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 here for only some of the many Lincoln County sightings posted to Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birding.aba.org/maillistdigest/OR01), Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO), eBird.org or BirdNotes.net or emailed, telephoned, or mailed to me. If the same date and number of birds of a species given in eBird.org are reported in OBOL, LCBNO, or BirdNotes.net, I will assume the eBird report is a duplicate and will use the other reports that give more details, including location and observer.
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 34 ------------------------------- June-August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013
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, BOONE SLOUGH: freshwater slough at about mile 8.9 along north Yaquina Bay Road, DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL STATE NATURAL AREA (#63): western side of town of Otter Rock, 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 (the "Gull Puddle" area on the YBSJ is about 0.6 mile from Yaquina Bay Bridge), YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (vehicle entrance fee without a recreation pass such as the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport or America the Beautiful Passes honored by federal agencies).
A few nonbreeding BRANT are occasional in summer, but there seems to be more sightings this summer with 6 reports in June (high count=23 flying north past Cape Foulweather on 6/16 [J&KF]), 12 reports in July (high count=11 on ocean beach north of Yaquina Head on 7/17 [PS & CK]), and 5 reports in August (high count=14 flying north over the Yaquina Bay North Jetty on 8/20 [CP]).
The northerly apparent molt migration of north-flying WESTERN CANADA GEESE continued until at least 6/5 (DV; RB; LO). As reported in the May Sandpiper, a Western Canada Goose that apparently had a 244R neckband was photographed at Eckman Lake on 5/21. On 6/1, RL relocated and confirmed the goose as 244R on Alsea Bay adjacent to Eckman Lake. Part of the collar is still intact and shows 244R, but most of the R is gone and half of the second 4 is missing on the collar at the back of the neck and RL notes that he "wouldn't be surprised if it breaks off soon" after being on for 18 years and 28 days! Because of this bird's age, RL submitted a report to the Bird Banding Laboratory (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/).
On 8/9, RP saw BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Alsea Bay; they have been scarce in recent records as this is only our 8th record since 2005 (FN). On 8/14, PL spotted 20 teal sp. flying into Idaho Flats; they were most likely Green-winged Teal.
Another arrival was the first GADWALL on 8/21 at Depoe Slough in Toledo (CP).
At least 1 HARLEQUIN DUCK was at Yaquina Head on 6/5 and Yachats on 6/20 (BLM; BCr), and there were 5 reports of them in July at Devil's Punchbowl, Yaquina Head, Yaquina Bay, and Yachats (eBird), with a high count of 9 at Devil's Punch Bowl on 7/6 (KH fide AC). They were also often viewed in August.
As usual, nonbreeding SURF SCOTERS (high count=270 at Seal Rocks on 7/20 [DHo]), WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS (high count=425 at Yachats on 7/6 [A&CHi]), and BLACK SCOTERS (high count=26 at Seal Rocks on 7/26 [DHo]) were present this summer (m.ob.).
The latest RED-BREASTED MERGANSER this spring lingered until 6/13 at YBSJ (DHo).
A few nonbreeding RED-THROATED LOONS, PACIFIC LOONS, and COMMON LOONS typically oversummer, and we had records of each during June and July (m.ob.).
WESTERN GREBES also oversummer, but we had a surprising number of reports of CLARK'S GREBES. 1-2 Clark's were at Yachats on 7/6 (A&CHi), Yaquina Head on 7/27 & 29 (NB; RL), and Yaquina Bay on 7/30 (TC).
1 rare MANX SHEARWATER was seen from shore at Yachats on 7/5 (A&CHi). Other tubenoses included BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, NORTHERN FULMARS, and PINK-FOOTED and SOOTY SHEARWATERS during the 7/16, 7/27, & 8/2 Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT) (GG & others) and 8/15 tuna fishing trip (BD). LAYSAN ALBATROSSES and FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS were discovered during the 7/27 & 8/2 BGPT, and Fork-tails were also present during the 7/16 BGPT (GG & others) and 8/15 tuna trip (BD). LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS were noted only during the 8/2 BGPT (GG & others), and a BULLER'S SHEARWATER was only noted during the 8/15 tuna trip (BD).
[Image Not Included: Adult Pied-billed Grebe with 1 of 3 downy chicks near a nesting platform at Eckman Lake on July 11. The chicks were brooded on the nesting platform that morning. Photo by Roy Lowe.]
The afternoon of June 4, RC was bicycling near Alsea Bay when she heard some mystery animals insistently calling. At first she thought they might be frogs or toads, and she telephoned RB who found and played some frog and Western Toad calls from the Internet to RC over the phone that did not match. Later, RC diligently searched and found Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library of wildlife sounds (http://macaulaylibrary.org/) where one can search for sounds by species. In searching, she came across Great Blue Heron calls (http://macaulaylibrary.org/search?location_id=&location_type_id=&location=&recordist=&recordist_id=&catalogs=&behavior=&behavior_id=&tab=audio-list&taxon_id=11993576&taxon_rank_id=67&taxon=great+blue+heron). She persistently sorted through the heron calls and matched some of the calls that she heard to those of nestling Great Blue Herons recorded by RB at a Yaquina Bay colony on 9 July 1978 (#47: http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/31439) that also included the call of an adult giving a "Landing Call" as it flew in and landed at its nest in the middle of the recording! RB recorded the calls on a cassette tape recorder and sent them to Cornell years before the Internet and thought they would only be available by tape to very few people. He never imagined that they would be widely available, and someone would be able to actually match calls on one of the tapes with what they heard almost 35 years later! Unfortunately, the recordings are organized and indexed by date and location, not by call type or description and are not cross-referenced to the paper in which RB described and named them (http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1521080?uid=3739856&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102587977287), but at least they are available!
Part of the mystery calls RC heard were also adult DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS that had calls she aptly described as pig-like. They were nesting adjacent to the herons.
In any case, RC discovered a heron nesting colony that was not previously known, and CP and BO & RB also visited it. Unfortunately, the heron and cormorant colony is vulnerable to human disturbance, so it is not appropriate to publicize its location, though it has been reported to the ODFW and USFWS. A few scattered GREAT EGRETS were present in June with a high count of 7 along Yaquina Bay Road to Toledo on 6/18 (MK), but there was no indication of nesting. RB saw 1 that was the first of the year at Yaquina Bay embayment areas on 7/14 with an increase to 11 on 7/27, and TW saw a spike in numbers to 40 at Idaho Flats on 7/29. This July increase is typical, but where they come from is unknown.
MK espied our only WHITE-TAILED KITE on 6/18 along Yaquina Bay Road to Toledo.
NORTHERN HARRIERS probably nest here in some years, though this is not clear. Often we have no records of them in June, but JSh found one at the Toledo Boat Ramp on 6/14. They usually become apparent in mid-July, and this year, DV first saw 2 east of Devil's Lake on 7/18, and there were also later reports at Beaver Creek on 7/22 and the HMSC on 7/30 (JSc; TC).
Single RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS seen near Lincoln City on 6/8 (RL) and in South Beach on 6/25 (CP) appear to be our first ever June records. None were reported in July (last year was our first July record), so our string of records each month this year is broken. JB found one at Yaquina Head on 8/1, and there were 3 later reports at the HMSC or north Beaver Creek (CP; JB & NN; JSc). Maybe next year we will have records each month of the year for the first time!
Our only AMERICAN KESTREL was in the Idaho Flats area on 7/30 (TC), and an unseasonal, well-described adult MERLIN was near Waldport on 7/5 (DT).
The first of 2 PEREGRINE FALCON chicks at Yaquina Head hatched on about 6/12 (MM), and the 2 chicks fledged during 7/18-20 (DC; RL; MM). Last year when Peregrines first nested there, the first chick hatched earlier on about 5/16-19 (MM), and 4 chicks fledged during 6/26-30 (DG; WH).
JSc found our first SORA of the year at Beaver Creek State Natural Area on 7/13. They may be common here, but they are secretive and concealed in the marshes. There were 8 reports of the more common VIRGINIA RAILS during July and August (eBird).
"Fall" arriving shorebirds included WESTERN SANDPIPERS on 6/29 at Sally's Bend (RB), GREATER YELLOWLEGS on 6/30 at Boone Slough (Yaquina Bay) (DHo), LEAST SANDPIPERS and SANDERLINGS on 7/15 at the Log Pond near Oregon Coast Aquarium (PL; PS & CK), BLACK TURNSTONES on 7/16 at Yaquina Bay (GG & others), SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS on 7/20 at the HMSC (D&AHe; HS), and MARBLED GODWITS (3) on 8/10 at the HMSC (DI & SF).
An uncommon LONG-BILLED CURLEW called at the HMSC on 8/11 (DI & SF).
Nonbreeding WHIMBRELS customarily oversummer, but this year we only had 1 June record on 6/1 at Yaquina Bay (WW). RB suspects they were present but not observed and reported because they are considered a common species. In July, there were 10 records, with the 15 Whimbrels CC found at Seal Rocks on 7/13 suggesting an influx of fall migrants.
SABINE'S GULLS were distinguished during the 7/27 & 8/2 Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT) (GG & others) and 8/15 tuna fishing trip (BD). BONAPARTE'S GULLS occasionally show in summer, and 1-2 were at Yaquina Bay on 8/10-11 & 13 (DI & SF. BoL & AL; JB & NN).
BoL found an uncommon adult FRANKLIN'S GULL at the HMSC, and it was relocated near the HMSC on 8/11 (DI & SF) and at the YBSJ on 8/16 (DHo).
RL discovered the first HEERMANN'S GULLS (8) of the year at Depoe Bay on 6/23.
