These field notes are from the Sandpiper, a publication of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists, Lincoln County, Oregon.
Comments about abundance or seasonality refer only to LINCOLN COUNTY. There is room only for some of the many Lincoln County sightings to be included here of those sent to me or posted to the Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) or Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html) email discussion lists.
If you have any field notes to share, please email (range.bayer at gmail.com) or mail (P.O. Box 1467, Newport, OR 97365) them to Range Bayer by the 20th of the month.
Many Lincoln Co. birding sites are in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide.
Semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 are in 1995 Journal of Oregon Ornithology 4:395-543 that is archived at ScholarsArchive@OSU (http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070).
------------------------------- Month of Sandpiper, Volume 31 ------------------------------- August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to site numbers in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/): BEAVER CREEK (#78, in part): creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park, BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, CRITESER'S MOORAGE: downstream of Toledo at about Mile 10.2 on Yaquina Bay Road, DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL STATE NATURAL AREA (#63): south of Cape Foulweather, ECKMAN LAKE (#84): lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, IDAHO FLATS: large embayment just east of the 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 (#76): county park 1.2 miles south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on the east side of Hwy 101, ONA BEACH (#77): State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, SALLY'S BEND (#66): large Yaquina Bay embayment east of the LNG tank, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, WANDEMERE: about 0.5 mi north of Ona Beach State Park near HWY 101, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport.
A few nonbreeding BRANT are usually found in summer (SemiL). This year there were about an average number of reports: a singleton in Yaquina Bay on 6/13 (RL & MM), 21 at Devils Punchbowl on 7/17 (PS & CK), and a singleton on beaches at Lincoln City in mid-July (MS) and north of Yaquina Head on 8/15 (SF). Small flocks have also been reported in previous years. PS & CK's description of them as looking "quite moth-eaten and brown" fits their appearance in summer.
The latest dates for northerly flying WESTERN CANADA GEESE were 6/1 at Otter Rock (DD) and 6/4 at Boiler Bay (WH). During the first week of August, RL noted a southerly flight of them. The evening of 8/14, CL north of Yaquina Head, RB in southwest Newport, and BB in Yachats apparently saw the same flock flying south, and BB noted that they landed at Yachats Bay.
A GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Sally's Bend on 8/16 (KM) was probably an early fall migrant. We did not have any other teal reports during June-August.
1-2 HARLEQUIN DUCKS were along the outer coast during 6/16-20 (ME; LO; RB). PS & CK had our only report since then with 14 at Devil's Punchbowl on 7/17.
Nonbreeding SURF, WHITE-WINGED, and AMERICAN (formerly Black) SCOTERS commonly oversummer (SemiL), and many molting scoters can be tricky to identify, hence DI's comment about some White-wings in late June that were "so bleached out that I can imagine them being conjured into faux eiders." We had 11 reports of Surfs and/or White-wings (peak sum of 40) in June-July, usually along the open coast (BLM; RB; WH; RL; DI & SF; PS & CK). In August, we had 4 reports, 2 of which were also for American Scoters (RA & others; Bird Guide pelagic trip to Perpetua Bank [GG]; SF). On 8/15, SF counted 270 Surfs, 4 White-wingeds, and 2 Americans near Yaquina Head--it is not clear if this increased number of Surfs represents an aggregation of Surfs that had oversummered or immigration.
A female BUFFLEHEAD at the West Log Pond north of Oregon Coast Aquarium on 6/19 (RB) was a surprise as they are rare in June (SemiL).
HOODED MERGANSER reports included 2 females and a duckling at Mike Miller Park during the 6/18 YBNFT (EH) and a juvenile at both Boone and Nute Sloughs between Newport and Toledo in Yaquina Bay on 8/16 (KM).
BLl had our only COMMON MERGANSERS--a female with 12 young on the Siletz River near Logsden on 6/13. Common Mergansers nest here, but Red-breasted Mergansers do not (e.g., Oregon Breeding Bird Atlas; p. 34 in Herlyn & Contreras' Handbook of Oregon Birds). Female and immature Commons in summer can look very similar to female Red-breasteds and can only be safely told apart then by bill and head shape and nostril position (Kaufman 1990 Am. Birds 44:1203-1205 at http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/NAB/v044n05/p01203-p01205.pdf and in his "A Field Guide to Advanced Birding"). Sibley's Guide to Birds (p. 102) also indicates that female Commons during July-October lack the sharply contrasting white on the neck that easily distinguishes them from female Red-breasteds in winter. There is also a seasonal habitat shift for Commons--in summer and early fall, rafts of them often appear in the lower Yaquina, Siletz, and Alsea Bays, where Red-breasteds only occur from late fall through spring. There have been a few careful identifications here of single Red-breasted's in late summer and early fall based on bill and head shape and nostril position, but Commons are then much more common. Accordingly, the 5 reports of 1-6 Red-breasted Mergansers without any Common Mergansers in Lincoln County during 8/6-25 in http://eBird.org raises a red flag that they may have been misidentifications.
On 6/1, KS saw 2 separate RUFFED GROUSE warily walking about a quarter mile apart on Canal Creek Road east of Waldport. On 6/4, one of LO's neighbors saw a Ruffed Grouse with chicks in north Beaver Creek.
A few nonbreeding RED-THROATED, PACIFIC, and COMMON LOONS commonly oversummer (SemiL). Single Red-throats were noted at the YBSJ on 7/3 (WH) and during the 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip (GG). We had 6 reports of Pacifics during June-August, with a peak count of 35 during a 6/5 Boiler Bay seawatch (WH) and 4 counts of 4-14 Pacifics (PS & CK; Bird Guide pelagic trip; SF; RB). 1-2 Commons were noted during 7 days in June-August; in the 6 of these reports with details about plumage, the Commons were in nonbreeding plumage and presumably subadults (RB; WH; SF). Most of the loons were along the open coast.
PIED-BILLED GREBES uncommonly nest here. Singletons were at Eckman Lake on 7/14 (KM) and 8/21 (RL).
Nonbreeding WESTERN GREBES often oversummer (SemiL). The June high count was 48 at Yaquina Head on 6/19 (RL), with 4 reports in July (max=11 grebes) at Yaquina Bay, Yaquina Head, and Devils Punchbowl (RB; YBNFT [RB], PS & CK), and 3 reports in August (max=20+) at Seal Rocks, Yaquina Bay or Yaquina Head area (RB; RA & others; SF).
A RED-NECKED GREBE that appeared to be in breeding plumage on the ocean south of YBSJ on 8/20 may have been a returning migrant (RB), though some nonbreeders may oversummer (SemiL).
1-3 NORTHERN FULMARS washed up each month during May-July along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO).
From shore, the only report of live tubenoses were 5 SOOTY SHEARWATERS during WH's 6/5 Boiler Bay seawatch. But that was also the only reported seawatch during the period, so they may have been present.
During the 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip (GG), 200 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, 75 Northern Fulmars, 55 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 20 Sooty Shearwaters, and 110 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS were recorded. Most of the albatrosses and fulmars were near 2 hake (Pacific whiting) fishing boats on Perpetua Bank (GG).
As usual for June-July, the 23 reports of BROWN PELICANS were along the open coast (BLM; RB; WH; RS). They were also present during August (Bird Guide pelagic trip [GG], SF), with a maximum count of 15 near Seal Rocks on 8/30 (KB). The most extraordinary report was by researchers at Yaquina Head, who were surprised to see an immature pelican land on Flattop Rock at Yaquina Head, run through the Common Murre colony, and eat 10 murre chicks as well as causing many adult murres to fly away (RS)! The BNA account for the diet of Brown Pelicans only indicates that they eat fish and invertebrates.
During the 4th of July weekend, someone flew a kite along the Newport Bayfront that broke free and became tangled in the trees north of the Bayfront at Undersea Gardens (Ron as told to RB). Part of the line was stretched horizontally between two trees. Several days later, Ron saw a GREAT BLUE HERON hanging dead from this horizontal line. Evidently, the kite line was stretched across the heron's flight path when it was flying at dusk or night, so the heron did not see it. Elsewhere, Great Blue Herons have similarly hit power lines or other horizontal lines. Ron tried casting a fishing line over the kite line to try to pull the kite line down so no other birds would hit it. It took about 25 casts before he was successful and was able to pull it down and break it, though some line remained hanging vertically, which probably won't be a problem for herons or other birds.
On 8/29, G&HB watched a live Great Blue Heron with a fishing line hanging out of its bill at Olalla Lake, north of Toledo. Presumably a fish hook was caught inside. The heron could still fly and was not approachable, so catching it was not an option. Later that week they returned, and a fisherman told them that another fisherman had hand fed the heron for days with perch and was able to finally get close enough to remove the line! Thanks to the unknown fisherman for his patience!
We've had several years of GREAT EGRETS being present during their nesting season, though we have no actual record of them nesting here. After being absent since 4/19, two appeared on 7/2 at Yaquina Bay (RB). They have been regulars since then (BLl; KM; SF & CL; LO; KB), with a peak count of 48 at Yaquina Bay on 8/13 (RB).
GREEN HERONS are stealthy, so even though they are regularly here in summer (SemiL), they are often missed. This was one of our better years for reports with 1-2 at Logsden (BLl) and Idaho Flats (RB) in June and July, two juveniles at the south end and an adult at the north end of the Toledo Airport boat launch parking area on 7/27 (JL), a juvenile and an adult on the limbs of a dead tree at Thornton Creek on 7/31 (DF), and singletons near Criteser's Moorage on 8/16 (KM) and at Eckman Lake on 8/21 (RL).
A few NORTHERN HARRIERS may nest here some years, though our summer records are scattered (SemiL). Our only record this summer was of a male carrying a mouse/vole over Mike Miller Park during the 6/18 YBNFT (EH).
