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).--use following if I don't have section numbers
------------------------------- Month of Sandpiper, Volume 35 ------------------------------- June-August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014
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 (now known as Brian Booth State Park) that includes Beaver Creek State Natural Area (SNA), 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, 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, 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, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport.
A few scattered BRANT are occasionally seen in summer. Our largest count was 23 at Depoe Bay on 6/7 (JR, SR) and at least one was at Yaquina Head on 7/23 (BLM) and Otter Crest on 7/27 (CA).
The northerly CANADA GOOSE molt migration generally continues into early June, and this summer the last flight was over a SW Newport beach on 6/7 (RB).
GREATER SCAUP often linger into June, and this year 1-4 were at Eckman Lake on 6/5 (RL) and at the HMSC on 6/19 (MS).
Unusual summer duck records include: 1-2 RUDDY DUCKS at Yaquina Bay on 5 days during 6/6-30 (eBird), 1 LONG-TAILED DUCK at Yachats on 6/20 (MS), near the HMSC on 8 days during 6/30-8/21 (eBird), and at Devils Punchbowl by Otter Rock on 7/21 (BBr); a flying male and female NORTHERN PINTAIL flying together at Idaho Flats on 6/20 (RB) and 1 at Idaho Flats on 7/9 (CH & NN), 1 female RING-NECKED DUCK at Eckman Lake on 6/23 (KM), a BUFFLEHEAD at Sally's Bend on 6/23 (KM) and near the oyster farm at about Milepost 6.7 along north Yaquina Bay Road on 6/24 & 7/3 (DHo), 1 AMERICAN WIGEON at the HMSC on 7/9 (CH & NN), and 3 GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Idaho Flats about 3 weeks early for fall migrants on 7/24 (KM).
Nonbreeding duck species expected in summer were found this year, including many June-July records for HARLEQUIN DUCKS, SURF SCOTERS, and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS as well as 7 records of BLACK SCOTERS (m.ob.).
Fall arrivals include 4 GADWALL at Beaver Creek State Natural Area on 8/16 (DPa), 18 NORTHERN PINTAIL at Idaho Flats on 8/17 (DI), and a NORTHERN SHOVELER at Boone Slough at about Milepost 8.9 along north Yaquina Bay Road on 8/24 (DHo).
Presumably the same single CHUKAR was found and photographed by different birders at least 4 times at or near Yaquina Head on 6/14 (CL, BBe, GW), 6/27 (fide WHe), 7/2-3 (BLM), 7/15 (MM), and 8/1 (BLM). This one seemed habituated to people as it was on roofs or planters or allowed close enough access to be photographed. RL photographed another in his Waldport yard on 8/8. These were probably either escapees or were released from captivity; eggs and day-olds are available for purchase. Nevertheless, Chukars are rarely reported here, and prior to these recent records, we only had 4 records since 1992, with the two most recent being 4 in August 2000 (South Beach) and 1 in March 2013 (Siletz).
Some nonbreeding PACIFIC LOONS and fewer COMMON LOONS were noted oversummering in June and July as expected (BLM; KM; eBird). Through 8/25, our only RED-THROATED LOON was at the YBSJ on 6/12 (MM).
Some nonbreeding WESTERN GREBES commonly oversummer, and this year was no exception (BLM; KM; eBird). RED-NECKED GREBES are uncommon in summer, but KM encountered 1 at Seal Rocks on 6/23, and the first of fall was near Lincoln City on 8/10 (JR & SR).
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were found offshore (m.ob.), and 1 was found dead along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach on 7/22 by BLo's beached bird team (L&VO, D&JD). 5 LAYSAN ALBATROSSES were surveyed offshore during the 8/16 BGPT (eBird).
PLe found 2 rare HAWAIIAN PETRELS about 51 miles off Yachats on 7/16 (fide SF). Other rarities include an ASHY STORM-PETREL, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, and BLACK STORM-PETREL discovered amongst 5,000 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS during the 8/16 BGPT (SF).
BROWN PELICANS were common (m.ob.), and 1 was found dead north of Ona Beach on 6/21 by BLo's beached bird team (L&VO, D&JD).