On 7/17, MP identified a single MEW GULL mixed in with the California and Ring-billed Gulls at Idaho Flats, and perhaps the same one was also found there on 8/11 & 15 (DI & SF; WW). On 8/21, AC & TH found a Mew at Siletz Bay. Straggler Mew Gulls were present during July and/or August in 17 of 19 years during 1974-1992 (SemiL), so summer records this year do not appear unusual.
Some CASPIAN TERNS oversummer as nonbreeders, and we had 11 records in June (m.ob.). Their numbers were low, since WH counted 15 in 2 hours on 6/21, 25 in 7 hours on 6/22, and 8 in 6 hours on 6/23 at Yaquina Head. We also had 18 records in July with a peak count of 16 Caspian's on 7/6 at the HMSC (A&CHi).
ARCTIC TERNS were noted during the 7/16 & 8/2 BGPT (GG & others) and the 8/15 tuna fishing trip (BD).
On 8/10 at the YBSJ, 34 ELEGANT TERNS included adult/juvenile pairs, and adults fed begging young (DI & SF, BoL & AL); for discussion, see http://www.birdfellow.com/members/dave_irons/field_reports/822-newport-oregon-10-11-august-2013 As many as 40 Elegant Terns continued at the YBSJ or at or near Idaho Flats (m.ob.) through the end of this report on 8/25 (DHo).
[Image Not Included: Adult Elegant Tern flying in to feed one begging young waiting on rock with another juvenile at the YBSJ on August 11. Photo by Dawn Villaescusa from http://i1014.photobucket.com/albums/af261/villaesc/Birds/IMG_3452x_1_zps7bd01cfa.jpg]
There were POMARINE JAEGERS during the 8/2 BGPT (GG & others), PARASITIC JAEGERS at Lincoln City on 7/25 (GD), the 8/2 BGPT (GG & others), and 8/15 tuna trip (BD); and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS during the 7/27 & 8/2 BGPT (GG & others) and 8/15 tuna trip (BD).
Seabird researchers (RS, StL, CHo, AO, AG, JP) monitored COMMON MURRE nesting success at Yaquina Head (http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2013/aug/bald-eagles-increasing-impact-murre-colony-yaquina-head). In contrast to previous years, sub-adult Bald Eagles rather than adult eagles caused most of disturbances that resulted in murres leaving their eggs or chicks undefended. After a disturbance, Western Gulls swooped in and preyed on eggs and chicks with 111 murre eggs taken as reported as of 6/6. Murre eggs began hatching the first week of July, with eagle disturbance remaining high, and groups of up to 6 eagles lingered on the murre nesting rocks for extended periods of time. Ongoing disturbances caused by adult and sub-adult eagles cleared murres from most of Flat Top Rock at the beginning of July. The week of July 29th marked peak fledging of murre chicks at the Colony Rock nesting area. After chicks began fledging, only a few chick carcasses were found on beaches until July 29th, when 146 fledglings were counted during a carcass survey at Nye Beach.
The first dead murre chick along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach was tallied on 7/14 (B&SLo, L&VO). On this beach, numbers of adult murres in June and July were low with a total of only 5 (B&SLo, L&VO).
On 8/9, ME observed 3 Brown Pelicans land on the murre colony, and the adult murres scattered and left chicks undefended. One pelican scooped up and swallowed at least 2 murre chicks.
On 6/16, RC spotted 7 MARBLED MURRELETS in the ocean just north of Ona Beach, and there were 12 other reports during June-August. A&CHi had the high counts on the water or flying by at Yachats during the mornings of 7/5 (50) and 7/6 (81 adults).
3 rare SCRIPPS'S MURRELETS were detected during the 8/2 BGPT out of Newport (GG & others), a rare KITTLITZ'S MURRELET flew south with a Common Murre at Boiler Bay on 7/10 (DF), and 2 live rare PARAKEET AUKLETS were well observed about 300 ft offshore, south of Boiler Bay on 7/9 (J&BC, P&PN). Most records of Parakeet Auklets are of dead ones washed ashore (FN).
TUFTED PUFFINS seemed to be more visible this summer, though observers could not take for granted that they would find them. 3 were at Yaquina Head during RP's YBNFT on 6/22, and there were only 4 other reports in late June. In July, there were 11 reports (m.ob.) with a high count of 6 at Boiler Bay on 7/20 (D&AHe), and there were also reports of 1-4 during 8/4-19 (m.ob.).
There were 5 BARRED OWL records during June-August: 2 reports each at Hudson Loop between Toledo and Siletz (JL) and at Beaver Creek State Natural Area (JSc) and 1 report at Tidewater, east of Waldport (AK).
COMMON NIGHTHAWKS are the latest migrants to arrive, and CA had our first-of-season nighthawk at Moonshine Park near Logsden on 6/3.
DR found a rare CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD at Depoe Bay on 8/16. This is only our 4th since 1992 (FN) and first since 2009, when a male visited Toledo on 7/12 (CP).
On 6/7, CP discovered a BLACK PHOEBE singing outside and another sitting on the same nest inside of an outbuilding near Oregon Coast Bank (305 NW 1st St) in Toledo that had fledged 2 young on 5/21 or 22. One was apparently incubating on 6/12 at this nest with young being fed on 6/19 (CP). On 6/26, human activity increased in and around the building with a barbeque and several people there on 6/29, but the adults did not abandon the nest (CP), perhaps because it was late enough in the phoebe's nesting cycle that they could endure more disturbance. At least one young fledged on 7/9, and adults were feeding at least one young during 7/14-16 (CP, PS & CK).
We had no Black Phoebe records thereafter through 8/25, so it appears that we will not have any August records, and our string of records each month starting last October will cease. Prior to last October, they were rare, with a total of only 2 records for all years prior to 1993 (SemiL). Since mid-March this year, all our records were at or near where they were nesting in Toledo, so they are still not widely distributed or common during the nesting season. This is the first year of confirmed nesting, but last year an apparent Black Phoebe nest was discovered under a bridge at Beaver Creek after the nesting season in August 2012.
Our streak of WESTERN SCRUB-JAY sightings each month this year barely continues! CP found one near 216 SW 11th in Newport on 6/5 for our only June record. In July, we had several records near SW 11th and at San Bay-O Circle in northeast Newport and one sighting in Lincoln City (CP; AB). Additionally, B& RF saw 2 fledglings with adults near Newport High School (322 NE Eads St.) on 6/15 where the adults had been lingering (fide DG). In August, there were 4 reports in Newport and 1 in Lincoln City (CP; SS; AB). PR saw 2 juveniles (which were hatched this year) together at NE 6th and Benton in Newport on 8/6, and DHo had a juvenile in Newport on 8/8. Our previous record indicating nesting occurred in June 2011, when 5 juveniles appeared at RC & WN's Wandemere home north of Ona Beach State Park. This year is on track to be the first year with records each month of the year, but they appear to be locally common only in residential areas of Newport.
[Image Not Included: Very enlarged view of the head of a molting male Anna's Hummingbird showing part of its yellowish-or coppery orange crown in Newport on Aug. 6. Photo by Paul Reed. Paul first saw it on July 28. We expect adult male Anna's to have bright red crowns and throats. Discussion and a photo of a molting adult male Anna's elsewhere shows a dull coppery orange crown and throat feathers and bright red ones replacing them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tzunun/6043411826/ ]
On 6/12, CP saw what appeared to be a BROWN THRASHER along the road going to the LNG tank from North Yaquina Bay Road. It was not relocated. We have 3 previous possible records, but none have been confirmed by photograph or multiple observers.
On 6/22, DHa reported an adult male PHAINOPEPLA along the Siletz River between Siletz and Logsden in an alder on the east side of the river near the end of Hamer Road. He wrote that the "combination of the call, then an immediate sighting of a black crested bird with a red eye confirmed what the sighting was for me" and he is familiar with Phainopeplas from his experience in California. We have only 4 unconfirmed records prior to 1992 (FN; SemiL).
A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT heard once southeast of Logsden on 6/27 (BW & DR) is only our 8th record (FN; SemiL). One was also found last year in Toledo during 6/17-27 (FN).
Single LAZULI BUNTINGS were at CP's Toledo home on 5/28, Yaquina Bay Road on 6/1 (WW), the 13th hole of Chinook Winds Golf Course (Lincoln City) on 6/10 (JD), and at Toledo on 8/22 (RP & DG).
RL had a male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at his feeder near Waldport on 6/19 & 20. On 8/2, JL spotted an adult male Rose-breasted at her feeder at Hudson Loop that had apparently nested and was feeding a begging juvenile that had some characteristics of a Rose-breasted but may have been a hybrid (see photo). Hybrid Rose-breasted X Black-headed Grosbeaks occur in at least the Great Plains (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/rose-breasted_grosbeak/lifehistory). Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are still uncommon to rare here, but they have become more regular in May-July in recent years. However, this is the first indication of their nesting.