Perhaps our first July record of a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was a singleton perched in a tree near Green Herons that it apparently agitated at Thornton Creek on 7/31 (DF). Our next Red-shouldered appeared briefly during the 8/28 YBNFT at Beaver Creek State Park (CP)--which is more in keeping with their fall arrivals in recent years.
BALD EAGLES were common (e.g., 12 days in June and 10 days in July at Yaquina Head (BLM).
PEREGRINE FALCONS were recorded several times in Lincoln County during June-August. But publicizing locations is not advised because people may intentionally or unintentionally disturb their nesting as happened in 2009 along the southern Oregon coast (e.g., http://www.currypilot.com/20091125114276/News/Local-News/Two-guilty-of-removing-falcons-from-cliffside-nests).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's June 13 photograph of an adult Peregrine Falcon in Lincoln County.]
In mid-August, a VIRGINIA RAIL hit a window at Yaquina Head and died (JD fide DG). Yaquina Head seems like an unlikely place for a Virginia Rail, but this is not the first time. W. T. Shaw, then a professor at what is now OSU, reported in Biological Survey files that a Virginia Rail was killed by striking Yaquina Head Lighthouse on October 10, 1904 (see 1884-1923 Oregon Coast Bird Notes in Biological Survey Files at http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/jspui/handle/1957/8429).
We only had two reports of 1-2 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS--on 7/30 (RB) and 8/15 (SF & CL)--at Idaho Flats. A&SL found our only golden-plover, a PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER on 7/18 at Idaho Flats.
Our first "fall" record of a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was at Idaho Flats on 7/11 (WH).
Our first-of-fall and only SOLITARY SANDPIPER was about a mile upstream of Criteser's Moorage in Yaquina Bay on 8/16 (KM).
SPOTTED SANDPIPERS nest here, but our only summer report was by BLl of one at the Siletz River near Logsden on 6/13.
As a species, Whimbrels were recorded every month of the year in Lincoln County during 1974-1978 and 1982-1984 (SemiL); I think we have also had years recently when the species Whimbrel has been recorded every month, though they are not as common in winter as they once were. They are least regular during November-March, but are usually recorded every month during April-October (SemiL). However, the occurrence of the species does not tell us anything about how long individual Whimbrels are here.
Typically, Whimbrels migrate north in May and south in July. So June is the time to try to see nonbreeding, "oversummering" Whimbrels. This year, RB had counts of 41 (6/3) and 33 (6/18) at Yaquina Bay embayments. Starting in July the number of reports and observers of Whimbrels increased.
We may have book knowledge about migration. Or we may see birds of migratory species on the move and abstractly figure they are moving to some unknown destination beyond our sight. But occasionally something extraordinary happens, and migration can become more real.
On 8/9, RA & 2 others from Corvallis came over in an unsuccessful attempt to see a Costa's Hummingbird. While here they did some other birding, including finding 20+ Whimbrels along the ocean beach at Lost Creek State Park, south of Newport. One of them was unusual because it had a leg band (L1) and a radio-tag. RA posted the sighting to OBOL and asked if someone would relay it on. AC did and received email correspondence and a map from RG (see AC's Aug. 10 posting at http://contrerasbirds.blogspot.com/).
RG wrote, in part: "L1 (male) captured on the Colville River, [Alaska], on 1 July and fitted with a solar transmitter. He staged on the YK [Yukon-Kuskokwim] Delta for 3 weeks before migrating [overwater] on August 2nd (~0800 h), making landfall on the Oregon coast on 4 August (~1100 h; see attached)."
The YK delta is where the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers empty into the Bering Sea on the west coast of Alaska. Using Google Earth and the material in RG's email, I roughly estimate the over-water distance that L1 covered in about 2 days and 9 hours (57 hours) as about 1,900 miles, which is an average rate of 33 miles per hour! That is a long journey to end up here, and it had spent at least 5 days along the Oregon Coast before RA & others saw it, so it had not quickly departed Oregon. Other Whimbrels have left the YK delta and made even longer flights, with landfall in Baja California (http://ebird.org/content/ak/news/the-flight-of-the-kanuti-whimbrel)!
RG's report also points out that the 16 radio-tagged Whimbrels were not acting together, since on 8/10, 6 were still in Alaska, 8 were south of the Salton Sea, and 2 were, at least briefly, along the Oregon Coast, but not together.
So RA & others didn't get their intended rare species, but they got a rarer bird still--L1, and there is only one L1! (For more information about radio-tagged Whimbrels, try an Internet search of "Whimbrel satellite transmitter Gill.")
RN found 2 MARBLED GODWITS at Siletz Bay on 8/8, the first of fall.
MB had our first report of immigrant "peeps" (small shorebirds) on 7/1 on the ocean beach north of the Yaquina jetties.
The 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip tallied 300 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and 1 RED PHALAROPE (GG). WH had our only other phalarope report with Red-necked Phalaropes on 8/30 at the YBSJ.
The 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip (GG) found a POMARINE JAEGER, 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS, 5 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS, and 40 SABINE'S GULLS.
On 8/15, SF & CL discovered a juvenile MEW GULL along the YBSJ, and SF found an adult in heavy molt at Idaho Flats. KM found another Mew Gull a mile upstream from Criteser's Moorage on 8/16.
Starting on 7/10, WH noted "a big influx of CALIFORNIA GULLS - this is right on schedule for their move out to the coast from their inland breeding colonies. All the birds I have seen well have been adults or subadults - no HY [hatch-year=hatched this year] birds yet."
Some nonbreeding CASPIAN TERNS "oversummered" as is usual (SemiL). In June, WH saw one at Boiler Bay on 6/5, and RB found 4-18 during four days at Idaho Flats. From adjacent to the HMSC Nature Trail, RB tried to read coded leg bands, but even for those that were close (about 50 yards away), he was only able to read a band at 60X in good light with a lot of patience. He reported bands to http://www.mybandedtern.org/ and found that the one seen on 6/18 had been banded at East Sand Island in the lower Columbia River in July 2007. We may classify Caspian Terns as "oversummering" because they can regularly be identified to species in summer, but that does not mean that individuals "oversummer." RB found 6 banded Caspians at Idaho Flats during 6/18-7/16 (4 on 7/3), without a repeat sighting of any banded tern. This suggests that at least some individual Caspians may be moving around. Though usually not possible, being able to identify a bird as an individual rather than just to species allows us to learn more about the lives of birds.
There were many other reports of Caspians, but the only other species of tern reported were 3 ARCTIC TERNS during the 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic (GG).
2-4 adult COMMON MURRES washed up each month during May-July along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach; the first beached chick was found on 7/19 (B&SLo, L&VO). RL saw the first murre checks fledging by jumping from a Yaquina Head nesting colony on 7/25.
On 6/1, RS noted that an awkward immature Bald Eagle landed in the Colony Rock murre colony at Yaquina Head, grabbed an old murre carcass and hopped around exposing many murre eggs as the adult murres left the area. The eagle eventually grabbed an adult murre, but lost it eventually, and the bloodied murre sailed down to the water and swam away. There were so many eggs exposed the gulls couldn't get them all, and some murres moved back in to resume incubating (RS). For a related story about eagles at murre colonies, see http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1735
Reports of more than 10 MARBLED MURRELETS included about 70 adult and hatched-this-year birds during a nearshore survey on 7/27 from Yaquina Head and Depoe Bay (SS), 31 sitting on the water not very far out between Seal Rocks and Lost Creek State Parks on 8/9 (RA and others), 11 during the 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip (GG), and 13 north of Yaquina Head on 8/15 (SF).
Some CASSIN'S AUKLETS were noted during a nearshore survey on 7/27 from Yaquina Head and Depoe Bay (SS), and 2 were tallied during the 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip (GG).
As many as 10 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were recorded during a 6/5 Boiler Bay seawatch (WH), at Yaquina Head on 6/19 (RL) and 7/1 (BLM), during the 8/14 Bird Guide pelagic trip, and north of Yaquina Head on 8/15 (SF).
1-2 TUFTED PUFFINS were detected in the Yaquina Head vicinity during only 5 days in June and July (SH; fide RL; BLM; fide RS; SS). There were no reports in August.
[Image Not Included: Rob Suryan's June 1 photo of a subadult Bald Eagle with some white feathers on its head. It was hopping through a Common Murre colony at Yaquina Head, exposing many murre eggs (117 in this cropped photo by RB's count). One murre remained (see black arrow) and many others moved away (e.g., see top left). The two Western Gulls in the upper right had many eggs available to eat until the murres came back.]
RC had our only MOURNING DOVES, with 3 juveniles and 1 adult at Wandemere on 6/1. She noted that's the most that has been seen there.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES continue to become established. On 6/6, TW wrote: "I see or hear them almost every time I go outside, and they seem to be ubiquitous in north-central Newport. The ROCK PIGEON I saw with the collared-doves on 6/5 is the first one I've noticed in the area this spring. In past years, there have usually been several perched on the power line over our driveway, waiting for the cars to move. Could it be that one invasive [dove/pigeon] is displacing another?" We also had many collared-dove reports in north Newport, with a flock of 15 on 8/31 (TW). They also appear to be spreading out into rural areas with a singleton near Criteser's Moorage during 6/7-11 (SK). Another was near the Port of Alsea office in Waldport on 7/2 (MR).
A dead, beached NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach on 7/19 was unexpected, but terrestrial birds sometimes wash ashore (B&SLo, L&VO).
On 6/22, CP saw a BARRED OWL trying to eat a garter snake in low branches in a tree east of Lincoln City; the BNA gives their diet as being opportunistic, including "small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates." The first Barred Owl that LO heard at his north Beaver Creek home, where they formerly were regulars, was on 7/9. On 7/26 at Thornton Creek, DF heard an owl "giving a loud, raspy call" that was probably a juvenile Barred Owl. RN also heard a Barred on 8/1 at the Drift Creek Falls trailhead, east of Lincoln City.