GREAT EGRETS started appearing in lower Yaquina Bay in July as usual, but the high count during this reporting period was only 20 on 8/15 (RB). This is fewer than the 32 and 43 there in early August 2012 & 2013 (RB).
In late May or the first week of June, CP saw an immature RED-SHOULDERED HAWK circling over Nute Slough (which is one of the 2 Hidden Valley oxbow outlets), and on 8/3, RM viewed one around the north end of Devils Lake. On 8/5, J&PLm saw one at Boone Slough (which is the other Hidden Valley oxbow outlet) at Milepost 8.9 Yaquina Bay Road. So no nesting or July Red-shouldered records again this year; since 2008, we only have 2 July and no June records. This year the most likely spot for a nest would have been Hidden Valley.
PEREGRINE FALCONS were frequent (m.ob.), and DC reports that 3 fledged at Yaquina Head on 6/28. With this and past information (FN), Peregrine incubation approximately started at Yaquina Head during 4/16-19 (2012), 5/13 (2013), and 4/17 (2014) as back-calculated 30 days from when hatching was first noted (incubation can be 29-32 days); first hatching was reported on 5/16-19 (2012), 6/12 (2013), and 5/17 (2014); time of first flights/fledging was 6/26-30 (2012), 7/18-20 (2013), and 6/28 (2014); and the number of fledglings was 4 (2012), 2 (2013), and 3 (2014).
On 6/17, PLw saw 2 unidentified peeps at Idaho Flats; it is unclear if they had oversummered or were early "fall" migrants. On 6/20, 3 WESTERN SANDPIPERS were on the ocean beach just north of the Yaquina Bay North Jetty (RB), others were reported on 6/24 & 27 (eBird), and 154 were at Ona Beach State Park on 6/28 (DHo).
Other shorebird arrivals that are from eBird unless otherwise noted, include GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Eckman Lake on 6/23 (KM), SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (6/27), SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER at Sally's Bend on 6/30 (JLm), LESSER YELLOWLEGS (7/1), LEAST SANDPIPER & SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (7/9), LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (7/13), BLACK TURNSTONE & SURFBIRD (7/14), BAIRD'S SANDPIPER & WANDERING TATTLER (7/20), SANDERLING (7/22), RUDDY TURNSTONE (7/28), and 1-2 RED KNOTS (8/4 & 6). 1-2 Ruddy Turnstones were also along the ocean beach at Big Creek south of Waldport on 8/2 (VT) and at Idaho Flats on 8/22 (CP).
14 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were at north Alsea Bay on 8/2 (KM), which is a large fall concentration here for them in recent years.
The start of migration is straightforward to determine for a species when birds are found after a period of absence. The arrival of fall migrant WHIMBRELS are tougher to tell because some nonbreeders oversummer. We had 4 Whimbrel reports in early June with a peak count of 10 on 6/6 (eBird; MM & EB), and later in June 1-4 Whimbrels were noted on 6/21, 23, 27, 30 (eBird; KM). The number reported rose to 15 on 7/3 (eBird), and this increase suggests immigration; an increase in Whimbrel numbers in early July has also been noted in other years (FN). The high count during the reporting period was 36 at Idaho Flats on 7/24 (KM).
MARBLED GODWIT in some summers is also a problematic species to determine fall migration because a few occasionally oversummer (SemiL, FN). Singletons were noted on 6/1 (eBird) and at Seal Rocks on 6/13 (MM & EB). The 1-3 at Idaho Flats on 7/22 (CP) and on 8/4 & 9 (eBird) fit more into the pattern of fall arrivals.
1 WILLET at Seal Rocks on 8/5 (SH, SM) is our first since 2008! Prior to this record, we only had 4 reports of singletons since 2003 (FN). This once uncommon to common species here has become rare.