[Image Not Included: Adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak feeding a begging juvenile grosbeak. The juvenile has at least some characteristics of a Rose-breasted, but it may be a hybrid Rose-breasted X Black-headed Grosbeak. Photo by Janet Lamberson at her Hudson Loop feeder between Toledo and Siletz. Janet writes: "The fledgling Black-headed Grosbeaks around here have a bright yellow patch along the wing where the one observed with the Rose-breasted has a pinkish patch [shown in photo], and the whitish throat of this fledgling seems to be differentiated from the buffy breast by a horizontal line of slightly darker marks, not smoothly blended as in the Black-headed juveniles." JL also noted that this juvenile had "fine streaking on the flanks."]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Christopher Adlam, Range Bayer, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Joe Blowers, Nikos Boutis, Arthur Brouwer, Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), BirdNotes.net, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Don Campbell, Jim & Becky Carlson, Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, Tom Crabtree, Bryan Crawford (BCr), Clay Crofton, Gordon Dimmig, Jack Doyle, Bruce Dugger, eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Mark Elliott, Jim & Karan Fairchild, Darrel & Laura Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Brian & Renee Fowler, Greg Gillson, Amanda Gladics, Dawn Grafe, David Harris (DHa), Dan & Anne Heyerly (D&AHe), Adrian & Christopher Hinkle (A&CHi), Wayne Hoffman, Deb Holland (DHo), Cheryl Horton (CHo), Katrina Hucks, Tristen Hynes, David Irons, Carol Karlen, Mary Krentz, Andria Kroner, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Bob Lockett (BoL) & Adrienne Lockett, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Stephanie Loredo (StL), Roy Lowe, Michael Mefford, m.ob. (multiple observers), Nels Nelson, Pam & Pete Neumann, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Amelia O'Connor, Bob Olson, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Ram Papish, Mike Patterson, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Jessica Porquez, Paul Reed, Douglas Robinson, Harv Schubothe, Jim Scott (JSc), SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Jackie Shipley (JSh), Stacy Strickland, Paul Sullivan, Rob Suryan, Dawne Trent, Dawn Villaescusa, Brandon Wagner, Tom Wainwright, Will Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) Field Trip (YBNFT) led by RP.
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 (SNA) (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_261.php), BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, CUTLER CITY WETLANDS TRAIL: Cutler City is part of Lincoln City between north and south Siletz Bay and to go to the Trail, turn off HWY 101 onto SW 63rd and proceed 1/4 mile to a small pull-off on the right; 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, NWR: National Wildlife Refuge, NELSCOTT: part of Lincoln City between Taft and DeLake, OLALLA SLOUGH: slough on E side 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, PIXIELAND: former amusement park near Otis along Salmon River being restored to a natural site (http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1773), SALLY'S BEND (#66): large Yaquina Bay embayment east of the LNG tank, SALMON RIVER ESTUARY (#44 and 45): estuary at north end of Lincoln Co.; the mouth is in Tillamook Co., SP: State Park, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty (the "Gull Puddle" area on the YBSJ is about 0.6 mile from Yaquina Bay Bridge), YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (vehicle entrance fee without a recreation pass such as the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport or America the Beautiful Passes honored by federal agencies).
We had a gorgeous day for the Lincoln County NAMC Saturday. 10 teams and 26 volunteers, including 8 members of the YBNFT field trip led by LO and the Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT). A&CH were on the BGPT and provided their counts as well as doing some counts around Yaquina Bay/Head. Results also included four "backyard" counts (I can't really call them feeder counts) -- here's a breakdown of the four very interesting backyards: Devil's Lake, Olalla Slough, Pacific Ocean, and Salmon River.
We tallied 129 species and 14,565 birds for the day.
Observations - large numbers of BROWN PELICANS are massing in bays and nearshore rocks, and AMERICAN ROBINS appear to be making a significant movement. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE are moving through and various waterfowl are starting to trickle in. SCOTERS are arriving while COMMON MURRES have mostly moved out. FOX SPARROWS arrived just in time for the count, but FLYCATCHERS and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS, as well as most of the SWALLOWS, are gone.
Other highlights: Black Phoebe (3), Flesh-footed Shearwater (Pelagic), Harlequin Ducks, Hermit Warbler, Lapland Longspur, Rock Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler (3 observed by one party, 7 by another), Western Scrub-Jay.
We had no one owling, but both a BARN OWL and a BARRED OWL were observed or heard in yards. A spreadsheet with our results is at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqzamsBeRhsPdDg0emVZX254dkJMMjJieWs3M0Z4Q0E#gid=0
Low numbers of WESTERN CANADA GEESE are seasonally present at Yaquina Bay. But CP had 225 at the east side of Sally's Bend on 8/28, and RB tallied a total of 208 at Yaquina Bay embayments on 9/20.
DF found BLUE-WINGED TEAL at the Lincoln City Sewage Ponds on 9/18, and this record is only our 9th since 2005 (FN).
Tis the season for fall migrants and first reports of waterfowl included NORTHERN PINTAIL on 8/30 at Ona Beach SP (JSc), NORTHERN SHOVELER on 9/1 at Eckman Lake (DV), AMERICAN WIGEON on 9/7 at the HMSC (MW), GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE on 9/20 at Newport (A&CH; RB), and CACKLING GEESE on 9/21 at the HMSC (A&CH).
HARLEQUIN DUCKS were often noted at several coastal locations.
More fall arrivals were HORNED GREBE and RED-NECKED GREBE at Nelscott on 9/4 (KC & DV). One EARED GREBE at Yaquina Bay on 9/11 (OH, HH, THa) is about a month early and probably an anomaly rather than the vanguard of migration.
In August, a LAYSAN ALBATROSS, 4 SOOTY SHEARWATERS, and 1 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER were found beached along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO).
Live tubenoses include BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, NORTHERN FULMAR, and PINK-FOOTED, BULLER'S, and SOOTY SHEARWATERS during the 9/7&21 BGPT and 1 FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER during the 9/21 BGPT.
Last year (2012), thousands of SOOTY SHEARWATERS arrived, including about 5,000-5,700 in the HMSC-Sally's Bend area on 9/18-19 (FN). It is unusual to see Sooties inside of Yaquina Bay, especially east of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, so last summer was a rarity. But would it set a pattern that would repeat? This year high numbers also appeared along the coastline, but none were reported inside Yaquina Bay. On 9/11, high numbers were noted at Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Seal Rock (OH, HH, THa); the same day 1,000-2,000 were also near Bayshore Beach and the north spit of Alsea Bay, with some landing on the water and diving (J&BO). The morning of 9/12, PP saw an average of 400+/min that were mostly 2+ miles off Lincoln City, and on 9/17 he estimated 4,000+ during a 45 minute Boiler Bay seawatch.
[Image Not Included: The first rock finger west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge was covered with Brown Pelicans on Sept. 4, with several hundred here and near the Bridge. The brown blades and floats of bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) create a kelp belt to the left. Photo by Roy Lowe.]
GREEN HERONS appeared to be scarcer this summer than usual. RL did not see one this year at Eckman Lake until 8/28, and PL saw his first this year between the HMSC and Oregon Coast Aquarium on 9/4. In past years, RL & PL regularly saw them at those locations. 1-2 were also noted during 9/4-14 (eBird) and during the 9/21 LNAMC (DV).
On 9/23 near Seal Rocks, a juvenile COOPER'S HAWK perched above PW's seed feeder for 10 minutes with juvenile ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS flying around it. Perhaps these juveniles haven't learned about each other yet or are Cooper's even a threat to catch the more agile hummingbirds?
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS continued their fall influx with 3 more records for August and 11 records for Sept. (m.ob.). They were widely distributed (e.g., HMSC, Toledo, Beaver Creek, and east of Waldport). DF saw 2 at Thornton Creek on 9/11, which is the first time he has found more than one there.
Falcon reports include a MERLIN at Siletz Bay NWR on 8/27 (AL). PEREGRINE FALCONS were recorded daily in August at Yaquina Head (BLM) and were often reported in Sept (m.ob.). Although non-banded Peregrines nest at Yaquina Head, not all Peregrines there are resident. On 8/21, DC photographed an adult with a leg band that was identified as having been banded at the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington in 2009 (fide RL).
[Image Not Included: An adult male RED-SHOULDERED HAWK eying prey as it drops down from its perch atop a swallow nest box along the HMSC Nature Trail on 9/24. Photo by Roy Lowe.]
Fall arrivals include WILSON'S SNIPE at Beaver Creek SNA on 8/26 (DP), a RUDDY TURNSTONE still in partial breeding plumage (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffharding/9664830636/) at Lost Creek SP south of South Beach and Ona Beach SP on 9/2 (JH), and PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Newport on 9/7 (WH).
1-2 MARBLED GODWITS were near the HMSC or YBSJ during 9/7-22 (m.ob.), and a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was at Ona Beach SP on 8/31 & 9/2 (JSc; JH).
Both the 9/7 & 21 BGPT found RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, RED PHALAROPES, PARASITIC JAEGERS, LONG-TAILED JAEGERS, and SABINE'S GULLS. The 9/21 BGPT additionally recorded a SOUTH POLAR SKUA and 7 POMARINE JAEGERS.
From shore, single PARASITIC JAEGERS were noted at Lost Creek SP on 9/1 and 9/17 at Boiler Bay (OH, HH, AC, THy; PP).
The influx of ELEGANT TERNS that began on 8/10 continued with 2 additional August reports (WH; SaL) and 5 September reports (m.ob.). The high count was 16 at the mouth of Alsea Bay on 9/1 (OH, HH, AC, THy).
2-11 COMMON TERNS were at the HMSC on 9/1 & 20-21 (OH, HH, AC, THy; A&CH) and the YBSJ on 9/22 (DHo).
From a whale watching boat on 8/31, WH estimated 25+ MARBLED MURRELETS 3-5 miles south of Yaquina Bay, and there were 4 reports in Sept., with a high count of 24 during the 9/21 BGPT.
Relatively few COMMON MURRES (20 adults and 12 chicks) were found beached along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach during August (B&SLo, L&VO). 1-2 TUFTED PUFFINS flew by Nelscott and Lost Creek SP during 9/1-2 (DV; JH).