RL saw our first of season COMMON NIGHTHAWK on 6/2 at Eckman Lake. They are our latest migrants to arrive. ME had our high count with 10+ along HWY 18 between Mileposts 8 & 9 on 6/15.
The first egg in a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD nest a foot away from BL's living room window in a rhododendron bush at Logsden hatched on Mother's Day (5/9), and the second egg hatched the next day. The young fledged 21 days later, exactly as BLl's book said they would, on 6/1.
WH found a rare COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD at his South Beach home on 8/7-8; it was an immature male.
Our only GRAY JAY was at RL's feeder near Eckman Lake on 6/27.
On 6/16, EH noted fledgling STELLER'S JAYS, BEWICK'S WRENS and SPOTTED TOWHEES moving around his garden in South Beach.
The 6/18 YBNFT (EH) at Mike Miller Park was graced with a BROWN CREEPER.
For Thornton Creek, DF wrote on 8/9: "We have had a season of nearly complete failure of berries of any kind. There are very few trailing blackberry, red huckleberry, or even red elderberry. The latter, in particular, is usually a big food source for many species of birds. I have seen some different behavior from the birds as a result of this paucity of fruit. Robins, thrushes, grosbeaks, and sparrows got every last one of my blueberries. Usually they do not bother them at all. I have also noticed a number of birds going after every one of the Himalayan blackberry fruits as soon as they have begun to ripen. Of course, this invasive species is the one which seems to have not been affected very much by the prolonged wet, cool spring. Or at least it is the wet, cool spring which I surmise is the reason for the lack of fruit."
Other people have also noted a lack of berries this summer.
On 6/11, CP was out at the YBSJ near the "Gull Puddle," when he looked towards the Yaquina channel and spotted a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD. As he watched it through his binoculars, an Orca popped into his field of view! That seems like a very rare combination to see together! WH relocated the mockingbird on 6/11-12.
TL & JH found an adult LINCOLN'S SPARROW near the north end of the HMSC Nature Trail on 8/13. Observation effort for Lincoln's Sparrows seems inadequate, so even though most of our scattered records are during September-May (SemiL), they may be more prevalent in August than our records indicate.
DARK-EYED JUNCOS nest at many Lincoln County areas but are only winter residents at others. PR had not noted them nesting at his home in northeast Newport in the past, but he had them appear this June with 2 juveniles on 6/30. JR also saw juncos regularly at his home in northeast Newport in June, and KR had 2 adults feeding spilled seeds to juveniles in north Newport on 6/29.
On 7/28, PR spotted a mostly white (leucistic) BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK along with other Black-headed Grosbeaks on 7/28 at a feeder at his home in northeast Newport. He described it as a male with white on top the color of a Eurasian Collared-Dove, faded face markings, and a faded American Robin-colored breast. On 7/30, B&PR independently noted the apparently same bird. Using Google Earth, I estimated the distance between their locations as about 0.9 mile. So it evidently was traveling around a bit!
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Rich Armstrong, Betty Bahn, Gloria & Herb Baum, Range Bayer, Birding Site Guide of Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Birds of North America Online (BNA)(http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/), Maryann Bozza, Kitty Brigham, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, CoastWatch (a volunteer project monitoring one-mile segments of the Oregon coast; http://oregonshores.org/coastwatch.php5), Alan Contreras, Dick Demarest, Jocelyn Duffy, Mark Elliott, Darrel Faxon (see some of DF's bird records and his articles at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#thornton_creek and http://www.oregoncoasttoday.com/fieldguide.html), fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Robert Gill, Greg Gillson, Dawn Grafe, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport to Perpetua Bank (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Jeff Harding, Wayne Hoffman, Steven Holt, Eric Horvath, David Irons, Carol Karlen, Steve Kupillas, Janet Lamberson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LCBNO/), Cindy Lippincott, Aaron and Sara Liston, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Tom Love, Michael Mefford, Kathy Merrifield, Russ Namitz, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide (http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Paul Reed, Jim Rice, Maggie Rivers, Kathy Roberts, Bill & Pam Rogers, Matthew Schneider, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Shawn Stephensen, Keith Stratton, Paul Sullivan, Rob Suryan, Tom Wainwright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N)(http://yaquina.info/ybn/), YB&N Field (YBNFT) led by EH on 6/18, RB on 7/24, and CP on 8/28.
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to site numbers in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/): BEAVER CREEK (#78, in part): creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park that includes Beaver Creek State Natural Area (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_261.php), BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, ECKMAN LAKE (#84): lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, IDAHO FLATS: large embayment just east of the 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 (#77): State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, SALLY'S BEND (#66): large Yaquina Bay embayment east of the LNG tank, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (vehicle entrance fee, http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/yaquina/files/yh_passes.pdf).
On 9/19, the first flocks of southerly migrating GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were noted at the YBSJ (WH) and Eckman Lake (RL). During their migration, a few often drop out, and some were noted on lawns at the HMSC the last week of Sept. (RL; CR).
HOODED MERGANSERS were common, with a peak count of 17 at Eckman Lake on 9/6 (KM).
A rare FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER graced the 9/11 Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT), along with 75 SOOTY, 225 BULLER'S, and 2,300 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 135 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES and 80 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS (GG). On 9/21, a rare BLACK STORM-PETREL was discovered offshore (OS, JG, J&BC, WG). 25 Buller's were also offshore on 9/3 (RL). 2 LAYSAN ALBATROSSES were about 50 miles offshore on 9/27 (RA). From shore, WH surveyed 1,500 Sooties during a 75 Boiler Bay seawatch on 9/18, and Pink-foots and Sooties were also recorded during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
BROWN PELICANS were often seen along the coast (m.ob.), but the first report of them east of the Yaquina Bay Bridge came the week of 9/20 (TW), which seems late. The peak counts were about 250 at Seal Rocks the morning of 9/23 (JT) and 800-1,000 perched on Gull Rock northwest of the town of Otter Rock at 8:30 AM on 9/25 during an OFO field trip (RB)--they may use that island as an overnight roost.
The first southerly migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were noted on 9/8 in southwest Newport (RB). At first glance, they appear to be migrating geese.
[Image Not Included: Bob Loeffel's August 17 photo of a dead, beached Brandt's Cormorant north of Beaver Creek. The white plastic ring or washer around its neck had a 2.75 inch outside diameter, 2.0 inch inside diameter, and was 1/16 inch thick. Bob wrote: "The collar is like a washer and is not broken. I don't think that it will pass over the bird's head yet there is little evidence of long term wear on the bird's neck." RB notes that it looks like this ring would only have allowed the cormorant to swallow small prey. Some fishermen have used cormorants to catch fish, but the ring or snare used around a cormorant's neck was removable to keep the cormorants healthy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant_fishing). This demonstrates that plastic debris can affect local wildlife.]
There were many reports of BALD EAGLES and PEREGRINE FALCONS (m.ob.).
On 9/10, MP found a juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK along the HMSC Nature Trail. PL saw a "likely goshawk" near the West Log Pond north of the Oregon Coast Aquarium on 9/16.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS put on a good showing in Sept., with 7 reports around the County (RL; PL; WH; EH; PK; OFO field trips [PS]). Singletons were noted, though PK saw 2 (a juvenile and an adult) near Siletz on 9/19.
MERLINS were admired at the YBSJ on 9/19 (WH) and during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
SaL observed 10 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS at Yachats on 9/12, and 11 were at Marine Gardens at Otter Rock during a 9/25 OFO field trip (RN, JH, HS, & RB).
FS photographed an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER while walking Salishan Spit near Lincoln City on 9/25.
1-4 MARBLED GODWITS were tallied at Idaho Flats during 9/1-19 (MP; WH; EH; BO; DS; RN; JS) and Sally's Bend (KM), and they were also found during the 9/25 OFO Lincoln Co. field trips (PS).
MP discovered 2 rare RUFFS near the HMSC Nature Trail on 9/1; both were juveniles. Thanks to his prompt reporting, both were also seen by CP & RL on 9/1; WH independently found one juvenile. One lingered on 9/2-3 (DS; RN & EH). This is only our second confirmed record (SemiL, FN); additionally, a possible (hypothetical) one was reported in August 1999.
While searching for the Ruffs, 2-4 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS were also detected near the HMSC Nature Trail during 9/1-2 (BO, EH, DS). They were also tallied during the 9/25-26 OFO field trips (PS).
Our first WILSON'S SNIPE of fall probed a wet garden in Waldport during the first week of Sept. (Burt fide RB).
A SOUTH POLAR SKUA was watched offshore during the 9/11 BGPT (GG). As many as 18 POMARINE JAEGERS were recorded during pelagic trips on 9/11 BGPT (GG) and 9/27 (RA), and one was seen from shore at Boiler Bay during a 9/18 Boiler Bay seawatch (WH). 2-4 PARASITIC JAEGERS were counted during pelagic trips on 9/3 (RL) and 9/11 BGPT (GG); from shore, Parasitics were noted on 9/20-22 at Idaho Flats (RL; HS) and during the 9/25 OFO Lincoln Co. field trips (PS). A LONG-TAILED JAEGER was about 50 miles offshore on 9/27 (RA).
250 SABINE'S GULLS were offshore during the 9/11 BGPT (GG), and 13 were about 50 miles offshore on 9/27 (RA). BONAPARTE'S GULLS were only noted at Idaho Flats on 9/11 (RN) and during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
While searching for the Ruffs, RN & EH discovered a juvenile FORSTER'S TERN at Idaho Flats on 9/3. This is our 7th record since 1992; most recently 1-2 were also noted in Sept. 2007 & 2009 (FN).