There were a few counts with 300 or more small shorebirds. Most were along ocean beaches: on 8/2 (200 Sanderlings, 100 peep sp. that were too far down the beach to ID, 20 Semipalmated Plovers, and at least 10 Least and 5 Westerns Sandpipers during a 0.25 mile observation at Big Creek south of Waldport) (VT); the following day on 8/3 in about the same area (a total of about 1,000+ mostly Sanderlings, a flock of about 100 Semipalmated Plovers, and a few Western Sandpipers along a CoastWatch Mile beach south of Waldport) (BBa & SaL); and on 8/13 (300 Western Sandpipers and 20 Sanderlings at Ona Beach) (PSe & SSe). The differences in counts between 8/2 & 3 may largely be a result of more beach being covered on 8/3. The high count in a bay was 600 Western & 30 Least Sandpipers and 20 Semipalmated Plovers at Idaho Flats on 8/17 (DI).
The latest FRANKLIN'S GULLS were 3 flying north past Yaquina Head on 6/8 (WHo), and our first fall BONAPARTE'S GULL arrived on 7/30 (eBird).
CALIFORNIA GULL numbers greatly increase in summer at Yaquina Bay. This summer, a thousand or more were tallied at Idaho Flats on 7/18 (BY), 7/27 (WHo), 8/2 (KM), 8/10 (WHo), and 8/17 (DI). KM noted that two-thirds of them were juvenile (first-year) on 8/2.
Nonbreeding CASPIAN TERNS were present as usual in June with 14 records (eBird) and a peak count of 32 on 6/21 at the HMSC (JS). An ARCTIC TERN was noted during a pelagic trip on 8/23 (CC & SP). For the reporting period through 8/25, the only ELEGANT TERNS were 16 (some of which were feeding juveniles) along the YBSJ on 8/12 (DF).
1-2 PARASITIC JAEGERS were at Seal Rocks on 6/23 (KM) and Boiler Bay on 7/9 (CH & NN), and 1 POMARINE JAEGER was at Boiler Bay on 8/8 (MP) and offshore during the 8/16 BGPT (eBird). The only LONG-TAILED JAEGERS (3) were located during the 8/16 BGPT (eBird).
1-4 TUFTED PUFFINS were at Yaquina Head on 5/24 & 25 (BLM), 6/8 (WHo), and 6/11 (RL). eBird reports were also for Depoe Bay on 6/7 & 8/22, Yachats on 6/18, Seal Rocks on 7/26, and offshore during the 8/16 BGPT. The first beached COMMON MURRE chicks were found washed ashore along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach by BLo's beached bird team on 7/27 (L&VO, D&JD). Every summer a variable number are beached.
MARBLED MURRELETS were often viewed with a high count of 48 at Seal Rocks on 8/2 (KM).
[Image Not Included: Tufted Puffin flying over the Yaquina Head Observation Deck on June 11. Photo by Roy Lowe.]
On 7/26, CP saw adult BARN OWLS flying under a Lincoln County bridge at 9-10:30 PM, and although it was not possible to see a nest from land, young could be heard calling when the adults came in. On 8/6, CP saw 1 adult near the same bridge but did not hear any young calling, so young may have fledged.
Our latest BLACK SWIFT was 1 over South Beach on 5/27 (WHo).
Because they are common and skittish, BELTED KINGFISHER behavior and nesting can be overlooked. PLw was monitoring the Oregon Coast Aquarium pond south of the HMSC in July and found an adult male, adult female, and 5 fledglings on 7/12 & 23. PLw noted at least 2 fledglings (others may have been hidden in vegetation) there during 7/11-25, and some may have been present there before and after that period. Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Belted_Kingfisher/lifehistory) indicates that kingfisher clutch size is 5-8 eggs, and BNA notes that fledglings remain with their parents for approximately 3 weeks and do not capture live fish for at least 1 week after fledging.
A WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER at Thornton Creek between Toledo and Eddyville on 6/2 (DF) is only our 4th record and first since January 1990 (SemiL, FN).
N&TA reported our only BLACK PHOEBE while kayaking on Schooner Creek by Lincoln City on 8/23.
RL recognized a WESTERN KINGBIRD along the HMSC Nature Trail on 6/23, and it was resighted there on 6/24 (CP) and 6/26 (DS fide DPe). This Western Kingbird is unseasonably late, but in Lincoln Co., we previously have at least 2 Western Kingbird records in late June and at least one in early July (7/6/1982) (SemiL).