Spring and fall migrating Vaux's Swifts are very conspicuous when they circle en masse above and then fly down chimneys. This has been widely reported in the Willamette Valley, but it also occurs here. A few swifts have been noted as flying down chimneys in Toledo and Newport in the past, but this may be the year with the highest numbers. This fall, EH & CP watched 40 fly down a chimney of a house near the NAPA Store in Toledo (767 U.S. 20 Business HWY) at about 7:58 PM on 9/7. 50-60 swifts were noted going down the chimney the nights of 9/8-9 (EH, CP, DHa, RP, BS). On 9/13, 180 started entering at 7:26 PM (K&DR, CP). On 9/14, EH counted 160, with most going in at 7:15 PM, although some stayed out until 7:35, and EH wrote: "They had a nice circling pattern, and the home owner knows about it and is not concerned or bothered by it." EH checked on 9/21 and did not see any.
On 9/7, EH reported the swifts going down this chimney to the Driftwood Wildlife Association for Vaux's Swift at http://www.vauxhappening.org/Contact_Us.html They have a very informative web site (http://www.vauxhappening.org/Vauxs_Happening_Home.html) that includes a "Data" link with records of Vaux's Swifts going down chimneys in Oregon. Their Spring 2013 data indicates that the first were recorded going down chimneys in Oregon on about April 20, though they were most abundant in May (http://www.vauxhappening.org/OR_North_2013.html). For Fall migration in 2012, they were seen during late August until as late as Oct. 7 at some Oregon sites (http://www.vauxhappening.org/OR_South_2012.html).
Our last Vaux's Swift report was on 9/19 at Cutler City Wetlands (DV).
A BARN OWL was near Siletz in mid-Sept. (PK) and at Olalla Slough (DHa & RP) during the 9/21 LNAMC (DV). A BARRED OWL was at the Beaver Creek SNA on 9/9 (JSc) and north Beaver Creek (LO) during the 9/21 LNAMC (DV).
Our last RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD report was at Sally's Bend on 9/7 (DP).
A total of 3 BLACK PHOEBES were recorded at Olalla Slough and Hidden Valley between Newport and Toledo (DHa; CP) during the 9/21 LNAMC (DV).
WH had a brief look at a KINGBIRD that could not be identified to species at the HMSC on 9/15. It is very late for Western Kingbirds, but Tropical Kingbirds have sometimes arrived in Sept. in the past, though they are more common in Oct.-Nov. (SemiL; FN).
Crows with white in its wings were seen between Newport and Yaquina Head in late August (WH) and at Nelscott on 9/1 (DV).
2 GRAY JAYS returned to BB's feeders in Yachats on 9/12, and another 2 were along Horse Creek Trail east of South Beaver Creek on 9/19 (DP).
We had 7 WESTERN SCRUB-JAY records in Sept. in Newport (m.ob.) and east of Sally's Bend (L&JM). In the SW 9th and Lee Street area of Newport, RC saw a gray-headed juvenile on 8/31, and DA had 4 during several days in mid-Sept. Their sightings suggest a family group and nesting in that area. As noted last month, there were 2 other areas in NE Newport where they appeared to have been nested this year.
[Image Not Included: American Crow with white at the base of its primaries and secondaries flying near a power pole at Nelscott on 9/1. Photo by Dawn Villaescusa. Cropped from and see "Next" at http://s1014.photobucket.com/user/villaesc/media/Birds/IMG_5903_1_zps7d1851a0.jpg.html ]
During late summer and early fall, there can sometimes be a profusion of inland migrants! Around 5 PM on 8/26, DHa returned home and their yard near Olalla Slough "was literally buzzing with migrants." DHa writes "Here's a list: (you will notice a + sign for some of the species...there were either so many I couldn't keep count or they were moving so quickly that counting was difficult): 200+ Cedar Waxwings, 50+ American Robins, 3 Black-throated Gray Warblers, 10+ Western Tanagers, 10+ Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling Vireo, Lazuli Bunting, Brown Creeper, 10+ Wilson's Warblers, 5+ Townsend's Warblers, 5+ Rufous Hummingbirds, White-crowned Sparrow, 20+ American Goldfinches, House Finch ..."
Sometimes the fall migrants get lucky with an unexpected, ephemeral food source such as an aerial mating swarm of insects. Then, birds not normally thought of as flycatchers become flycatchers by "hawking" insects (sallying out from a perch to snatch an insect and then returning to the same or a different perch).
On 8/28 in the Siletz area, SH wrote: "Just thought I'd report the large numbers of birds that benefited this morning from a massive hatching of some kind of large, slow-flying, fluttery insect (we suspect large ants). The morning began with a large flock of mostly-pale robins taking advantage of the damp lawn to drill for worms. At about 10:00, 15-25 Western Tanagers and an equal number of Black-headed Grosbeaks started hawking from any elevated perch - trees, house, fences, feeders, cars. A small flock of about 10 Cedar Waxwings joined the fray as well as the local (I assume) Warbling Vireo and Black-throated Gray Warbler. Birds were everywhere. After about 45 minutes, the frenzy died down. Either the food supply was diminished, or every appetite was satiated. Then, for about an hour, the trees around our house were filled with chirps, song snippets, squeaks, and squawks. Jays, chickadees, nuthatches, starlings, Pine Siskins, goldfinches, Evening Grosbeaks, and doves all showed up to add their voices to the cacophony."
Departing swallows included NO. ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW on 8/26 at Beaver Creek SNA (JSc), CLIFF SWALLOW on 8/28 in Newport (MB), and PURPLE MARTIN on 9/9 in South Beach (EH). In mid-Sep. there can be large flocks of migrating VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, and LO saw hundreds at Beaver Creek on 9/20 and 150 (mostly juveniles) the next day on powerlines! On 8/31, 2 BARN SWALLOW nests were still active at Beaver Creek SNA (DHo), and the same day 8 were bringing food to young in nests under the Salmon River HWY 101 Bridge (DV). In the past, a few nests would still be active into early Sept. The latest Barn Swallows remained during the 9/21 LNAMC (DV).
Other departing species were LAZULI BUNTING on 8/26 near Toledo (DHa & RP), YELLOW WARBLER on 9/7 at Sally's Bend (DP), BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK on 9/17 at Pixieland (DV), and HERMIT WARBLER, WILSON'S WARBLER, and WESTERN TANAGER during 9/21 LNAMC (DV).
But tis also the season of arrivals--some only briefly, others to become winter residents. Arrivals were LINCOLN'S SPARROW on 9/3 at the HMSC (RQ), AMERICAN PIPIT on 9/8 at the YBSJ (TS), FOX SPARROW on 9/17 at Pixieland (DV), and 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS at the YBSJ (A&CH) during the 9/21 LNAMC (DV). Pipits can be elusive during fall migration, but 5-29 were noted with 8 reports through the 9/21 LNAMC (DV) at the YBSJ (KC & JO; A&CH) and LNG fence area (DHo; RB).
A female or immature male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was at a feeder near the Siletz Bay NWR on 9/23 (J&DSh). This is only the second report since May 2011 (FN).
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: David Adamson, Betty Bahn, Mark Baldwin, Range Bayer, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), http://BirdNotes.net, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Don Campbell, Ken Chamberlain, Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, http://eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Darrel Faxon fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Tyler Hallman (THa), Jeff Harding, Oscar Harper, Dawn Harris (formerly Grafe) (DHa), Hendrik Herlyn, Adrian & Christopher Hinkle, Wayne Hoffman, Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Signe Hurd, Tristen Hynes (THy), Penelope Kaczmarek, Pete Lawson, Ardis Letey, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Lincoln Co. North American Migration Count (LNAMC) coordinated by DV, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, 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), Jill & Bori Olla, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Jeff Osmundson, Dani Padilla, Ram Papish, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Robert Qually, Katherine & Dennis Roberts, Jim Scott (JSc), SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Julie & Dave Shafer (J&DSh), Tim Shelmerdine, Bob Smith, Dawn Villaescusa, Mike Wheeler, Pat Wood, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) 9/21 Field Trip (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 (SNA) (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_261.php), BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, GRASS MOUNTAIN (E of Tidewater and NW of Alsea; most [including the top] in Benton Co., but part of north in Lincoln Co.; http://goo.gl/maps/2RQjB and http://www.summitpost.org/grass-mountain/225586), "GULL PUDDLE": often wet area near west edge of large parking area along the YBSJ about 0.6 mile west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge where gulls often linger, 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, PIXIELAND: former amusement park near Otis along Salmon River being restored to a natural site (http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1773), ROAD'S END STATE RECREATION SITE (#46): north of Lincoln City, SALLY'S BEND (#66): large Yaquina Bay embayment east of the LNG tank, SALMON RIVER ESTUARY (#44 and 45): estuary at north end of Lincoln Co.; the mouth is in Tillamook Co., SP: State Park, YBNJ: Yaquina Bay North Jetty, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport.
GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE migration continued with the vast majority passing overhead. However, a few dropped out, mostly juveniles landing and lingering at various sites in late September and early October. The grounded white-fronts seemed "tame" to the point of some observers wondering if they were domestic geese.
Starting on about 9/24, the "Gull Puddle" along the YBSJ was the most observed site for them with 7 juveniles and 1 adult consistently there until the morning of 10/7, when WHo noted: "This morning at 8 AM I saw them take off together in rapid flight - I assumed an eagle was approaching, but I could not see one, and the nearby gulls did not fly. Then I looked up and saw a flock of 120 or so geese overhead, going south. I could not be sure of the ID, but they seemed to be either White-fronts or Cackling Geese. Meanwhile the 8 local birds were flying south in the same direction and climbing, as if they were going to try and join them." The white-fronts were absent from the Gull Puddle area at mid-day that day but at 4:40 PM, WHo found 7 white-fronteds and 1 CACKLING GOOSE there. It is unknown if these are the same or coincidentally the same number of white-fronts as before. From then through 10/19, up to 8 juvenile white-fronteds and 2 TAVERNER'S CACKLING GEESE and 1-2 ALEUTIAN CACKLING GEESE were often reported in the Gull Puddle area (WHo; RL; m.ob.).