COMMON TERNS were observed offshore during the 9/11 BGPT (GG) and from shore at the YBSJ on 9/9 (KB & RB), at Boiler Bay in mid-Sept. (TR), and during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS). 2 ARCTIC TERNS were about 50 miles offshore on 9/27 (RA).
2 adult and 20 juvenile COMMON MURRES were found beached in August along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO). Neither total is high for surveys that BLo started in 1978. 120 murres ("most parent/chick pairs") were viewed during the 9/11 BGPT (GG).
10 MARBLED MURRELETS were counted during the 9/11 BGPT (GG) and as many as 10 were also spotted from shore at Yaquina Head on 8/30 (BLM), Seal Rocks on 9/6 & 10 (KM; KB), Boiler Bay on 9/18 (WH), and during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
A rare XANTUS' MURRELET was about 50 miles offshore on 9/27 (TJ fide RA).
A RHINOCEROS AUKLET was beached in August along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO), and they were often noted along the coastline in Sept. (m.ob.).
PR had our only report of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES--there were many in northeast Newport the first week of Newport. They have become so regular and common at some favored sites that they are not being reported.
As many as 6 MOURNING DOVES were watched in Newport, Toledo, and east of Sally's Bend (PR; DG; J& LM); the last report was during 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
Our only BARRED OWLS called at north Beaver Creek on 9/14 (LO).
On 9/21, a SHORT-EARED OWL was discovered far offshore (OS, JG, J&BC, WG). They used to be regulars in fall and winter, but prior to this report, there hasn't been a record since 2007 and there have been only a total of 7 sightings since 1994 (FN).
A flock of uncommon BLACK SWIFTS passed over South Beach on 9/6 (WH), and our latest VAUX'S SWIFT flew over EH's South Beach home on 9/26.
Most RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS have long departed, but a singleton appeared at RL's home near Waldport on 9/17.
On 9/25, DF found a LEWIS' WOODPECKER at his Thornton Creek home between Toledo and Eddyville. Thanks to a relay using old and new technologies, this is probably the most-seen Lewis' in Lincoln Co. DF telephoned CP, who came out and also saw it. CP telephoned RC, who posted an email report to OBOL. In Coos Co., TR read the OBOL posting and telephoned RN, who had a cell phone and was then co-leading one of the OFO field trips at the YBSJ. SF, a co-leader of a different OFO trip, also read the OBOL message directly on her electronic device during their field trip and also telephoned RN. As a consequence, RN, JH, HS & RB went to DF's home, and RN relocated the Lewis'--all this still on 9/25! We only have had two previous Lewis' reports since 1992--EH found 1 in South Beach on 10/19/1994 and DF discerned another near his Thornton Creek home on 10/1/1998 (FN).
RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS are seen more later in fall, and our only report was for the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
A PILEATED WOODPECKER was in BB's spruce tree in Yachats on 9/5.
[Image Not Included: An enlargement of Don Andre's cell phone photo of a Pileated Woodpecker on July 8. Its red malar stripe indicates it is a male. Don tried to sneak up on it as it was busy drilling a hole in a dead snag. After this photo, he crept to the base of the snag, where the Pileated's wood chips fell on him. Imagine Don's frustration at the Salmonberry branch that, like in this photo, still blocked his picture! But did the branch also block the Pileated from seeing him so he could get so close? Close may not count in a lot of things, but being close enough to take a recognizable cell phone photo and to have wood chips fall on you counts!]
Departures: WILLOW FLYCATCHER still fitz-bewing at Rocky Point east of Devils Lake on 9/30 (CP), PURPLE MARTIN at Beaver Creek on 9/10 (EH), BARN SWALLOW on 9/25 by OFO field trips (PS), and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW about 5 miles inland from Carmel Knoll (which is between Beverly Beach State Park and Yaquina Head) on 9/25 (CP).
Up to this year, WESTERN SCRUB JAYS had become regular in June, with June records during 2004-2009 (FN). This year we did not have any records after February until 9/11 when GG counted 3 at Devils Lake State Park. Thereafter we had 10 reports throughout the County (CP; RL; DG; PL; RC; MJ; J&LM; FS; BB) including the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS), with the latest in South Beach on 9/27 (WH). Usually only singletons are found, but beside GG's trio, there were at least 3 reports of two.
Our only GRAY JAYS were as many as 4 at RL's suet feeder near Eckman Lake during 9/12-14. Although they nest here, they are usually only reported in lowlands later in the year.
Our first of season RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were noted during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
On 9/25, CP found our only WESTERN BLUEBIRDS (6) about 5 miles inland from Carmel Knoll in a clearcut on the highest ridge between HWY 101 and HWY 229. They may nest in the same area, but it appears that birders rarely bird areas where bluebirds nest.
Our latest SWAINSON'S THRUSH was reported during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS), and CP had our first HERMIT THRUSH on Rocky Point east of Devils Lake on 9/30. CP saw more VARIED THRUSHES along the roads at high elevation on Rocky Point on 9/30 than he had ever seen before; they often appear at lower elevations during winter weather.
More departures include ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER on 9/9 at the HMSC (JS), COMMON YELLOWTHROAT during the 9/25-26 OFO field trips (PS), YELLOW WARBLER on 9/26 in South Beach (EH), BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER on 9/26 in Toledo (DG), and WILSON'S WARBLER on 9/30 at high elevation on Rocky Point east of Devils Lake (CP).
LESSER GOLDFINCHES have become more common in recent years and were found during the 9/25 OFO field trips (PS).
While looking for the Ruffs on 9/1, EH found our first of season WESTERN MEADOWLARK at the HMSC.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Rich Armstrong, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Birding Site Guide of Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Kitty Brigham, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Jim and Becky Carlson, Rebecca Cheek, Darrel Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Jeff Gilligan, Greg Gillson, Dawn Grafe, Wink Gross, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport to Perpetua Bank (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Jeff Harding, Wayne Hoffman, Eric Horvath, Tim Janzen, Marcus Johnson, Penelope Kaczmarek, Pete Lawson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LCBNO/), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Kathy Merrifield, m.ob. (multiple observers), Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Russ Namitz, Bob Olson, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide (http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/), Oregon Field Ornithologists (OFO) field trips within Lincoln Co., Laimons & Vicki Osis, Mike Patterson, Chuck Philo, Paul Reed, Tim Rodenkirk, Candace Rogers, Tim Rose, Owen Schmidt, Floyd Schrock, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Joline Shroyer, Harv Schubothe, Don Stein, Paul Sullivan, Jim Thielen, Tom Wainwright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N)(http://yaquina.info/ybn/).
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to site numbers in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/): BEAVER CREEK (#78, in part): creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park that includes Beaver Creek State Natural Area (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_261.php), BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, COQUILLE POINT (along #67): southeast corner of Sally's Bend at about mile 3.5 along north Yaquina Bay Road, DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL STATE NATURAL AREA (#63): south of Cape Foulweather, ECKMAN LAKE (#84): lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, IDAHO FLATS: large embayment just east of the 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 (#77): State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport.
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's Oct. 6 photo of 2 Cackling and one of 5 juvenile White-fronted Geese near the HMSC Nature Trail. Most were busy feeding, but one Cackler is here on the lookout. Juvenile White-fronts lack the speckled belly and white ring around the base of the bill of adults.]
On 10/11, CC saw a single SNOW GOOSE flying over Idaho Flats.
GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and especially CACKLING GEESE were often migrating over in numbers (m.ob.), but many also apparently dropped out to refuel on lawns, golf courses, and pastures (LO; WH; RL; JP; RB). The furthest inland grounded Cackler was in CM's Tidewater yard about 8 mi east of Waldport, on 10/16. Many White-fronts and Cacklers were relatively tame as they busily grazed on grass within 20-30 ft of passing people.
AR has spent many volunteer hours with the WOOD DUCK nest program at Devils Lake. For the 2010 season, AR reports: "We had a very good year, with 15 active nest boxes out of 27, and 259 eggs laid that resulted in 174 hatchlings. Since our past average was only 102, this showed a strong improvement, and we are looking forward to an even better 2011." To see more about the program and the 1998-2004 results, scroll down the page to "Al Rice's Statistics on Wood Ducks" at http://www.devilslakeor.us/birds.html
LO had our only Wood Duck sighting this month with 3 pairs plus a female at the new Beaver Creek State Natural Area on 10/10.
Our first of season EURASIAN WIGEON was a drake at Siletz Bay on 10/4 (MW fide RN).
1-5 HARLEQUIN DUCKS and 1-5 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were noted during 4 days in late October (PP; LO; YBNFT; BO & RB; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
PP saw a rare female KING EIDER or COMMON EIDER at Boiler Bay on 10/16.
Flocks of scoters were often seen flying south. During 7 seawatches in late October at Boiler Bay, SURF SCOTERS were always the most numerous (600-14,000/seawatch), WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were the next most abundant (150-800/seawatch) in 6 seawatches, and BLACK SCOTERS (0-750/seawatch) were more numerous than White-wings only during the 10/26 seawatch (PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
RED-THROATED LOONS, PACIFIC LOONS, and COMMON LOONS also migrated south in numbers. For example, during PP's Boiler Bay morning and afternoon seawatches on 10/26, he estimated 1,600 Red-thoateds, 7,000 Pacifics, and 3,000 Commons.
PP discovered our only CLARK'S GREBE on 10/16 at Boiler Bay.
The 10/2 Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT) out of Newport counted 39 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES (GG). Albatrosses are rare from shore, but an unidentified dark albatross on 10/24 and a LAYSAN ALBATROSS on 10/26 passed Boiler Bay (PP).
