingerer on 1/12 were a flock of 18 flying north near Depoe Bay on 4/12 (DS). Another 3 were along the coast on 4/17 (HR, fide BLl).
A flock of at least 100 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were "leap-frog" feeding on small fish in the Toledo Boat Basin on 4/8 (CP). CP contacted JB who thought they were probably feeding on whitebait smelt.
Our first GREEN HERON was at the East Pond between the HMSC and OCAq on 4/7 (CA), and another was at the south end of Eckman Lake on 4/23 (JW).
At Idaho Flats, there was one GREAT EGRET on 3/15 (JL); 2 on 4/13 (RL), an unspecified number on 4/22 (KC), and 8 on 4/28 (JL). Three were at North Beaver Creek and 2 at South Beaver Stables Pasture on 4/6 (LO). Another was at Eckman Lake on 4/9 (JW). TW & PL spotted about 8 in the trees at the Great Blue Heron colony in lower Yaquina Bay on 4/28. Will Great Egrets nest here this year?
The highest count of BLACK BRANT at Idaho Flats in March was 130 on 3/15 (JL). 3 were out at the YBSJ on 3/3, where they often appear during spring migration (JL).
RL discovered the first brood of WESTERN CANADA GEESE near Eckman Lake on 4/16, and JW saw a brood of 4 goslings with the parents at Eckman Lake on 4/24.
On 4/16 at Eckman Lake, JW spotted a CINNAMON TEAL along with GREEN- WINGED TEAL and GADWALL. Last reports include: NORTHERN SHOVELERS at Idaho Flats on 4/22 (KC) and RING-NECKED DUCKS at Eckman Lake on 4/24 (JW).
HARLEQUIN DUCKS were reported at Yaquina Head during 7 days in March (BLM).
JW had been watching a pair of COMMON GOLDENEYES at Alsea Bay, but only the female appeared to linger after 4/11.
At least one WHITE-TAILED KITE graced Yaquina Head on 3/23 (BLM), and another was at Logsden on 3/17 (BLl).
On 4/15, RL saw an OSPREY carrying nesting material over Waldport and "watched it fly up and land in a nest it is building on top of the SW light pole for the football field adjacent to the High School!" RL continues: "The Eckman Lake birds have built a nest in the middle of the cross arm three feet from the other nest. Last winter a piece of plastic or plastic bag blew up into the nest and apparently that was enough for the birds not to use it."
BALD EAGLES were sighted almost daily in late March at Yaquina Head (BLM). CA witnessed an eagle attacking Common Murres and Pelagic Cormorants there on 4/11 & 12.
A PEREGRINE FALCON flew over Yaquina Bay Bridge on 4/11 (BO).
An AMERICAN KESTREL was at Logsden on 3/26 (BLl), and another remained in mid-Beaver Creek on 4/6 (LO).
On 4/19, DF spotted a WILD TURKEY near Ellmaker State Park, and JL saw one at the same location on 4/23. It may be part of those introduced by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. There have also been reports of 1-2 Turkeys standing along the HWY 20 in the same location--that does not seem like a wise place to be.
RUFFED GROUSE drummed at Logsden on 3/17 (BLl), and MOUNTAIN QUAIL called in the mornings of the first week in April at Thornton Creek (DF).
On 4/2, a noisy flock of 11 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS were flying about at Yaquina Head on 4/2 (CA).
Large numbers of shorebirds were first reported at Yaquina Bay on 4/13 (RL; DD). At Idaho Flats, there were 24-30 WHIMBRELS on 4/12-13 and 28 (RL; DD; JL) and 4 MARBLED GODWITS on 4/12 & 13 (RL; DD). 5 Marbled Godwits passed Boiler Bay on 4/29 (PP). During 20 minutes of a Boiler Bay seawatch on 4/29, PP counted 800 Whimbrels! The most uncommon shorebird was KC's 3 PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVERS at Idaho Flats on 4/22.
On 4/23, DK reported a rare LITTLE GULL at Lincoln City on 4/23. It had no black in the wingtips and was dark under wings.
The high count of CASPIAN TERNS was 48 flying north near Depoe Bay on 4/23 (DS). On 4/13, DD saw one with leg bands at Idaho Flats; please report banded Caspian's to http://www.columbiabirdresearch.org/ (see image just below the center of the page). They would greatly appreciate sightings!