These geese fascinated and were appreciated by many. For example, DI wrote on 10/7: "Over the past two weekends I enjoyed studying and photographing these Greater White-fronted Geese at close range. As WHo indicates, they have been fixtures around the 'gull puddle' and extremely approachable as long as you remain in your vehicle. Many cars (presumably filled with non-birders) have slowed or stopped to look at them or waited as they sauntered across the road." DI also has photos and discussion of these and other Lincoln Co. birds in late Sept. at http://www.birdfellow.com/members/dave_irons/field_reports/837-lincoln-county-coast-late-september-storm-2013
3 juvenile white-fronts landed and lingered at Tidewater about 8 miles east of Waldport during 10/1-2 (JPa) for an uncommon inland record on the ground, though many white-fronts fly across the Alsea drainage of the Coast Range during migration (Spring and fall migration of geese across the Coast Range of Lincoln Co., Oregon; by R. D. Bayer, R. W. Lowe, and D. Faxon. 1995. Oregon Birds 21:10-12 at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/oregon-birds-1995-goose-migration.pdf).
Other sites with white-fronts on the ground include 1 juvenile at Roads End SP on 10/3-4 (PSo; ME), and less than a dozen mostly white-fronts and 2 CANADA GEESE on the lawn in front of the HMSC Visitor Center on 10/3-4 (MB). On 10/9, PR heard and saw 2 juvenile white-fronts fly in and land in the field by Sam Case School in NE Newport; he walked within 40-50 ft of them, and they acted unconcerned.
While the previous reports were areas where migration dropouts lingered, there were also reports of white-fronts from areas where some overwinter. On 9/30, WHo counted 18 at Bayview (north of Alsea Bay), and on 10/5, LO counted 25 in the Beaver Creek valley.
ALEUTIAN CACKLING GEESE continued passing through at least 10/27 at Boiler Bay (PP).
On 10/6, DI, SF, & KG spotted a lone, uncommon SNOW GOOSE flying west out of Yaquina Bay towards the ocean.
During a 10/27 Boiler Bay seawatch, PP saw 7 passing CINNAMON or BLUE-WINGED TEAL.
Waterfowl arrivals include EURASIAN WIGEON on 10/2 at Idaho Flats (WHe) and a LONG-TAILED DUCK on 10/15 flying by Depoe Bay (JG).
A rare KING EIDER flew south past Depoe Bay on 10/16 (JG) and 10/19 during the ECAS field trip (JM & others).
A CALIFORNIA QUAIL east of Seal Rocks on 10/4 at South Beach is our only report of them since April (CT & MD).
On 10/17 at the YBSJ, KM studied a raft of 13 COMMON LOONS. Some were closer to breeding and some closer to winter plumage. "Those that were near breeding plumage had white feathers around their cheeks and bill base, so it looked as if they had a faint light face mask."
1-2 CLARK'S GREBES were at Boiler Bay on 10/3 (CT & MD), Yachats on 10/17 (PSu & CK), and Yaquina Head during the 10/19 ECAS field trip (JM & others).
Offshore, the 10/5 Bird Guide Pelagic Trip (BGPT) viewed 1 rare FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER, LAYSAN and BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED, and BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, and FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS.
From shore, Sooty Shearwaters were numerous and often reported, and at Boiler Bay on 10/24, there was a Buller's (BD, TJ, & JPo) and a Pink-footed (PP). A rare MANX-type SHEARWATER was noted at Boiler Bay during the 10/19 ECAS field trip (JM & others) and PP's 10/27 seawatch.
TURKEY VULTURES have departed with our latest at Pixieland on 10/17 (DV).
A female juvenile OSPREY was rescued by the Yachats Fire Dept. on 9/24 after being tossed around by the waves and found on the rocks (BB). It spent the night in Fire Chief Frankie's shower and was transported to Chintimini Wildlife Center near Corvallis (http://www.chintiminiwildlife.org/), where it was found to only have wing soft tissue injuries (BB). It was released on 10/7 in Yachats to continue her migration south, and as BB writes, it was a "wonderful save of a beautiful bird."
An Osprey was noted as late as 10/28 at Yaquina Head (BLM).
On 10/20 at his home in Logsden, BLl "finally got an excellent view of a NORTHERN GOSHAWK! It landed in a medium sized Fir in my yard, screamed, looked down at me, right in the eyes, then took off screaming across my field, flap flap flap glide, screaming 10 times in a row or so. Very impressive."
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS continue to become more established with 3 more Sept. and 15 Oct. records of singletons at a variety of locations.
A MERLIN was at the HMSC on 10/3 (RQ, MW), Yachats on 10/12 (V&ET), and YBSJ on 10/13 (WHo & CP). PEREGRINE FALCONS were commonly reported (especially at Yaquina Head [BLM]), but our only AMERICAN KESTREL was at an unspecified location during the 10/19 ECAS field trip (JM & others).
[Image Not Included: With a backdrop of fall colors, a young Sharp-shinned Hawk stands on its right leg at Toledo on Oct. 21. Photo by Ram Papish. Uninjured birds often stand on one leg and tuck their other leg into their feathers; this reduces heat loss through the unfeathered skin of their exposed leg, like putting your exposed hand in your pocket when it is chilly (http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Temperature_Regulation.html).]
RM found the first of season AMERICAN COOT at Devils Lake during the 9/21 Lincoln Co. North American Migration Count, and he found a raft of 100 there on 10/6.
On 10/23 at Siletz Bay, a single GOLDEN-PLOVER sp. flew along the north shore of Cutler City (JG). 1-4 MARBLED GODWITS were at Idaho Flats on 9/17& 30 (BO & RB; MW).and Siletz Bay on 9/24 (MV), and our only WHIMBREL was north of Ona Beach on 10/6 (LO).
1-3 juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS graced the Gull Puddle during 10/1-14 (WHo; RL; CP). Pectorals generally move in and out of salt marsh or other vegetation, so this was a great opportunity see and study them out in the open.
Our first-of-season ROCK SANDPIPER was on the rocks at Depoe Bay on 10/16 (JG).
An uncommon FRANKLIN'S GULL stood at D River Wayside (Lincoln City) on 9/26 (DN & MF), and 3 SABINE'S GULLS were recorded during the 10/5 BGPT.
The influx of ELEGANT TERNS that started in August continued into Sept., with the latest report of 2 at the YBSJ on 9/28 (WHo; DI & SF [photo at http://www.birdfellow.com/members/dave_irons/field_reports/837-lincoln-county-coast-late-september-storm-2013]).
On 9/28 at YBSJ, DI & SF watched a flock of five ARCTIC TERNS fly in from the ocean, and 7 were there the next day (D&LF).
CASPIAN TERNS were last detected at the YBSJ on 10/8 (PO).
Offshore, the 10/5 BGPT noted POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGERS and 2 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS.
MARBLED MURRELETS were commonly reported.
In September, 1 TUFTED PUFFIN and 58 adult and 45 juvenile COMMON MURRES were tallied along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, L&VO). This number of adult murres is the highest since BLo's surveys began in 1978, with the previous high of 22 in 1989. However, distinguishing between adults and juveniles in late summer and early fall can be challenging because of similar size and plumage. In October 1986, 1987, 2011, and 2012, a total of 43, 150, 88, and 50 murres were found, respectively, so large numbers can wash ashore in October, and, perhaps, this September's number of beached murres is more like an "October" than a "September."
RS leads OSU's Seabird Oceanography Lab at the HMSC. Some highlights for 2013 of their 12 year study of Common Murre nesting at Yaquina Head were that chicks were first observed on June 24 with a median hatch date of July 4, a week later than in 2012. Reproductive success in 2013 was similar to 2011 and 2012, but less than half of the previous 4 years (2007-2010), and the third lowest recorded for this colony during 12 years. Disturbance rates first began to increase in 2010, and then greatly escalated in 2011 and 2012. In contrast, disturbances in 2013 were lower, particularly rates of egg and chick loss which were markedly less than the past two years. Bald Eagles were again the dominant disturbance source (93% of disturbances), unlike in 2012 when Bald Eagles caused only 47% of disturbances. Preliminary results of forage fish species consumed in 2013 included smelt and secondarily Pacific herring or sardine and Pacific sand lance. A notable difference in diets among the past six years was the dominance of sand lance in 2008, the dominance of smelt in 2010, and the increased consumption of flatfishes in 2011. Preliminary results show 2013 as intermediate in composition among these years, with smelts comprising about half the diet. (Their 10-page report is at http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/seabirdoceanographylab/sites/default/files/yaquina_head_seabirds_2013_endofseasonreport.pdf or can be accessed along with the 2007-2012 reports at http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/seabirdoceanographylab/seabird-tracking-and-prey-patch-dynamics by reading down to the reference for "Suryan, R. M. et al." at the bottom.)
One natural history feature of warm days with little wind in late summer and early fall is the ephemeral occurrence of aerial mating swarms of insects that can include flying ants and termites. These flights often occur after most insectivorous birds such as swallows and flycatchers have thinned out or departed. However, other birds can take advantage of these, including gulls that fly in a herky-jerky, flap-stall-flap-flap fashion with gulls seemingly snapping into thin air with their bill when they stall--this behavior signals that gulls are probably feeding on flying insects that we may not be able to see. Hundreds of gulls sometimes fly in a milling, meandering way while feeding on these aerial swarms near the coast.