Only 1 NORTHERN FULMAR was beached in Sept. along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO). 37 were noted during the 10/2 BGPT (GG). Fulmars were also recorded from shore during 4 Boiler Bay seawatches, with peak counts of 1,500+ during a 75 minute morning seawatch on 10/21 and 8,500+ during a 2 hour afternoon seawatch on 10/26 (PP). Very few were light-phase with the highest percentage of lights on 10/31 (5%: 2 light of 40 fulmars) (PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
PP detected a rare COOK'S-type PETREL 300-400 yards from shore during his 10/26 Boiler Bay seawatch (PP).
111 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 2 rare FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 21 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, and 50 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were offshore for the 10/2 BGPT (GG). During seawatches at Boiler Bay, Pink-footed, Buller's, Sooty, and SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS were also noted (PP; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
The 10/2 BGPT found 400 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS (GG). From shore at Boiler Bay, 1-80 Fork-tails were noted during 3 seawatches and 5-1,400+ LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS were observed during 10/24 & 26 seawatches (PP).
There were 10 counts of 100-700+ BROWN PELICANS; these were at Boiler Bay, Colony Rock at Yaquina Head, Gull Rock west of Devil's Punchbowl, and Yaquina Bay Bridge (PP; LO; BO & RB; J& KF). These numbers do not seem unusual, but the very high proportion of adults noted by several observers is noteworthy. On 10/5 at Colony Rock, LO counted 116 adults and 3 immatures; on 10/16 at Boiler Bay, PP estimated 700+ adults but only 4 immatures; and on 10/23 at Yaquina Bay Bridge, J&KF estimated 200 pelicans, only 4 of which were immatures.
Southerly migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS can at first glance appear to be geese, especially since geese are much more abundant. Migrating Double-crests were first noted in Sept., and flocks of 10-70 were noted at southwest Newport on 10/16, 17 & 20 (RB).
The only egrets reported were GREAT EGRETS, and they were much less numerous than expected for October. RB only found 11 at Yaquina Bay embayments on 10/6. LO spotted 1 at Beaver Creek during 4 days, and 2 were there for the 10/23 YBNFT.
BLL had our first WHITE-TAILED KITE record since early February, with a singleton over a Logsden field on 10/18 & 25.
BALD EAGLES were oft-reported (m.ob) and lingered at Yaquina Head during 2 days in early Sept. (BLM).
We also had several SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS. On 10/18, PR was walking outside of his Newport house when one suddenly flew around the corner in hot pursuit of a small bird and came face to face with PR! It put on the "brakes," so that all of its feathers were fanned out, and PR had a spectacular view.
Single RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were at the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/21-22 (ME; TC); at Beaver Creek during the 10/23 YBNFT, and near the Oregon Coast Aquarium on 10/25 (BM fide BLl).
On 10/17, TS saw an adult PEREGRINE FALCON stooping on another Peregrine that sat in the sand at South Beach State Park. The adult Peregrine in the air hit the falcon on the ground a few times (rolling her over), and then stopped stooping and flew off. TS writes: "I assumed the fight was over food. But it only took a few more steps to realize that the falcon on the ground was not on a kill, she was injured. I picked her up, got her cleaned up, dried off, warmed up, and off to a rehab center. She had a few bleeding injuries and one of her eyes was swollen most of the way shut. The rehabbers say she's eating and doing well. They hope for a full recovery!" We also had 6 other reports of 1-2 Peregrines.
PL had our only MERLIN--a singleton above the Newport Bayfront on 10/16. There were no kestrel reports.
At the Beaver Creek State Natural Area, L& VO heard our only SORAS along with VIRGINIA RAILS on 10/29. It is unclear from our records (SemiL) if some Soras overwinter, so more records are encouraged!
14 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS near D River in Lincoln City on 10/8 (TB) were our only records, and a WHIMBREL lingered at the YBSJ on 10/9 (TB; WH). 3 MARBLED GODWITS were at Idaho Flats on 10/3 (MW fide RN) and 29 migrated south past D River on 10/8 (TB).
We had 2 reports of 10 or more BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS--a flock of 13 flying at the south end of Devils Punchbowl State Park on 10/15 (BO & RB) and a flock of 11 at the central rocks of Seal Rocks on 10/25 (LO). If you see concentrations of 10 or more anywhere along the Oregon Coast, please email oystercatcher researcher Elise Elliott-Smith (email@example.com).
DUNLIN, WESTERN SANDPIPER, and LEAST SANDPIPER migration appeared intermittent during 7 Boiler Bay seawatches in late October. More than 1 were only recorded during 3 seawatches: 10/21 (6,000), 10/26 (1,060), and 10/31 (500+)(PP; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
The 10/2 BGPT recorded 99 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and 2 RED PHALAROPES (GG). From shore, only Reds were noted during 4 Boiler Bay 10/24-31 seawatches (PP; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
The 10/2 BGPT tallied 4 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS, 12 POMARINE JAEGERS, and 16 PARASITIC JAEGERS (GG). At Boiler Bay, 2 Pomarines were found on 10/24, 26, & 31 (PP; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
During 4 Boiler Bay seawatches during 10/24-31, CALIFORNIA GULLS were the most abundant southerly flying gull (600-7,000/seawatch), and HEERMANN'S GULLS were second-most (450-2,700/seawatch); BONAPARTE'S GULLS were most abundant during 10/26-31 (140-600/seawatch), and BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were only recorded during the 10/16 (2), 10/26 (250), and 10/31 seawatches (PP; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
Our only tern was a COMMON TERN offshore during the 10/2 BGPT (GG).
21 COMMON MURRES were tallied in Sept. along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO). The number was not unusual, but what was notable was that many murre chicks appeared to have been late this year, so that it was still possible to identify 15 of the 21 murres as juveniles (BLo).
The 10/2 BGPT counted 60 Common Murres, 6 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, 4 MARBLED MURRELETS, 5 ANCIENT MURRELETS, 60 CASSIN'S AUKLETS, 40 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, and 2 TUFTED PUFFINS (GG). At Boiler Bay during five 10/21-31 seawatches, there were 6-200 murres during 4 watches, 1-9 Pigeon Guillemots during 3 watches, 1-45 Marbleds during 4 watches, 1-130+ Ancients during 5 watches, 1-3 Cassin's during 3 watches, and 4-800 Rhinos during 5 watches PP; PP, WH, DW, SF, DI).
Our latest BAND-TAILED PIGEON was at LO's north Beaver Creek home on 10/17.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES expanded with a first-ever record at north Beaver Creek on 10/14 (LO). They continued in north Newport (PR). LO also heard a pair cooing at Bayshore Beach north of Waldport during the summer, so they may have nested there.
Our only MOURNING DOVES (2) were at Beaver Creek State Natural Area during the 10/23 YBNFT.
BARRED OWL reports increased, with singletons at north Beaver Creek (LO), near Eckman Lake (RL), Newton Hill between Siletz and Toledo (JL), and at trails in South Beach State Park during 3 days (RP; RP & DG; TS).
RL discerned a first of season NORTHERN FLICKER with yellow-shafts at the HMSC on 10/6, and an uncommon TROPICAL KINGBIRD visited north Newport on 10/7 (BO) and 10/22 (DH fide GG).
It appears that we had a GRAY JAY invasion with 1-4 in Oct. at north Beaver Creek (LO), Waldport (TM), and Yachats (BB; LO). CP had the high count with a flock of 10 "moving through heavy timber like a flock of Bushtits through brush" on a 900 ft elevation ridge about 7 miles south of Toledo on 10/20.
1-2 WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS were at Waldport on 10/8 (M&MR; RL), the Newport Post Office on 10/15 & 26 (RB; RC), and Yaquina Bay State Park on 10/20 (DF).
On 10/10, a loose flock of 9 COMMON RAVENS flew over Wandemere about 0.5 mile north of Ona Beach State Park, and RC wrote: "The first 2 were squabbling as they flew, others straggled behind in 2's and 3's, all occasionally calling. Looked like they had come off the beach down near Ona and were flying NNE. This is the largest group of ravens I've ever seen here - previous high count was a family group of 5."
During the stormy 10/23 YBNFT at Seal Rocks, an undetermined number of ravens and American Crows were flying around (often acrobatically and sometimes with interactions). Some of the ravens and crows seemed to be playing in the updrafts from winds flowing up and over Elephant Rock. The winds at the South Jetty then were about 10-20 knots.
[Image Not Included: Tricia Morgan's Oct. 18 photo of a Gray Jay perched in a shrub with red autumn leaves near her Waldport home.]
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's Oct. 19 photo of an immature male Yellow-headed Blackbird at one of the USFWS feeders at the HMSC.]
The first week of Oct., LE saw 6 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS at her feeder in Eddyville. ME found 4 in a clearcut 6 miles up the Siletz River on 10/19.
On 10/31, AC detected a probable RED-THROATED PIPIT at Yachats--no others have been reported for Lincoln County (SemiL, FN).
Our first of fall PALM WARBLER graced the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/9-10 (TB; AC), and a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER was at Beaver Creek on 10/22 (LO).
On 10/8, SaL found a SAVANNAH SPARROW near the Adobe Motel in Yachats. Savannah's nest here, but there are also spring and fall migrations of what appear to be different subspecies.
Our first of season FOX SPARROW was at Boiler Bay on 9/26 (TR). CP heard one singing on 10/3 behind the Newport RiteAid. It is the first of season for him, and he notes that they often sing the first few days after arriving. DF adds that their fall song is usually an abbreviated version of their spring song.
The first of fall WHITE-THROATED SPARROW arrived at CP's Toledo home on 10/17, and a rare CASSIN'S FINCH (a bright, singing male) visited DF's Thornton Creek farm between Toledo and Eddyville on 10/22.
3-5 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS were near the Newport LNG tank on 10/11 & 26 (CP; RC)--one sang there on 10/11 (CP). Another was at Boiler Bay on 10/31 (PP).