In last month's Sandpiper, the March RHINOCEROS AUKLET die-off was initially reported. B&SLo and L&VO found a total of 100 Rhinos along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in March. Starting in 1978, their previous peak March total was 13, so this year was extraordinary.
A steady stream of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS that totaled 275 flew south past Boiler Bay during PP's hour seawatch at Boiler Bay on 4/2.
Our only live TUFTED PUFFIN was one at Boiler Bay on 4/29 (PP).
A pair of MOURNING DOVES was at about Milepost 2 along north Yaquina Bay Road on 4/11 (CA). About 40 BAND-TAILED PIGEONS continued to visit DG's Toledo feeder on 4/19. A "herd" of them visited BB's Yachats feeders several times a day through at least 4/30.
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS started calling at night at Thornton Creek in early April, and their calls were replaced in the morning by NORTHERN PYGMY-OWLS (DF).
A BARRED OWL called near LO's North Beaver Creek home on 4/29 & 30.
2 RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS were gathering fluff from cattails at Eckman Lake on 4/23 & 24 (JW).
A PILEATED WOODPECKER worked on a dead alder stump, debris flying, near BB's Yachats home on 4/13. In mid-April, another was drumming on a metal bolt on a pole near the J&LM's home at the east side of Sally's Bend. Would that make it a Rusty-billed Woodpecker?
A SAY'S PHOEBE was at Yaquina Head on 3/22 (BLM)--this was 5 days before RL discovered one at the HMSC that many got to see. The HMSC Say's was last spotted on 4/4 (RL).
3 GRAY JAYS continued to feed at BB's Yachats feeders daily as of 4/19, and our first PURPLE MARTIN was heard at the HMSC the evening of 4/18 (RB).
On about 4/11-13, MS saw what he thought was a rare BROWN THRASHER, a half mile south of Yachats on the ocean side of HWY 101.
Rarely reported along the coastline, at least one WESTERN BLUEBIRD was spotted at Yaquina Head on 3/10 & 11 (BLM).
The first BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK of the season visited BB's Yachats feeder on 4/30.
A SLATE-COLORED DARK-EYED JUNCO was about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101 during 4/2-4 and was only the second one there in 8 years of observation (RC & WN).
Other seasonal firsts: male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD at BLl's Logsden feeder on 3/12, EVENING GROSBEAK at BB's Yachats home on 4/19, and a male LESSER GOLDFINCH at CP's Toledo feeder on 4/16.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Cindy Ashy, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Jerry Butler, Kay Carter, Rebecca Cheek, Dick Demarest, Darrel Faxon, Dawn Grafe, Diane Kook, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Walt Nelson, Bob Olson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Hermine Reinhard, Michael Smith, Don Stein, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, WANDEMERE: about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach near HWY 101, YBSJ: Yaquina Bay South Jetty.
RL reports that his wife LL took the picture below [image not included] of a Bobcat in the backyard of their Eckman Lake home on 5/9. RL writes "It didn't get any birds in the 30 minutes it sat there, but it did get a squirrel that tempted fate. ... Now I know why the brush rabbits have disappeared from our yard!"
Loon migration was strongly underway during PP's Boiler Bay 5/1-4 seawatches, with as many as an average of 100/minute PACIFIC LOONS with many fewer RED-THROATEDS and COMMONS being the third most abundant on 5/1. The movement had disappeared on 5/10, when there was a grand total of only 37 loons (PP).
A rare MANX SHEARWATER about a half mile off Boiler Bay on 5/2 (PP).
A BROWN PELICAN was at Yaquina Head on 4/18 (BLM). Pelicans were also reported on nine days in May (BLM; PP; J&PL; TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS; BLl; CA; 5/20 YBNFT) with a high count of 167 on 5/25 past Yaquina Head (CA).
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS have a small spring northerly migration. On 5/1, PP counted 60 flying north at Boiler Bay and on 5/4, RC & WN noticed a flock of 20 and another of 6 flying north past Wandemere.