This year on 10/6 at 11:15, WHo stopped at the HWY 101 pullout just south of the Schooner Creek bridge at Lincoln City to watch a swarm of (mostly CALIFORNIA GULLS) gulls feeding on flying insects. EUROPEAN STARLINGS were also flying around up to 200 ft above the ground, apparently chasing insects. In the past, RB has also seen starlings feeding on insects in these swarms, though starlings are usually seen feeding on the ground.
In the early evening of 10/16, a BARN OWL swooped low over a Toledo garden (DHa).
A BARRED OWL with a broken leg in Yachats on 10/11 was transported to Chintimini Wildlife Center but was too badly injured to be saved (BB). Single live Barred Owls were at Siletz on 10/2 (HO), northeast of Toledo on 10/15 (WHe), Toledo on 10/17 (DHa), and Newport on 10/19 (DHo).
CP had our latest VAUX'S SWIFTS (3) in Toledo on 10/7, and WHo watched a single BLACK SWIFT fly east up the Schooner Creek valley near Lincoln City on 10/6.
A late, lingering RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD continued until at least 10/17 at L&JM's home east of Sally's Bend. One has lingered there in at least one recent winter.
A LEWIS'S WOODPECKER flycatched in the trees near his Toledo home on 10/5 and, thanks to CP's prompt reporting, was also appreciated that day by K&DR and DHo.
BLACK PHOEBES were found at a greater variety of sites this month, with singletons at Pixieland on 9/25 (DV), Yachats on 10/12 (J&VT), Yaquina Bay SP on 10/13 (JB), north Beaver Creek on 10/17 (MW), and Yachats Commons Wetland on 10/20 (J&SW).
1-2 TROPICAL KINGBIRDS were at Schooner Creek (Lincoln City) on 10/4 (ME), HMSC on 10/13-16 (DG & EC; m. ob.), and north Depoe Bay on 10/17 (JG).
MW reported the first NORTHERN SHRIKE of fall at the HMSC on 10/18, and it was seen by at least 9 others during 10/19-21 & 23.
WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS were found in October at the HMSC (2 records [RL; MW]), and Salmon River (1 record [JPi]). But most of our records were at Newport Prep Academy near NE Eads in Newport with 5 records of up to 3 scrub-jays by groups of up to 25 observers--these may be the most seen scrub-jays in Lincoln County!
PSu & CK discovered 2 HORNED LARKS along the trail to the mouth of the Yachats River on 10/17, and MW saw 2 the next day at Smelt Sands SP in Yachats. We only had 7 records of them since 1998 prior to these sightings (FN). Most of our recent sightings have been in February in the short grass at the YBSJ.
Departing species include BARN SWALLOW at Pixieland on 9/25 (DV), VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS at Pixieland on 10/2 (DV), and HOUSE WREN (which are pretty uncommon along the outer coast here) in South Beach on 10/14 (WHo).
On 10/10-11, a PHAINOPEPLA was reported in Yachats by several residents (fide AC; fide DHo). By it was missed in spite of diligent searching by many birders during 10/11-12. On 10/13, AC noted that at least one person photographed what the person thought was a Phainopepla, though the photo revealed that it was a STELLER'S JAY, which similarly to a Phainopepla has a black crest; the bodies of Steller's Jays when backlit or on overcast days can also look dark like a Phainopepla . AC added "However, at least three people seem to have seen the real thing on the first day [10/10]."
On 10/19 on the Lincoln County side of Grass Mt. above about 2,500 ft in elevation, CP & RB found a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE and 8+ WESTERN BLUEBIRDS. The solitaire often flew out flycatching and would return to the same perch. The bluebirds did some flycatching but seemed to mostly be flying, calling, and interacting with each other. There were occasional flying termites rising up into the sky that the solitaire and the bluebirds may have been feeding on.
AMERICAN PIPITS seem to have been reported more this Sept. and Oct. than in recent years. In Oct., 1-2 were noted the Gull Puddle along the YBSJ on 10/16 (MS), at an unspecified location during the 10/19 ECAS field trip (JM & others), and at the Salmon River on 10/20 (MRi).
1-2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS were in the dunes near the YBNJ on 10/6 (DI, SF, & KG) and Yaquina Head on 10/24 (BD). A possible CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR was flushed from the tall beach grass below Yaquina Bay SP on 10/26 (DF & MW).
Seasonal departures include WESTERN TANAGER near Yachats on 10/17 (PSu & CK), COMMON YELLOWTHROAT at Sally's Bend during the 10/19 ECAS field trip (JM & others), and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at the HMSC on 10/20 (MRa).
1-2 PALM WARBLERS were along the HMSC Nature Trail on 10/13 (EC & DG), relocated on 10/14 (WHo), and seen by many observers during 10/19-20, including the YBNFT (EH) and ECAS field trip (JM & others).
First of season birds include WESTERN MEADOWLARK at the HMSC on 9/26 (RQ) and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Yaquina Bay SP on 10/6 (DI, SF, & KG).
On 10/19, J&KF found an uncommon VESPER SPARROW at the HMSC. This is only our 6th record since 1992 (FN).
[Image Not Included: Western Meadowlark at the YBSJ on Oct. 7. Photo by Roy Lowe.]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/ and 10/5/2013 trip report at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/archive/10052013.htm), Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), BirdNotes.net, Joe Blowers, Maryann Bozza, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Ellen Cantor, Alan Contreras, Barbara Dolan, Michael Dupree, East Cascades Audubon Society (ECAS) field trip reported by JM, eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Mark Elliott, Jim and Karan Fairchild, Darrel & Laura Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Mary French, Jeff Gilligan, Kara Greer, Dan Gusset, Dawn Harris (DHa), William Hemstrom (WHe), Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Dave Irons, Tim Johnson, Carol Karlen, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, Rick Mark, Judy Meredith (JMe), Kathy Merrifield, m.ob. (multiple observers), Doug Niwa, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Bob Olson, Heather Olson, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Pamela Otley, Jo with pamperingcampers.com (JP), Ram Papish, Chuck Philo, Jody Picconi (JPi), Phil Pickering, Jonathan Pope (JPo), Robert Qually, Max Rae (MRa), Paul Reed, Marc Ribaudo (MRi), Kathy & Dennis Roberts, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Max Smith, Patty Sorensen (PSo), Paul Sullivan (PSu), Rob Suryan, Charles Thomas, Vjera & Eddie Thompson, Matthew Valencic, Dawn Villaescusa, Mike Wheeler, Jay & Susan Withgott, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) Field Trip (YBNFT) led by EH.
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 (SNA) (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, ECKMAN LAKE (#84): lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, HIDDEN VALLEY: oxbow of Yaquina Bay with outlets with deteriorating trestles at Boone (west) and Nute (east) Sloughs near Milepost 9 along north Yaquina Bay Road, 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, NUTE SLOUGH: freshwater slough at about mile 9.3 along north Yaquina Bay Road, ONA BEACH STATE PARK (renamed as Brian Booth State Park in 2013) (#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: Inn at Spanish Head at 4009 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City, SP: State Park, THIEL CREEK: creek about 3.5 mi south of Yaquina Bay bridge, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (vehicle entrance fee without a recreation pass such as the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport or America the Beautiful Passes).
In the past, BRANT have arrived as early as 10/22. This year, observation effort to find them prior to 11/2 (especially at Yaquina bay embayments where they overwinter) may have been insufficient to determine their presence.
But on 11/2, several observers independently found Brant. Along the coast line where Brant migrate, WH saw 3 flying northwest at Yaquina Head in the morning, PP counted 420 flying south during his 8:00-10:00 morning seawatch at Boiler Bay, and PP did a second seawatch at Boiler Bay during 2:30-3:45 PM and tallied 250. Where Brant overwinter, EG reported 8 Brant near the HMSC at 3:55 PM, and RB spotted 16 at Idaho Flats at 4:15 PM. So Brant arrived at Yaquina Bay on or before 11/2, but most of the 670 Brant recorded during PP's seawatches evidently continued migrating south past Yaquina Bay to California and Mexico where they also overwinter. Thereafter, the high count of Brant in Yaquina Bay was 158 at Sally's Bend on 11/19 (RQ).
Yaquina Birders & Naturalists is a project partner to the International Brant Monitoring Project; their Observation Log (http://www.padillabay.gov/brant/observationlogs/log1314.asp) includes Brant along the West Coast. Historical Yaquina Bay Brant records are accessible by clicking "View/Open" at http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/8081
A line of 3 SWANS followed closely by 4-7 WESTERN CANADA GEESE flew north (not south as one might expect during fall migration) on 11/21 near the Hallmark Motel in southwest Newport (RB). The next day, J&LM saw 6 (including one immature) at Sally's Bend, and DaT & DeT reported 6 TUNDRA SWANS at Yaquina Bay.
Our only WOOD DUCKS were 12 found by DHo at Fall Creek Road (about 14 miles east of Waldport) on 11/24.
JW discerned 7 drake EURASIAN WIGEON while sorting through 1,950 American Wigeon at Idaho Flats on 11/16 (eBird).
On 11/2, PP saw a CINNAMON/BLUE-WINGED TEAL passing Boiler Bay, and, on 11/8, BY detected a Cinnamon Teal at South Siletz Bay. They are uncommon to rare this time of year.