The Beaver Creek State Natural Area sightings board in the Visitor Center listed a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD for 10/18. RL had an immature male at a feeder near the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/19 & 28.
DG noted PINE SISKINS at the USFWS feeders near the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/24 that were the first of the year for that location. They were reported during the 9/25-26 Oregon Field Ornithologist's Conference (PS), but that is our only other record since February, so they have been pretty scarce and spottily distributed so far this year.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Birding Site Guide of Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Trent Bray, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Carol Cole, Alan Contreras, Tom Crabtree, Lois Eddy, Mark Elliott, Jim and Karan Fairchild, Darrel Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Greg Gillson, Dawn Grafe, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport to Perpetua Bank (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Wayne Hoffman, Deb Holland, Dave Irons, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LCBNO/), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, Bob Merry, Charlotte Mills, Tricia Morgan, m.ob. (multiple observers), Russ Namitz, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Bob Olson, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide (http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Ram Papish, Chuck Philo, Jody Picconi, Phil Pickering, Paul Reed, Al Rice, Mike & Maggie Rivers, Tim Rose, Trent Seager, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Paul Sullivan, David Ward, Matthew Winks, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N)(http://yaquina.info/ybn/), YB&N Field (YBNFT) led by LO.
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to site numbers in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/): BAYVIEW PASTURE: pasture/field near creek about 0.4 mile east of junction of North Alsea Bay Road with South Beaver Creek Road, BEAVER CREEK (#78, in part): creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park that includes Beaver Creek State Natural Area (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_261.php), BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, ECKMAN LAKE (#84): lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, LNG TANK: large green Liquefied Natural Gas tank on the north side of Yaquina Bay about 1.5 miles east of Yaquina Bay Bridge, OLALLA SLOUGH: slough E of Toledo meandering S into Yaquina Bay, ONA BEACH (#77): State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, SALLY'S BEND (#66): 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, THIEL CREEK: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport.
On Nov. 4, a birder's scope and tripod were stolen from a vehicle at Knight County Park at the Salmon River in north Lincoln County. This isn't the first such theft at a coastal park and won't be the last. Nationwide Insurance's page "Curb 'Smash-and-Grab' Theft" (http://www.nationwide.com/about-us/smash-and-grab.jsp) has some tips for reducing the risk of theft, including not leaving valuables (e.g., wallets, keys, cell phones, or small electronics) visible, putting valuables in your trunk BEFORE driving to your destination (a thief at a parking area could be watching you put valuables in your trunk before you walk away), locking doors and closing windows, and parking in busy areas near pedestrian and vehicle traffic. For your safety, they advise that you do not confront a thief--call police.
PP found the first BRANT of the season, with 3 flying north past Spanish Head at 2 PM on 11/5--about 2 hours later, RB discovered 8 to the south at Yaquina Bay embayments. On 11/7, PP & WH tallied 246 heading south during a 6 hour Boiler Bay seawatch. Their numbers at Yaquina Bay increased to 58 on 11/8 (TW) and 150 on 11/25 (JS, LJ, & TB), so most of those passing Boiler Bay on 11/7 may have kept migrating south. Brant are not known to winter at Alsea Bay, but 2 were near the east side of Bayshore Spit on 11/19 (BO & RB) and 11/27 (PO); it may not be possible to see these Brant from the east side of Alsea Bay where birders usually are.
2 CACKLING GEESE and 8 GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were inside the security fence around the LNG tank on 11/3 (EK). On 11/4, LO found 6 adult and 29 juvenile white-fronts, 26 cacklers, and 12 CANADA GEESE at Beaver Creek. On 11/7, RL approached within 20 ft of a juvenile cackler grazing on the highway shoulder at Ona Beach about 15 ft from passing vehicles. The only report of cacklers during 9 Boiler Bay and 1 Spanish Head seawatches in November were of 6 on 11/16 (PP; WH).
ME saw our first-of-season TUNDRA SWAN--2 at Siletz Bay on 11/3, and PP spotted a singleton flying by Boiler Bay on 11/16.
There was a multitude of ducks but no geese in the embayment areas east of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in November. 9,480 ducks (mostly scoters) were very roughly estimated at the embayments and adjacent channel on 11/3; 5,990 dabbling ducks and 8,060 diving ducks were in the same area on 11/5 when light conditions were more conducive for a better estimate (RB). On 11/24, KF & UK estimated "thousands" of American Wigeon, "thousands" of Buffleheads, and "hundreds" of Surf Scoters in Yaquina Bay.
1 male EURASIAN WIGEON was at north Alsea Bay late during the 11/20 YBNFT, and 2 Eurasian plus 2 hybrid American X Eurasian Wigeon were at Sally's Bend on 11/26 (MaS & PB).
HARLEQUIN DUCKS were at Yaquina Head during 5 days in Oct. (BLM) and at least 8 were at central Seal Rocks on 11/28 (LO).
Many SURF SCOTERS and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were on the move during 10 seawatches in Nov. (PP; WH), with a peak estimate of 7,000 Surf and 600 White-wings heading south during a morning 225-minute watch on 11/16 (PP).
Singleton LONG-TAILED DUCKS were noted during Boiler Bay seawatches on 11/4, 6, & 16 (PP; WH) and near Idaho Point Marina in Yaquina Bay on 11/24 (KF & UK).
PP detected our first COMMON GOLDENEYE at Boiler Bay on 11/4.
The Beaver Creek State Natural Area sightings board and host report a SOOTY GROUSE in the south part of the area on 11/11. Our winter records of them are sparse (SemiL).
3 MOUNTAIN QUAIL continued to visit under the feeders at BB's Yachats home daily in early November.
Southerly loon migration was apparent throughout the month during 10 seawatches with PACIFIC LOONS and RED-THROATED LOONS predominating (PP; WH). On 11/28, WH still noted 650 Pacifics and Red-throated's passing during a 100-minute Boiler Bay morning seawatch.
Our only EARED GREBE was at Yaquina Bay on 11/25 &26 (JS, LJ, & TB), and our only CLARK'S GREBE was west of the Alsea Bay Bridge on 11/28 (PO).
61 dark- and 6-light-phase NORTHERN FULMARS were washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO) in October--it is going to be another big year for beached fulmars. Live fulmars were recorded during 9 of 10 seawatches in November, with 100 or more only noted on 11/7 & 8 and 11/16 & 18; all 120 were dark-phase on 11/8 and only 2-5% were light-phase during the 11/7, 16, & 18 watches (PP; WH).
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS/SOOTY SHEARWATERS were noted during 6 of 10 seawatches, with 179-2,400+ during 11/7, 16, & 18 watches (PP & WH). Other tubenoses during these seawatches included a rare possible MURPHY'S PETREL on 11/6 (WH), a rare probable MANX SHEARWATER on 11/7 (WH), and a BULLER'S SHEARWATER and a FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL on 11/16 (PP).
BROWN PELICANS were noted throughout the month with peak estimates of 400 flying south during the 11/7 Boiler Bay seawatch (PP & WH) and at least 300 southbound on 11/22 past Lincoln City (DV). A dead adult was found near the Port of Alsea docks at Alsea Bay during the 11/20 YBNFT. A sign that some may not be finding enough food was that PO watched one on 11/27 west of the Alsea Bay bridge that was "following crabbing boats around, mixing it up with the gulls to win the scraps thrown overboard."
[Image Not Included: Dawn Villaescusa's Nov. 7 photo of part of a flock of Double-crested Cormorants migrating south past Lincoln City. At first glance, they may look like migrating geese, but the yellow bill most visible on the lower right bird and the heron-like kink in the neck of the left and upper ones identify them as Double-cresteds. The light breasts of the left and upper birds indicate that they are juveniles. The whole photo is at http://i1014.photobucket.com/albums/af261/villaesc/Birds/IMG_1316_2.jpg]
On 11/18 at the HMSC, BO heard Squawker, the GREAT BLUE HERON that nearly continuously calls while flying. It's call does not sound like a heron. It was last reported in October 2009.
On 11/20, the YBNFT arrived at south Lint Slough in Alsea Bay and found a GREAT EGRET repeatedly dipping a dead Norway rat (the naked tail was visible) into the water and then unsuccessfully trying to swallow it. Our several minutes of patience were rewarded with seeing the end of the saga--the rat was too big for the egret to swallow, and it finally gave up trying. It dropped the rat, turned away and stood for a while. Then, without looking back, it walked away to try foraging elsewhere. It appears that the egret's eyes were larger than its gullet!
Elsewhere, 1-2 Great Egrets were noted at Yaquina Bay and Beaver Creek in Nov. (TW; LO; RB).
----------------------------------------- Coast Route |Inland Route Raptor 11/22 |11/21 ----------------------------------------- N. Harrier 2 | 0 Wh-t. Kite 0 | 3 Sharp. Hawk 0 | 0 Coop. Hawk 0 | 1 R-shld. Hawk 1 | 0 R-tail. Hawk 8 | 7 B. Eagle ad. 6 | 2 " subadults 0 | 2 " unknown 1 | 0 Am. Kestrel 0 | 4 Peregrine F. 2 | 0 RAPTOR SUM 20 | 19
A lone TURKEY VULTURE was very late at the YBSJ on 11/26 (MaS & PB). Prior to 1993, we only had 2 November records, with the latest on 11/16 (SemiL).
The last OSPREY was noted on 11/16 (Beaver Creek State Natural Area sightings board).
Besides kites noted during the Inland Raptor Route, 1-2 occurred "every other day" in early Nov. at Logsden (BLl).
BALD EAGLES were often noted, and RL watched two adults at Eckman Lake on 11/5 "working the lake as if they were trying to take a duck or coot, but one of them struck the lake surface and flew off with a 4-5 lb largemouth bass! Nice fish."