On 6/15, DF found a RED-EYED VIREO singing vociferously at D Lake State Park that DF & ME found later that day. DF also found our previous records since 1992 on 5/16/2008 and 5/14/2014 at Thornton Creek between Toledo and Eddyville (FN).
We only had 1 WESTERN SCRUB-JAY observation in June and in July, but 6 in August (eBird). Sightings were distributed at Yaquina Head (1), Siletz Bay (2), and Newport (5) (eBird).
1-4 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were at a north Beaver Creek clearcut (6/10 & 23, 7/5 & 30, 8/9 & 17 [DHo]), the Lincoln County side of Grass Mt. in the eastern part of the County (7/4 [CP]), and Buck Cr. east of Lincoln Beach (7/30 [CA]). These are more records than we usually get in summer and are probably a result of having more observers at locations where Western Bluebirds nest.
On 6/18, CP found a GRAY CATBIRD along the HMSC Nature Trail and alerted DHa & RL, who also saw it. This was a first for Lincoln Co., and p. 492 of Birds of Oregon: A General Reference indicates that catbirds are "very rare west of the Cascades," the Oregon Breeding Bird Atlas Project did not find possible nesting west of the Cascades, and most nesting in eastern Oregon is in the northeastern corner, where it is a "fairly common breeder in dense riparian areas."
Many people came and saw 1 catbird that was sometimes singing and acting territorial. Interest flagged after birders had once found it. On 7/25, however, MP made his second visit to see it and was surprised to be the first to find and photograph 2 catbirds at the same time! Interest renewed.
The very next day (7/27), MK photographed 2 catbirds and posted her photos. LM and DI each looked at MK's photos and noted that one catbird was an adult, but the second was a juvenile with pale pink at the base of its bill and buffy to pale rufous undertail coverts. On 7/27, WHo also took photos of the juvenile and noted it still had some fleshiness to its gape, and its tail was not as long as the nearby adult's tail. DI noted: "It seems that there can be little doubt that Gray Catbirds nested behind the Hatfield Marine Science Center, providing the first breeding record for the Oregon Coast and, unless I've missed something, the first breeding record west of the Cascades."
The last report of 2 at the HMSC was on 8/11 when JG & WHe found an adult and a juvenile, and the latest report of 1 catbird there was on 8/13 (PSu & CK).
But the catbird saga did not end then. The morning of 8/16 at EH's house on SE 35th Street in South Beach about 0.5 mile south of where catbirds were found at the HMSC, EH "heard (meowing), and then saw, (clearly, out in the open, black cap, otherwise gray, rusty under tail) a Gray Catbird. So they are now doing a little post-breeding wandering in the neighborhood." [Outside of the reporting period, 1 catbird was again found at the HMSC on 9/1 (eBird).]
On 5/30, PLw found a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD south of the USFWS building near the HMSC Nature Trail, and it was resighted the next day (CP). They have become scarce in Lincoln Co. in recent years and this is the first since August 2011 (FN).
A well-described NASHVILLE WARBLER at Depoe Bay on 5/27 (MR) plus the 3 records earlier this May in the last newsletter is extraordinary; prior to this May we had a total of only 3 spring records (all in May) since 1993 (FN).
M&SN saw and photographed a male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at their feeder at Fox Creek about 1 mile south of Seal Rocks on 5/28. On 7/6, LG also had a male at her Depoe Bay feeder. We have been getting about 2-5 reports of Rose-breasteds in May-July each year in recent years, but they are still uncommon.
3 CHIPPING SPARROWS were reported on 6/6 and singletons were recorded on 7/10, 12, 25, & 27 (eBird). This seems like an unusually high number of summer records here.