During a 11/16 Boiler Bay seawatch, PP & WH viewed a probable female KING EIDER flying south with scoters.
PACIFIC LOONS were numerous, especially during Boiler Bay seawatches, with high counts of 10,000+ on 11/2 (PP), 40,000 on 11/3 (C&AH), and 38,000+ on 11/16 (PP). In eBird, C&AH write about their 8:10-10:40 AM seawatch:
"40,000 Pacific Loons. Pouring southbound. Counted one-minute rates many times while we were sea watching, getting a very good estimate; 40,000 is conservative guess as to how many flew past while we were watching, though who knows how many flew by before we arrived. Spectacular movement for the first 50 minutes, averaging 400/min, never dropping below 300/min for more than short period of time. At times pulsing to 10/sec and once up to 1,000/min. At times flocks of hundreds of birds would stream past in less than a minute. After 9:00 the movement decreased significantly, but picked up from 9:30 to 10:00. After 10:00 we noted a few heading northbound, and the southbound rate decreased to 1-2/second. My estimates must be low, because it was impossible while counting to count every bird that flew past. Far out movement was significant, but usually left out of my counts because I only counted what I saw through my scope of the closer in movement. This would result in an undercount during my random 1-minute counts, which were the basis of my overall estimate, meaning the overall estimate is probably under by some percentage."
In Oct., 9 dead NORTHERN FULMARS and 2 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were found along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, D&JD).
11/2 &16 were stormy days, and fulmars and petrels are sometimes seen closer to shore during or after storms. On 11/2, PP estimated a total of 500+ NORTHERN FULMARS during two Boiler Bay seawatches, and, on 11/16, PP & WH surveyed 300+ (including 1 light-phase fulmar) passing Boiler Bay. There were scattered reports from shore of a few other fulmars on other days.
On 11/2 at Boiler Bay, PP spotted 1 LEACH'S STORM-PETREL in the morning and 4 Leach's and 1 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS in the afternoon. At Boiler Bay, C&AH saw 2 Leach's on 11/3, and PP & WH also viewed 2 Leach's on 11/16. At Yachats, JW noticed at least 1 Fork-tailed.
On 11/6, B&SLo found the remains of a dead beached BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY about 3 miles south of Newport. Single dead Blue-footed Boobies had been previously found on a Tillamook Co. and a Clatsop Co. beach on 10/23 & 31, respectively (ME; MR; OBOL). Blue-footed Boobies are rare in Oregon, since as of April 2012, there is only 1 accepted record (http://www.orbirds.org/acceptedthroughapril2012.pdf). However, in mid-Sept., this year was reported to be second only to 1972 as the largest invasion year of Blue-foots in California (http://blog.aba.org/2013/09/abarare-blue-footed-boobies-california.html). Since mid-Sept., eBird records indicate that there have been many more reports in California as far north as Bodega Head with live birds found into the last week of Nov. at Gull Rock near San Francisco and further south in California (zoom out and drag the eBird sightings map at http://bit.ly/16ChQwR to see the California and Oregon coasts and click red icons to see records in the past 30 days). Live Blue-foots must have passed through Oregon waters because a live one was found and photographed during a 9/24 whale-watching trip off northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia (http://blog.aba.org/2013/10/abarare-blue-footed-booby-british-columbia.html).
Migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS can at first glance be mistaken for migrating geese, in part because they fly in similar formations. On 11/3, WH detected flocks of up to 300 and a total of 1,080 during his Yaquina Head seawatch, and A&CH saw a total of 1,500 during their Boiler Bay seawatch and commented: "Several long, shifting lines headed southward. Obvious southbound movement. Always in big flocks. Large cormorants with kinked necks. Several pale juveniles stood out in the flocks." On 11/9, WH saw a flock of 550 flying south past Yaquina Head, and, on 11/15 at Spanish Head (Lincoln City), PP spotted 40 flying south.
On 11/2, CP saw 2 adult BALD EAGLES perched on the piling installed as an eagle perch near Coquille Point at southeastern Sally's Bend and adds that they recently had been regularly perching there.
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); their web site includes links to data summaries.
Lincoln Co. has 3 Raptor Routes. The North Lincoln Raptor Route (see map at http://goo.gl/maps/cqiSX) is around the Salmon River Estuary and east shore of Devil's Lake and was done on 11/6 by DV. The Inland or Yaquina River-Siletz Raptor Route is about 65-70 miles long, was completed on 11/6 by JL & CP, and took 295 minutes. The Coastal Route is about 60-62 miles and runs along HWY 101 from the north side of Alsea Bay to the Taft area of Lincoln City, with nearby inland valleys and was not done this Nov.
On both Routes, Red-tailed Hawks were the most abundant species, and, for the Inland Route, the second-most numerous species was Bald Eagle. Statewide, the 5 most numerous ("prominent") species in decreasing order are Red-tailed Hawk, Am. Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and Rough-legged Hawk, with these constituting about 90-93% of all raptors during Dec.-Feb. (see link to chart with "five most prominent species" at www.ecbcbirds.org/Default.aspx?tabid=73).
----------------------------------------- No. Lincoln|Inland_|Coastal 11/ |11/ | Raptor 6 | 6 | ----------------------------------- Wh-tail. Kite 0 | 2 | B. Eagle ad. 1 | 5 | " subadults 0 | 0 | N. Harrier 0 | 1 | Sharp. Hawk 0 | 2 | Cooper's Hawk 1 | 0 | R-shld. Hawk 0 | 2 | R-tail. Hawk 3 | 17 | Am. Kestrel 0 | 3 | Merlin 1 | 0 | Peregrine F. 0 | 0 | RAPTOR SUM 6 | 32 |
MM reported a BROAD-WINGED HAWK that flew over the Newport Bayfront on 11/1; it was not resighted. Broad-wings have not been reported in Lincoln Co. previously (SemiL; FN).
Other than during Raptor Routes, there were also 6 other reports of single RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS (eBird), and single MERLINS at the HMSC on 11/1 & 2 (RQ; EG), Nute Slough on 11/8 (DHo), and Lincoln City area on 11/20 (DaT & DeT).
On the other hand, PEREGRINE FALCONS were not found on the Raptor Routes, but we had 10 reports (m.ob.).
[Image Not Included: Rain drops streaking by a Sharp-shinned Hawk near USFWS building at the HMSC on Nov. 4. Photo by Roy Lowe. It has a red eye that indicates it is an adult and a noticeably long middle toe used to help capture birds (http://www.hawkmountain.org/raptorpedia/hawks-at-hawk-mountain/hawk-species-at-hawk-mountain/sharp-shinned-hawk/page.aspx?id=575).]
AMERICAN COOTS seem more abundant than usual this fall in lower Yaquina Bay. Rough estimates of at least 300-500 were made at Idaho Flats, where they were so densely packed while feeding high up on the mudflats that estimating numbers was a guess on 11/15 (RB) & 11/23-24 (NC). Our only comprehensive survey was by DHo, who counted 860 at Sally's Bend on 11/8. At least 150 coots were also at Eckman Lake on 11/5 (KM).
JW located our only BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER on 11/16 at Idaho Flats, and our only WESTERN or LEAST SANDPIPERS were 15 Leasts at Eckman Lake on 11/24 (A&CH, AC, OH, HH).
500+ DUNLIN passed Boiler Bay on 11/2 (PP), and the only others were 2 at Sally's Bend on 11/24 (A&CH, AC, OH, HH). We had 5 reports of 1-6 GREATER YELLOWLEGS (eBird).
At Boiler Bay, 2 SABINE'S GULLS during the 11/2 stormy weather (PP) and a HEERMANN'S GULL on 11/19 (DaT) may be the last of the year.
At 2 PM on 11/10, 10-15 unidentified gulls were hawking insects over the Hallmark Motel area in southwest Newport (RB). A weather station at the near YBSJ indicates that the winds then had diminished to below 5 mph, and it was about 62 F. So, even in November there can be aerial mating swarms of insects and gulls feeding on them!
A very late ELEGANT TERN was photographed as it roosted with gulls on a pier at the HMSC on 11/3 (C&AH; MW). Previously, our only year with a record after September was in 1983 (the year when they were first found here), and they were noted as late as Oct. 9 that year (SemiL, FN).
The only jaeger, a POMARINE JAEGER, was at Spanish Head on 11/15 (PP) and Boiler Bay on 11/16 (PP & WH).
The 54 COMMON MURRES in Oct. was the most numerous beached bird species then along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (B&SLo, D&JD).
[Image Not Included: Spotted Sandpiper at Lint Slough near HWY 34 bridge in Waldport on Nov. 10. Photo by Roy Lowe. The barred wing coverts ("shoulder") indicates it is a first winter bird. This barring may not be seen during distant or dim light views.]
At 9:35 AM on 11/2, WH flushed an owl with prey (a Townsend's Chipmunk) from the roadside east of the Yaquina Head Interpretative Center. This owl was so pale that he first thought it was a Barn Owl, but after it lit he saw that it was a GREAT HORNED OWL that was the palest that he had ever seen. Its "chest and belly were basically white, with narrow and widely-spaced black barring," and it seemed to be of the "West Taiga" form in Sibley's Guide to Birds.
On 11/3, PD's daughter watched and photographed our only BARRED OWL for at least 3 hours before dusk. It was perched in a tree outside her window along the bike path that goes down to Nye Beach (Newport).
1 RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was in east Newport on 11/10 (B&PR), and another was at Hudson Loop between Toledo and Siletz on 4 days during 11/4-22 (JL).