Besides the RED-SHOULDERED HAWK along the Coast Route, singletons were also at Bayview Pasture on Sept. 27 (KM), near Oregon Coast Aquarium in early Nov. (BLl), and near the HMSC/Aquarium area on 11/25 (WH).
PP saw a MERLIN chasing phalaropes 3/4 mile off of Boiler Bay on 11/4, and another Merlin was at Sally's Bend on 11/5 (RB).
PEREGRINE FALCONS were recorded at Yaquina Head during 8 days in Oct. (BLM), and many others were noted near the coastline.
On 11/4, LO heard VIRGINIA RAILS at Beaver Creek, and on 11/7, D&LF reported Virginia Rail and SORA at marshes near Lincoln City. Our winter records of Soras are too scanty to determine if they regularly overwinter (SemiL).
A WHIMBREL was at the YBSJ on 11/6 (DV). On 11/27, one was foraging along an ocean sand beach at southwest Newport until it suddenly flew due west out over the ocean for no apparent external reason, such as a raptor or a chasing dog (RB).
Some high-tide shorebird roosts were located or re-located at Alsea Bay. On 11/19, a flock of about 100 LEAST SANDPIPERS and 1 DUNLIN huddled together down out of the wind on the rock rip-rap along the east Bayshore Spit canal, and about 10 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS roosted on marsh vegetation at the southeast end of Eckman Lake (BO & RB), where shorebirds have roosted at high-tide in past years. On 11/20, about 50 Dunlin and 6 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS roosted on a snag in the middle of Alsea Bay, and 10+ dowitchers again roosted at the southeast corner of Eckman Lake (YBNFT). At Bayview Pasture on 11/20, we did not see any roosting shorebirds as has occurred in the past, but 11 GREATER YELLOWLEGS were actively foraging along the marsh (YBNFT).
Yellowlegs were also noted at Siletz Bay on 11/2 (ME) and upper Yaquina Estuary on 11/29 (K&DR).
The largest count of Black-bellied Plovers was 38 at Siletz Bay on Oct. 14 (ME).
1-400+ RED PHALAROPES were noted during 6 of 10 seawatches in Nov. (PP; WH). East of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, there were at least 8 on 10/29 (ME) and a singleton on 11/19, 25 & 26 (RB; JS, LJ, & TB). Our only RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was reported at the YBSJ on 11/14 (D&LF).
Our only jaegers were a JAEGER sp. (11/7) and a POMARINE JAEGER (11/8) at Boiler Bay (PP; WH).
In late summer and early fall, gulls and sometimes other birds are seen "hawking" flying ants in their "nuptial flights" for reproduction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuptial_flight) or other numerous flying insects. These gull flights usually occur on warm days with little, if any, wind. Characteristically, gulls will fly or soar around in large circles or loops and occasionally momentarily stall as they stretch their head and neck toward something small that is usually unseen by birders. The afternoon of Sept. 27, KM saw about 40 CALIFORNIA GULLS hawking insects near the Alsea Bay Bridge; the insects were probably flying termites that she later found on the ground. The afternoon of 10/29, RB saw 10+ gulls (probably all CALIFORNIA GULLS or RING-BILLED GULLS) acting like they were hawking insects high in the area near the beach in southwest Newport; some appeared to be up to about 1,000 ft altitude; there were many kinds of flying insects close to ground level that afternoon. During a warm, calm 11/2, DV saw gulls exhibiting the same behavior over Lincoln City.
California Gulls were heading south with estimates of 300-3,000+ during five 11/7-18 Boiler Bay seawatches (PP; WH). The 11/7 seawatch was the peak day for southerly migrating BONAPARTE'S GULLS (1,600+) and HEERMANN'S GULLS (1,400+) (PP & WH). PP had our latest Heermann's with 40 during a Boiler Bay seawatch on 11/18. At Boiler Bay, PP discovered an uncommon FRANKLIN'S GULL on 11/16, our only GLAUCOUS GULLS (an adult on 11/8 and a juvenile on 11/16), and 2-5 SABINE'S GULLS on 11/16 & 18.
Many alcids were found in October along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO), with 14 adult and 10 juvenile COMMON MURRES, 6 adult and 8 juvenile RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, and 1 PIGEON GUILLEMOT. During PP's and/or WH's 10 seawatches during 11/3-28, the range in live alcid abundance and their frequency of occurrence (% of seawatches when present) were 1-3,000 murres (100%), 0-3 Pigeon Guillemots (30%), 0-9 MARBLED MURRELETS (60%), 0-266 ANCIENT MURRELETS (80%), 0-53 CASSIN'S AUKLETS (10%), and 0-604 Rhinoceros Auklets (90%). In Yaquina Bay, west of the bridge, there was an Ancient on 11/25 (JS, LJ, & TB) and a Marbled Murrelet on 11/27 (MaS & PB).
J&LM reported a EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE on 11/16 at their home east of Sally's Bend; they are common in north Newport. 4-6 MOURNING DOVES were also coming daily to their home in mid-Nov.
A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER arrived at B&Slo's Thiel Creek home in mid-Nov., and a yellow-shafted NORTHERN FLICKER visited Nelscott in Lincoln City on 11/18 (DV).
JL & CP detected a NORTHERN SHRIKE near the electric substation along the east side of Olalla Slough in Toledo during the 11/20 Inland Raptor Route, and CP re-sighted it in the same area on 11/27.
GRAY JAYS continued as regular visitors to RL's home near Waldport in late Nov., and flocks of up to 10 were reported at north Beaver Creek in early Nov. (fide LO) and at Makai near Ona Beach on 11/29 (fide PPa).
The month's only WESTERN SCRUB-JAY lingered near the USFWS building at the HMSC on 11/18 (DG).
BLl appreciated 2 AMERICAN DIPPERS at Siletz River near Logsden in early Nov.
Winter VARIED THRUSHES first started appearing in mid-November (KS; BB; B& SLo; PL).
On 11/29-30, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE graced PL's Newport yard. They are uncommonly recorded, especially for more than one day. This is only our 6th since 2000 (FN). In 2001, DF had one ongoing report of a singleton near Thornton Creek during Feb. 18-March 23, and the other reports were of lone birds on single days (FN).
Based on plumage differences, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at CP's Toledo home on 11/2 is a different individual than the one he saw last month. On 11/8, one came to DD's feeders in Depoe Bay, which was "the first time I have seen one in my yard in the 7 years I have lived here."
A WESTERN MEADOWLARK was in the grass near the HMSC Visitor Center on 11/5 (DM).
PINE SISKINS were widely reported, with a high count of "hundreds" at J&LM's feeders east of Sally's Bend in mid-November. They had been absent in summer, and 1-2 arrived at CP's Toledo home in September, but they appear to have arrived en mass in November.
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's Nov. 24 photo of a Gray Jay at his home near Waldport. Roy notes that 5-6 individuals regularly came to his suet feeder, and they "certainly aren't fearful of humans."]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Patty Bernardi, Tanya Bray, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Dick Demarest, Mark Elliott, Karl Fairchild, Darrel & Laura Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Dawn Grafe, Wayne Hoffman, Laura Johnson, Elaine Karnes, Ulo Kiigemagi, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LCBNO/), Pete Lawson, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Dave Mellinger, Kathy Merrifield, Walt Nelson, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Bob Olson, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Pam Otley, Pam Parker (PPa), Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Kathy & Dennis Roberts, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Mary Anne Sohlstrom (MaS), Keith Stratton, John Sullivan, Dawn Villaescusa, Tom Wainwright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N)(http://yaquina.info/ybn/), YB&N Field (YBNFT) led by RB.
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to site numbers in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/): BAYVIEW PASTURE: pasture/field near creek about 0.4 mile east of junction of North Alsea Bay Road with South Beaver Creek Road, BEAVER CREEK (#78, in part): creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park that includes Beaver Creek State Natural Area, BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, 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 (#77): State Park about 6.6 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge along HWY 101 at Beaver Creek, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport.
On 12/17, waterfowl numbers continued to be high in the channel adjacent to or on Yaquina Bay embayments. RB's estimates by counting blocks of 10's were 4,830 surface-feeding ducks; 8,550 diving ducks; 8 Canada Geese, and 166 Brant. The total (13,554 ducks and geese) was similar to his Nov. 5 total (14,050), but there appeared to have been significant changes in species composition. RB's impressions were that Surf Scoters were not as abundant and Buffleheads and Ruddy Ducks were more abundant on 12/17 than on 11/5. Further, Brant and Common Goldeneyes were present on 12/17 but not on 11/5.
WN & RC had our only GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, a flock of 30 at Bayview Pasture on 12/23.
PL discerned our only 4 SWANS, presumably Tundra Swans, flying over the Newport Bayfront on 12/5.
HARLEQUIN DUCKS were noted during the first 24 days at Yaquina Head in Nov. (BLM). In December, as many as 4 were tallied at Boiler Bay, Seal Rocks, YBSJ, or Yaquina Head during 7 days (m.ob.).
1-2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS graced Yaquina Bay on 12/2 &16 (WG & JH; SS), and 2-4 BARROW'S GOLDENEYES were at Siletz Bay on 12/5&23 (RP; RC & WN).
Counts of Brant at Yaquina Bay by RB, TW, and JSu, LJ, and TB during October 2010-1 January 2011. The first were found on Nov. 5, and the high count was 171 (Jan. 1) (RB). This shows the typical pattern of a few Brant arrivals followed by increasing numbers to a plateau of overwintering birds. YB&N is a project partner of the International Brant Monitoring Project (http://www.padillabay.gov/brant/), and RB relays on sightings of significant numbers of Brant in Lincoln County to their Observation Log (see link on the left side of their web page).