After a hiatus since last September, the continuously squawking GREAT BLUE HERON was again seen and heard at dusk on 5/29 (RB). It was flying north over the HMSC apartments and now sounds more pterodactyl-like than gull- or gooselike when it was younger. It was first noted at the HMSC in September 2003--it seems doubtful that there are two such continuously calling individuals, though it is amazing that such a conspicuous bird has also survived.
On 5/19, PLw noted 60-65 Great Blues at Idaho Flats--it was too early for juveniles and only about 20 overwintered at Yaquina Bay embayments (RB), so PLw's count is a sign of emigration.
RL & DP counted 10 GREAT EGRETS at Idaho Flats on 5/10; TWn surveyed 6 there on 5/24 & 25, and JL also found 6 at Sally's Bend on 5/2 (JL). One was at Beaver Creek during the 5/20 YBNFT.
On 5/11, PP detected a pair of IBIS that he presumed to be White- faced Ibis fly north over his Lincoln City home. In 1988 and 1990, White- faced Ibis were discovered in Lincoln County on May 21 and during May 5-17, respectively (SemiL).
Contact RL (Roy_Lowe@fws.gov) if you see northerly flights of WESTERN CANADA GEESE in May or early June. He saw the first flock on 5/11 over Ona Beach, a flock flew north just off Newport on 5/14 (RB), several flocks flew over the HMSC on 5/23 (RL), and a flock headed north over the Newport Armory on 5/31 (RB).
On 5/2, five flocks of GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE totaling 560 birds flew north over Newport (WH), and at least two flocks flew over Eckman Lake (RL). The next day, 18 flew past Boiler Bay (PP). On 5/13, 3 were feeding at Idaho Flats (CA).
A small flock of BRANT were at Siletz Bay on 5/16 (TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS), where they are a spring vagrant. Some nonbreeders may oversummer along the cost.
RL spotted the first brood of MALLARD ducklings at Eckman Lake on 5/3--two broods were there on 5/14 (JWe). Another brood was at Beaver Creek during the 5/20 YBNFT. On 5/28, JWe witnessed "a silly and unique situation brought about by a PIED-BILLED GREBE and a Mallard brood of about 8 at Eckman Lake. These little tikes were on their own, no mom in view, & they were away from the protective greenery, swimming along in a long line with the grebe bringing up the rear. Then the grebe moved to the top of the line, and the little ones followed right in line ---where is mama?? The grebe dove leaving the babies on their own and then here comes mama Mallard flying in to get the brood under control. What a scenario!"
A CINNAMON TEAL was at South Beaver Creek Flooded Pasture on 5/9 (D&LF) and a pair flew north past Boiler Bay on 5/10 (PP).
An adult male BLUE-WINGED TEAL was at the south end of Eckman Lake on 5/22 (RL).
19 COMMON MERGANSERS flew out of Alsea Bay's Lint Slough, and another pair was at Eckman Lake during JWe's 5/14 North American Migration Count.
Single OSPREY were often reported, but TWn spotted four circling and "chatting" together over the Oregon Coast Aquarium pond on 5/9.
BALD EAGLES were often reported and were at Yaquina Head during 6 days in May (BLM).
A PEREGRINE FALCON was north of Newport along the beach on 4/27 (BLl), near the Yaquina Head Visitor's Center on 5/3 (RL), and at Yaquina Head on 5/4 & 11 (BLM).
1-2 WILD TURKEYS were spotted along HWY 20 in eastern Lincoln County the first week in May (BH; CTr).
CP spotted a CALIFORNIA (Valley) QUAIL at Mike Miller Park on 5/19.
The peak time of shorebird migration this year appears to have been later for at least "peeps" (small shorebirds including Calidris sp.) and dowitchers. Our best gauge of timing is PP's seawatches at Boiler Bay or Spanish Head. In 2005, PP had fifteen 45-240 minute seawatches between 6- 10:15 AM during 20 days from April 19 through May 8, which is a superb effort. This year he had seven 60-195 minute observations between 5:45-9 AM during this 20 day period, which is still a good effort, but insufficient to determine peak timing.
In 2005, peak "peep" migration occurred on April 21, with an average of 0-3 "peeps" per minute during 8 seawatches from April 28 through May 6. In contrast, in 2006, there was a considerably greater average of about 120-540 "peeps" per minute passing each morning during May 1-4.