CA discovered our only LAZULI BUNTING this year, a singleton at Moonshine Park north of Logsden on 6/24. This year is like 2012, when we only had 1 Lazuli report, but contrasts to 2013, when we had unusually high number of reports (4) during the same time period. It suggests that one year's abundance of reports may not indicate a trend.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Nagi & Taghrid Aboulenein, Christopher Adlam, Betty Bahn (BBa), Range Bayer, Bob Berman (BBe), Ed Beynon, Ben Bright (BBr), 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, 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), Cheryl Chessick, Dave & Jean Dempster, http://eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Mark Elliot, Darrel Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Lisa Gallegos, Jessica Greer, Dawn Harris (DHa), William Hemstrom (WHe), Sally Hill, Christopher Hinkle, Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, David Irons, Carol Karlen, Marlowe Kissinger, Janet & Phil Lamberson (J&PLm), Pete Lawson (PLw), Paul Lehman (PLe), Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Cindy Lippincott, Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo), Roy Lowe, m.ob. (multiple observers), Rick Mark, Sylvia Maulding, Michael McMann, Larry McQueen, Kathy Merrifield, Nels Nelson, Michael & Sally Noack, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable in search box at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Dani Padilla (DPa), Ram Papish, Mike Patterson, Diane Pettey (DPe), Sharon Pfeifer, Chuck Philo, Michael Roper, Stephen Rossiter, Jennifer Rothe, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Paul Senner (PSe), Stanley Senner (SSe), Jamie Simmons, David Smith, Paul Sullivan (PSu), Molly Sultany, Vjera Thompson, George West, Brendon Yoder.
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 (now known as Brian Booth 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), HMSC (#75): OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, IDAHO FLATS: large embayment just east of the HMSC, 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, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (requires recreation pass or vehicle entrance fee).
Compiler Dawn Villaescusa writes "We had a fantastic count here in Lincoln County this fall. I'm waiting to hear from a couple of folks but most of the results are in. 125 species, 6 other taxa; 23 count week species (4 from Golden Princess cruise [GPC]), 5 field parties (1 YB&N field trip, 1 Bird Guide Pelagic trip [BGPT]); 57 counters (including all from both trips). 5 feeder/yard counters (2 also did field counting). Thanks to all of our volunteers!
"I am hoping we can get more involvement next spring, and again next fall - bring in some more beginners, teaming them up with some more experienced birders to really make this a special event. Thanks to all who participated in all the counties!"
[Ed. Thanks to Dawn for organizing and compiling the LNAMC and the NAMC in Tillamook Co, too! Some of the species seen during the LNAMC are included below.]
Shortly before dark on 9/22 at Logsden, BLl observed about 50 large noisy flock of geese flying over in vee's on a beeline between Kernville and Mary's Peak. In late Sept. and early Oct., flocks of unidentified geese or GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE have previously been reported crossing the Lincoln Co. Coast Range, and CANADA GEESE have also been observed to do so later in fall (Spring and fall migration of geese across the Coast Range of Lincoln Co., Oregon. 1995. Oregon Birds 21:10-12 at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/oregon-birds-1995-goose-migration.pdf).
We have had no BRANT since 7/27--they may arrive the last week of October.
2 GREEN-WINGED TEAL on 9/4 in Toledo (JL) appear to be the first of the season and are the first since the 3 at Idaho Flats on 7/24. WHo also found one at Yaquina Bay on 9/17.
There were several reports of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, but no details were given about how they were distinguished from COMMON MERGANSERS, which are much more to be expected here in August-September. Nor did the reports indicate that the observer was aware that identifying Red-breasted Mergansers this time of year is not as easy as in winter.
Common Mergansers nest here, but Red-breasted's do not (e.g., Oregon Breeding Bird Atlas; p. 34 in Herlyn & Contreras' Handbook of Oregon Birds). There is also a seasonal habitat shift for Commons--in summer and early fall, rafts of them often appear in lower Yaquina, Siletz, and Alsea Bays, where Red-breasteds almost exclusively occur from late fall through spring.
Distinguishing Red-breasteds from Commons in winter is relatively easy, but it is not as easy in summer and early fall. 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 https://sora.unm.edu/node/112985 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. In past years, but not this one, we have had a few summer records of female Red-breasteds based on careful and detailed observation of bill and head shape and nostril position.