175- XXX 150- XX XXX 125- XXX XXX 100- XXX XXX 75- XXX XXX 50- X XXX XXX 25- X XXX XXX 1-12- XX XXX XXX 0-X XX XXX XXX |''''|''''|''''|''''|''''|''''|''' Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr 2010 ---------|---2011----------
Our only quail were the 3 MOUNTAIN QUAIL lingering at BB's Yachats feeder through 12/29.
238 (7% white-phase) dead NORTHERN FULMARS were along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in November (B&SLo, L&VO). Their total of 304 since September is the 2nd highest year since BLo started surveys in 1978; the highest Sept.-Nov. total was in 2003 (408). This die-off is not confined to their beach as it has also showed up along beaches in central California (HN).
1-350+ live fulmars were noted from Boiler Bay during 12/10, 12 & 14 (WH; PP; DL).
3 dead BROWN PELICANS were along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach in November (B&SLo, L&VO). Live ones were seen throughout December, but only 1-2 were counted after 12/14 (m.ob.). BB had the high count with an estimated 300 flying south past Yachats during 8-10 AM on 12/14.
A GREAT EGRET at Beaver Creek on 12/18 YBNFT was our only report, and BLl encountered our only WHITE-TAILED KITE near his Logsden home on 12/19.
A Christmas Day surprise was a pair of BALD EAGLES perched side by side on the Newport Breakwater (SH, RH & BH). We had no NORTHERN HARRIER reports in Dec., but they were at Yaquina Head during 2 days in Nov. (BLM).
Singleton RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were near Lincoln City on 12/5 (DF) and at the HMSC on 12/22 (BB).
PP spotted a rare GYRFALCON cruising over his Lincoln City home on 12/7. This is only our 4th record since 1992 (FN).
CP saw a MERLIN "scooting" over the Newport Safeway on 12/23, and another swept through southwest Newport on 12/19 (RB).
Other than on Raptor Routes, SK had the only other AMERICAN KESTREL, south of Siletz, on 12/18.
Oregon Winter Raptor Surveys are a good relative index to the abundance of wintering raptors and are coordinated by the East Cascades Birds Observatory (www.ecbcbirds.org/Default.aspx?tabid=73).
The Lincoln Co. Raptor Coast Route is about 61 miles and runs along Hwy 101 from the north side of Alsea Bay to Taft area of Lincoln City, with nearby inland valleys. It was completed in 5 hours on 11/22 by WH, WN, & RC and on 12/23 by WN & RC.
The Inland or Yaquina River-Siletz Raptor Route is about 66 miles long. It was done in 4.5 hours on 11/20 by CP & JL and 4.25 hours on 12/29 by JL & KL.
This month, the most numerous raptors on both Routes were Red-tailed Hawks followed by Bald Eagles. A kestrel was noted unusually for the Coastal Route, and a Peregrine was unusual along the Inland Route.
----------------------------------------- Coast Route |Inland Route 11/ 12/ |11/ 12/ Raptor 22 23 | 20 29 ---------------------------------------- N. Harrier 2 0 | 0 0 Wh-t. Kite 0 0 | 3 0 Sharp. Hawk 0 0 | 0 0 Coop. Hawk 0 0 | 1 0 R-shld. Hawk 1 0 | 0 0 R-tail. Hawk 8 6 | 7 8 B. Eagle ad. 6 3 | 2 4 " subadults 0 0 | 2 1 " unknown 1 0 | 0 0 Am. Kestrel 0 1 | 4 3 Peregrine F. 2 4 | 0 1 unk. raptor 0 0 | 0 1 RAPTOR SUM 20 14 | 19 18
Peregrines were recorded during 4 days in Nov. at Yaquina Head (BLM).
The morning of 12/5, crows were calling very loudly near CP's home in Toledo. When he investigated, he saw a first-year female Peregrine on the ground in the yard with an American Crow it had caught. The crow was alive and calling, which may have brought in the other crows that were calling and dive-bombing the Peregrine. Some of the crows were coming so close that they may have touched the Peregrine. These attacks of the other crows interrupted the Peregrine's attempts to kill the crow. There were also some gulls circling overhead, but they did not dive-bomb the Peregrine. The crow that was caught grasped the Peregrine around the Peregrine's belly with its feet. This made it more difficult for the Peregrine to peck at the crow. Finally, after about 30 seconds or so, the Peregrine succeeded in killing the crow and when it became silent, the ruckus of the calling of the other crows quieted and they started leaving, so that the Peregrine was eventually left alone. Some kids happened on the scene, and one of them identified the Peregrine--a hopeful sign that young people are interested in birds! The Peregrine remained to eat most of the crow in the yard but was disturbed by an adult person leaving their parked car, so the Peregrine took off, carrying what remained of the crow, though it was barely able to fly away. As it did, it seemed that all the crows in the neighborhood resumed calling and began flying after the Peregrine. They flew out of sight, so CP was not able to tell if any crows dive-bombed the Peregrine as it flew away.
During a lunch hour run on Newport's Agate Beach on 12/8, RW encountered a Peregrine struggling to fly into a strong south wind as it was carrying its catch, an unidentified gull.
On 12/10, PL saw what appeared to be two adult Peregrines with pale coloration near his Newport home. There did not appear to be a size difference, and they looked proportionately like females. They appeared to be hunting together.
Another Peregrine flew over the Yaquina Bay North Jetty on 12/31 (PK).
PP found our only BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS (2) at Boiler Bay on 12/14.
A WHIMBREL was at the YBSJ on 12/18 (DV) and 12/30 (PS & CK), and AF & SN found our only MARBLED GODWIT at Siletz Bay on 12/4.
[Image Not Included: Dawn Villaescusa's Dec. 18 photo of a Whimbrel on one of the rocks at the YBSJ. This rocky intertidal is not a typical habitat for them, but one has been at the YBSJ the past 2 winters. The whole photo is at http://s1014.photobucket.com/albums/af261/villaesc/Birds/]
1-9 RED PHALAROPES were at Boiler Bay during 4 seawatches during 12/1-14 (PP; WH).
On 12/9, PP found our only GLAUCOUS GULL (a juvenile) at Salishan Spit, and on 12/14 at Boiler Bay, PP saw our latest SABINE'S GULL and HEERMANN'S GULL.
A dead, rare HORNED PUFFIN was along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach on Nov. 25, and other dead alcids in November there included 18 COMMON MURRES, 36 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, 7 CASSIN'S AUKLETS, 3 ANCIENT MURRELETS, and 1 PIGEON GUILLEMOT (B&SLo, L&VO).
Live COMMON MURRES were frequent, with a high count of 5,000+ during PP's 12/10 seawatch at Boiler Bay. 1-3 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were found during 4 seawatches at Boiler Bay (PP; WH).
ANCIENT MURRELETS were viewed at Boiler Bay during 12 days in December by many observers. Typically there were fewer than 40, but PP had 341 on 12/14 and WH had 61 on 12/18. MARBLED MURRELETS were not as frequent or numerous with 2-14 noted during 6 Boiler Bay seawatches during 12/1-20 (PP; WH).
Other alcids at Boiler Bay in December included 1-5 CASSIN'S AUKLETS during 7 days (PP;WG & JH; WH; DL; SS), 1-115 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS during 6 days (PP; WH; WG & JH), and 2 TUFTED PUFFINS only on 12/10 (PP).
[Image Not Included: Part of Andy Frank's digiscoped photo of 4 of about 30 Ancient Murrelets that he and Steve Nord found at Boiler Bay on Dec. 4. See whole photos at http://andyfrank.blogspot.com/]
CP recorded EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES in north Newport on 12/1 and 25 in Toledo in late December.
CP relocated the NORTHERN SHRIKE near the electric substation along east Olalla Slough (Toledo) on 12/4, and JSi & MA also found it on 12/19.
ME detected a lingering WESTERN SCRUB-JAY at Three Rocks Road near the Salmon River Estuary on 12/11, and 6 GRAY JAYS remained at BB's Yachats feeder through 12/31.
On 12/19, SaL saw an AMERICAN CROW at Yachats that had "cream colored splotching all over the tertials, none on the primaries, and, basically, none on the wing coverts." Project Feeder Watch notes that "leucism comes in two main varieties -- paleness, an equal reduction of melanin in all feathers; and pied, an absence of melanin in some feathers creating white patches" (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/Albinism_Leucism.htm). So SaL's crow could be described as "pied" or "piebald" (http://birding.about.com/od/identifyingbirds/a/leucism.htm). [The Bald Eagle derived its name from "piebald" because of its white head and tail contrasting with its dark body (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piebald).]
1-2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were in Toledo in late Dec. (CP) and Newport on 12/30 (PS & CK).
On 12/26, JR & HR saw a possible, rare HOODED ORIOLE in northwest Newport. JR described it as "the size of an oriole; prominent black bib, yellow-green head, black beak, yellow belly, and streaked (not barred) wings which are brownish." JR noted that it looked like the photo of a male Hooded Oriole. However, it was not resighted or photographed.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Mark Aron, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Tanya Bray, Birding Site Guide of Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Birds of North America Online (BNA)(http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/), Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Mark Elliott, Darrel Faxon, Andy Frank, Wink Gross, Bird Guide Pelagic Trips out of Newport (http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Wayne Hoffman, Sue, Ray, Brian Hurst; Jack Hurt, Laura Johnson, Penelope Kaczmarek, Carol Karlen, Steve Kupillas, Janet & Karin Lamberson, Pete Lawson, David Leal, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LCBNO/), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Linda & John MacKown, Walt Nelson, Hannahrose Nevins, Steve Nord, m.ob. (multiple observers), Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html), Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide (http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Ron Peterson, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Jerry & Hannah Robbins, Stefan Schlick, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Jamie Simmons (JSi), John Sullivan (JSu), Paul Sullivan, Dawn Villaescusa, Tom Wainwright, Robert Witter, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N)(http://yaquina.info/ybn/), YB&N Field (YBNFT) led by LO.
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