In 2005, 0-0.3 dowitchers/minute passed after April 27, but in 2006, there was an average of about 13 per minute on April 29 and 2-11/minute each morning during May 1-4.
WHIMBREL was the only other abundant shorebird taxon that PP found during his seawatches. In 2005, Whimbrels had several peaks with the highest average of 3/minute on May 6. In 2006, there were three higher averages of 9/minute on April 29, 4/minute on May 1, and 6/minute on May 2, but there were too few observations to be certain that there was any difference in the timing of their migration compared to 2005.
[Image Not Included: Phil Pickering's cropped photo of 5 Red Knots busily foraging at Idaho Flats on May 7 from http://www.harborside.com/~philliplc/hmscknots.jpg]
On 5/14, SaL, BB, EG & CTu found 8 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS on their USFWS oystercatcher survey at Yachats, but their same census route only yielded 4 on 5/28. Oystercatchers can be very hard to detect when they hunker down to incubate eggs.
4+ GOLDEN-PLOVER SP. passed Boiler Bay on 5/3 (PP), and 1 PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER was at South Beaver Creek Flooded Pasture on 5/9 (D&LF). The Flooded Pasture was also good for seven taxa of shorebirds (including Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs side by side) on 5/3 (LO).
1 LONG-BILLED CURLEW was at Boiler Bay on 5/2 (PP), and 2 were at Newport's Nye Beach on 5/2 (CA)
1-4 MARBLED GODWITS at Nye Beach on 5/2-3 (CA), Boiler Bay on 5/3 (PP), Idaho Flats on 5/8 (BT), Mooloch Beach north of Yaquina Head and Seal Rocks on 5/9 (D&LF), and Siletz Bay on 5/16 (TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS). The peak count was 26 at Nye Beach on 5/4 (CA).
As many as 10 RED KNOTS were at Boiler Bay on 5/2 (PP), Nye Beach on 5/3 (CA); and Idaho Flats on 5/7 (PP).
1-3 WANDERING TATTLERS were south of Boiler Bay on 5/9 (D&LF), near Otter Rock on 5/14 (DS &DD), and near Yachats on 5/14 (SaL, BB, EG & CTu).
A SPOTTED SANDPIPER at the Siletz River near Logsden on 5/15 (BLl) was presumably nesting.
Some springs have thousands of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES onshore, but our only reports this spring were at Boiler Bay of 1 on 5/4 (PP) and 2 on 5/16 (TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS).
About 30 COMMON TERNS and ARCTIC TERNS were feeding in the channel under and west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 5/11 (WH). They are much more commonly reported during fall migration (SemiL).
2-12 MARBLED MURRELETS were at Boiler Bay on 5/1-4 & 10 (PP). Under excellent ocean viewing conditions, RC saw 4 about a 1/4 mile off Wandemere on 5/7.
On 5/28, CA saw a weasel preying on PIGEON GUILLEMOT eggs at Yaquina Head and writes: "It came from the top of the west side of Trespass Cove and then went down the steep rocky face of the cove and into a crevice I've seen a pair Pigeon Guillemots in. All the birds in the cove noticed it and went crazy--started calling and flying around inside the rather narrow cove, and there were several near collisions in the excitement. There were Pigeon Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants, Western Gulls, and a single pair of Oyster Catchers all zig-zagging and vocalizing across the cove."
During April, few birds washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO)--8 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were the most numerous. At Boiler Bay, live Rhinos include 25-35 on 5/1-4 and 225 on 5/10 (PP).
A TUFTED PUFFIN was at Boiler Bay on 5/3-4 & 10 (PP) and 5/16 (TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS).
RC & WN photographed Lincoln County's first EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE during 5/1-3 & 13 at their Wandemere home; it was also seen by CP on 5/2. A pair was in north Newport on 5/29 (CA). This species invaded Western Oregon this year and may also nest. It is not even included in many field guides.
On 5/4, a MOURNING DOVE ate so much at RC & WN's Wandemere feeder that it fell asleep.
The night of 5/9, D&LF heard GREAT HORNED OWLS, WESTERN SCREECH OWLS, NORTHERN PYGMY OWLS, and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS at their Thornton Creek home. On 5/20, a BARRED OWL called near LO's north Beaver Creek home.