Last fall and this fall are our only ones with BLACK PHOEBES. This fall, singles were in South Beach along 35th Street at EH's house on 11/2, Hidden Valley during the 11/6 Inland Raptor Route (JL & CP), and the LNG tank/Sally's Bend area on 11/7 & 8 (CP; DHo).
1-2 TROPICAL KINGBIRDS continued from early October through at least the end of the report period on 11/24 in the HMSC-Oregon Coast Aquarium area (m.ob.). Singletons were also in South Beach on the wires of SE 35th Street to Idaho Point on 11/9 (EH) and near the LNG tank on 11/12 (CP).
A NORTHERN SHRIKE at the HMSC first reported on 10/18 (MW) appeared to linger until at least 11/10 (RQ; WH). Singletons were also in the LNG tank/Sally's Bend area on 11/6 & 16 (JL & CP; HH) and along north Yaquina Bay Road in the Nute Slough area on 11/16 (JW).
1-3 WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS remained near Newport City Hall on 11/4 & 9 (CP) and near Newport High School & Prep Academy (NHSPA) on 10/28 & 30 & 11/1 (NHSPA observers). But singletons were also reported elsewhere near Eckman Lake on 10/25 (LL fide RL), at Devil's Lake on 11/1 (DV), and in north Newport near the PUD on 11/4 (CP).
A very late report of a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER photographed in Depoe Bay on July 7, 2007 (LB) that was recently added to eBird (fide DI & DHo) is only our 2nd record; the previous report was for one at Yaquina Bay State Park in Oct. 2000 (FN). The Sandpiper newsletter serves as a crude archive (FN), so adding this record, even years later, makes it accessible in FN.
DV detected 5 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS in the Lincoln City area during the No. Lincoln Raptor Route on 11/6.
In late Oct., BF found and photographed a very strange looking bird east of Newport. The color of its plumage was unlike any bird species in the field guides. Fortunately, BF took 4 photos, and the one shown on the next page indicates the bird was an AMERICAN ROBIN in which many of its colored feathers are white. This color change results in it not appearing like a robin. Such birds are called leucistic, albinistic, pied, or piebald; see: http://static.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/Albinism_Leucism.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leucism
First of season VARIED THRUSHES appeared at Thiel Creek south of South Beach on 11/15 (BLo) and Hudson Loop between Toledo and Siletz on 11/22 (JL).
As many as 8 AMERICAN PIPITS were reported on 10/31 at the YBSJ (CP), 11/9 at the HMSC (WW), and on 11/24 in lower Yaquina Bay (eBird).
Our only longspur through the end of the 11/24 reporting period was a LAPLAND LONGSPUR on 11/22 at the YBSJ (EG), and 3 SNOW BUNTINGS flew over the YBSJ towards the North Jetty on 11/24 (A&CH, AC, OH, HH).
1-2 PALM WARBLERS were in northwest Newport on 11/9 (DHo) and Yaquina Bay State Park on 11/21 (DaT&DeT). Straggler ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS have sometimes been around in recent winters, and singletons were seen on 11/24 at the HMSC and along Yaquina Bay Road (A&CH, AC, OH, HH; A&CH, AC).
On 10/16 JW arrived in the Nute Slough area and noted:
" 'This looks like a nice place for a SWAMP SPARROW.' I got out, pished, and 60 seconds later I was hearing, then getting great views of, that exact species. The big grin on my face when I finally put my binoculars down turned to a chuckle of disbelief when a Northern Shrike immediately appeared out of nowhere and teed up atop a shrub. Every once in a while, things just work out."
On 11/24, A&CH & AC found 5 Swamp Sparrows after pishing near the Sturdevant Rd. junction with Business HWY 20 east of Toledo.
A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW around the USFWS building at the south end of the HMSC on 11/24 (A&CH, AC, OH, HH) was only our 7th record since 2000 and is the first since one was also near the same building on 10/24/2011 (FN).
We only had 2 reports of single WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, and both were in the Toledo area on 11/18 & 21 (DHo; DHa). There were 5 reports of 1-3 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS at the HMSC, YBSJ, and Sally's Bend (eBird).
On 11/2, KA had a glimpse of an unidentified oriole near Spanish Head in Lincoln City (fide CH), and on 11/11, PL saw a juvenile BULLOCK'S ORIOLE at his home near the Newport Bayfront.
[Image Not Included: A leucistic American Robin east of Newport in late Oct. Photo by Barney Foster. The original photo is not high quality, and quality was further reduced in this image through enlargement, but photos don't always have to be high quality to sometimes be extremely helpful in identification. At times, even a series of regular camera or cell phone photos can be useful after enlargement because body shape, posture, and general coloration can sometimes be sufficient for identification. This bird's identity can be determined by an awareness of the possibility of leucism, the irregularity of white feathers that is a clue to leucism, and its robin-like posture and shape, mostly reddish belly, back that is partially dark, and yellow bill.]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Kathy Andrich, Range Bayer, Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Lary Brown, http://BirdNotes.net, Neal Coenen, Alan Contreras, Dave & Jean Dempster (D&JD), Pat Dickey, http://eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Mark Elliott, Darrel Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Barney Foster, Eve Gill, Oscar Harper, Dawn Harris (DHa), Hendrik Herlyn, Christopher & Adrian Hinkle, Wayne Hoffman, Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, David Irons, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Janet Lamberson, Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy & Laurie Lowe, John & Linda MacKown, Kathy Merrifield, m.ob. (multiple observers), Michael McMann, Newport High School & Prep Academy (NHSPA), 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://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Robert Qually, Bill & Pam Rogers, Meg Ruby, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Dale & Dee Toweill (DaT & DeT), Dawn Villaescusa, Jay Withgott, Will Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) Field Trip (YBNFT) led by DF, Brendon Yoder.
Because of my computer failure and my struggles with a new computer that make some of the 5 software programs that I needed before to prepare the Sandpiper unusable, I am still trying to figure out how to do the bird notes like I have done in the past.
Accordingly, this month's bird notes is very limited. Thanks for your patience.
The new Lincoln City CBC (the first Audubon Society of Lincoln City-sponsored CBC was conducted yesterday [Dec. 15] under misty, foggy skies. Fog affected visibility for our seawatch (see Phil's report) and a haze hung over Devil's Lake all day, making it difficult to ID the many waterfowl. Aside from that, the weather was good for a CBC!
We had 23 volunteers on six teams in the field, and 7 feeder counters. Our farthest traveler came over from Eugene. Several folks came up from Toledo and Newport to help us out. A number of us were in the final throes of this terrible cough that's been going around town - I really appreciate all of the tremendous effort we had.
Initial tally (pending feeder count reports) was 107 species. Bird of the day had to be a NORTHERN GOSHAWK seen by the Siletz River team of Dawn Harris, Ram Papish, Janet Lamberson and Chuck Philo. The Siletz Bay team (Dick Demarest, Wayne Hoffman and Michael McMann) had a LONG-TAILED DUCK among other goodies. The Cascade Head/Salmon River team (Jack Hurt, Jack Doyle, Ernie Rose and Jody Picconi) had our only BARN OWL and the Siletz River team added a GREAT HORNED OWL and two PYGMY OWLS. Two EURASIAN WIGEON were spotted at the Water Treatment Plant by the Drift/Schooner Creek team (Dawn and Desi Villaescusa, Dave Stone). The Devil's Lake team (Deb Holland, Patty & Rick Sorensen, Rick Mark) battled fog all day to add to our total, including both GREATER and LESSER SCAUP. The Road's End/NW City team (Mark Elliott, Caren & Tom Willoughby, Laura Doyle) covered the area west of the highway from Taft all the way to Road's End - I walked off last night without picking up their report so I have to rely on one of them to relay their highlights!
Misses included RED CROSSBILLS and PINE SISKINS (don't know where they are, but not here this winter!). The Black Phoebe seen last week on North Bank Rd failed to make an appearance (we'll try again to see if we can get him for count week). Also making a poor showing were shorebirds of all kinds! Still under the weather myself, I was in bed by 7pm last night - and I totally missed the beautiful BARN OWL who flew across the road in front of one of the teams as they were driving away from our fabulous Chili Feed! Thanks again to all our volunteers, including the cooks! If I missed anything, let me know! (For those who wondered - the Lincoln City CBC is a slightly different circle than the one that was held for two years in the early 1990's.
December started out cold with 3 inches of snow in Newport on Dec. 6 and temperatures that did not get above freezing in some places of Newport during Dec. 6-8 (http://www.newslincolncounty.com/archives/100567). It warmed up later in the month, with lots of sunshine but little rain.
On Dec. 8, Roy Lowe wrote:
"Much of Eckman Lake near Waldport remained frozen today although the dabbling ducks and diving ducks were keeping two areas open by actively feeding. Two juvenile bald eagles were present and 3-4 times they made passes over the waterfowl only 30 ft above them and there was very little response by the ducks indicating they were too hungry to worry about predation. It was pretty amazing. I also observed a few hermit thrush and golden-crowned kinglets feeding out on the lake ice and one pile of very cold nutria trying to kept warm. A few photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/24707703@N06/sets/72157638495611156/
Birds as well as people had encounters with the weather!
[Image Not Included: Western Canada Goose not so gracefully landing and sliding on ice at Eckman Lake on Dec. 8. The ice is hard to see but is adjacent to the water where all the dabbling ducks (mainly wigeon) are concentrated and whose activity keeps the water from freezing.]
[Image Not Included: The Western Canada Goose in a more regal posture after a sliding to a landing. The ice is thick enough to support it--the goose is not standing on water!]
[Both photos are by Roy Lowe and are from his http://www.flickr.com/photos/24707703@N06/sets/72157638495611156/]
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