VAUX'S SWIFTS were at Devil's Lake on 5/9 (D&LF) and Yaquina Head on 5/16 (CA).
On about 5/20 RL noted fledgling RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS coming to his Eckman Lake feeders.
A PILEATED WOODPECKER drummed at LO's north Beaver Creek home on 5/28.
A WESTERN KINGBIRD pair was about 6 miles up Yachats River Road on 5/9 (DC & TWg), and one was south of Lincoln City the same day (D&LF) and also east of Lincoln City on 5/16 (TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS).
A WESTERN SCRUB-JAY visited the HMSC on 5/5 (CP), the first one in 5 years of observations appeared at WH's South Beach home on 5/6, and 1 was east of Lincoln City on 5/16 (TJ, DvdB, TL, & FS).
On 5/15, 11 of BLl's 12 nest boxes on 12-16 foot poles at his Logsden home were being used by TREE SWALLOWS--VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS inhabited the remaining box.
JWr found a SAGE THRASHER along the YBSJ road on 5/14 (see photo at http://www.xanga.com/sakuradestiny).
An AMERICAN DIPPER was at the Siletz River near Logsden on 5/15 (BLl).
A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET appeared to be collecting spider webs for a nest at JWe's home south of Waldport on 5/9.
D&LF reported our first SWAINSON'S THRUSHES at Thornton Creek. Call notes of ones migrating were heard at about 1 AM and 11:30 PM on 5/29 at the HMSC (RB).
A VARIED THRUSH with a curved upper bill that made it difficult to drink or eat was at J&KC's home about 4 miles east of Waldport on 5/13.
A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD lingered at the HMSC on 5/5 (CP), 5/7 (PP; RB), 5/8 (BT) and 5/10 (CP). 1-5 AMERICAN PIPITS graced Boiler Bay on 5/1 & 3 (PP).
RC noted our first CEDAR WAXWING at Wandemere on 5/6. Several WESTERN TANAGERS were reported and were special treats at Idaho Point on 5/11 (NC), at CP's red hot poker plant in Toledo on 5/24 & 28, and at B&PW's Tidewater home about 8 miles east of Waldport on 5/25. As many as 5 male and 2 female BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS were on BLl's red hot poker in Logsden in late May.
[Image Not Included: Howard Shippey's spring photo of a Spotted Towhee near the entrance to Oregon Coast Aquarium.]
A CHIPPING SPARROW was in the same bush along the HMSC Nature Trail as the mockingbird on 5/10 (CP). A late FOX SPARROW lingered between Newport and Yaquina Head on 5/14 (CD).
A male BULLOCK'S ORIOLE came to a feeder in north Newport during 5/7- 9 (CP).
BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS are nesting for the first time at CP's Toledo home, and the male has been vigorously chasing away American Crows. A bright male LAZULI BUNTING visited CP's red hot poker plant on 5/24.
RC&WN appreciated the largest number (more than 70) of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES at their Wandemere home on 5/7. RC writes that "they were perched on overhead wires in long lines like swallows or starlings. When they flew into the treetops they looked like Christmas ornaments."
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Cindy Ashy, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Dan van den Broek (DvdB), Bureau of Land Management staff at Yaquina Head (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Jorrie & Ken Ciotti (http://www.birdsamore.com), Neal Coenen, Doug Cottam, Carol DeLancey, Dick Demarest, Darrel & Laura Faxon (some of DF's bird records are at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#thornton_creek), Elizabeth Gates, Bill Hanshumaker, Wayne Hoffman, Tim Janzen, Janet & Phil Lamberson, Pete Lawson (PLw), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Tom Love, Roy & Laurie Lowe, Walt Nelson, Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Dave Pitkin, Floyd Schrock, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. records through 1992 for each species at (ScholarsArchive@OSU), Don Stein, Bill Tice, Cynthia Trowbridge (CTr), Claire Tucker (CTu), Tami Wagner (TWg), Tom Wainwright (TWn), Jean Weakland (JWe), Bunny & Pat Wright, Justin Wrinn (JWr), Yaquina Birders & Naturalists Field Trip (YBNFT led by LO).
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