So during July-early October, it is important to distinguish females/immatures of these two species by other characteristics than habitat or assuming that all summer birds that don't have distinctly contrasting white on the neck are Red-breasteds.
A LAYSAN ALBATROSS and 75-120 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were noted offshore during the 9/20 BGPT and 9/22 GPC. A rare MURPHY'S PETREL was also detected during the 9/22 GPC. The most uncommon shearwaters offshore were 1-3 FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS during the 9/20 BGPT and 9/22 GPC, and a BULLER'S SHEARWATER during the 9/20 BGPT. The 9/20 BGPT tallied 45 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS.
This is also the time for southbound migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, and a flock of 5 flew over the shoreline in SW Newport on 9/14 (RB). It can be easy to miss that these are migrating flocks of Double-crests because they can be mistaken for migrating geese that are similarly large and which we expect to migrate now.
There were many BROWN PELICAN sightings with the high count of about 60 atop Colony Rock at Yaquina Head on 9/3 (KM).
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS have become scarcely reported, and RS found one at the HMSC on 9/17, which is only the 2nd record since Nov. 2012 (FN).
BLl discovered a WHITE-TAILED KITE on 9/22 at Logsden, and WHe located a NORTHERN GOSHAWK at Siletz on 9/5.
1-3 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were flying and calling at Yachats on 5 days during 9/2-14 (BB), another was at the HMSC on 9/4 & 8 (MP; RL), and singletons were also at Beaver Creek on 4 days during 9/3-22 (JS; DHo). For the reporting period through 9/22, the only AMERICAN KESTREL was at Yaquina Head on 8/16 (BLM). The season's first MERLIN arrived at the Beaver Creek State Natural Area on 9/17 (JS), and another was in SW Newport the next day (RB). There were 8 records of 1-2 PEREGRINE FALCONS (eBird).
On 8/31, RP & DHa found a juvenile SORA along Sturdevant Road in Toledo, which is only our 4th record this year and the first since mid-May. In 2013, we only had 1 Sora record (FN). They may be common but overlooked because they are secretive and concealed in marshes.
KM carefully studied an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER in nonbreeding plumage at Nye Beach in Newport on 9/3. BB and SaL discerned the only BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, which was feeding on tiny black insects washed up along the tide line at Beachside State Park, south of Waldport, on 9/7.
A RUDDY TURNSTONE was at Yaquina Head on 8/22 (BLM).
The high count of shorebirds was at least 500 mostly LEAST and WESTERN SANDPIPERS on the beach near Gov. Patterson State Park, south of Waldport, on 8/28 (SHi). 1-2 BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS were at the HMSC on 8/26 (WHe) and Ona Beach on 9/5 (JS), and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER was photographed at Yachats on 9/6 (GB).
CALIFORNIA GULLS continued to be numerous with young of the year being about half of the 600 at Idaho Flats on 9/3 (KM). 2-3 first of the season HERRING GULLS were at the HMSC on 9/4 (MBo & SP) and offshore during the 9/20 BGPT.
WHe found 1 ELEGANT TERN at the HMSC on 8/26. The morning of 8/28, CP could hear but not see Elegant Terns in the fog along the YBSJ, WHo later found 3 there, and when the fog lifted CP counted 25.
1-3 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and 1-2 POMARINE JAEGERS were offshore during the 9/20 BGPT and 9/22 GPC, and 4 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS were also surveyed during the 9/20 BGPT.
1-2 TUFTED PUFFINS were at Depoe Bay on 9/5 and Yaquina Head on 9/8 (eBird).
In August, BLo's beached bird team found 1 dead CASSIN'S AUKLET and 22 COMMON MURRES (17 adults and 5 young of the year) along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (L&VO, D&JD). This number of adult murres is high and is tied for the 4th highest August total in the 37 years since BLo's team survey began in 1978; August 2013 had the highest number of adult murres with 58.
Because they have become so commonplace, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES may be ho-hum to many, in spite of their recent arrival. Our first records were during May-June 2006 (FN). In 2007, we had a smattering of sightings in May and one record in August, and, in 2008, there were some records during April-May (FN). In 2009, they became established in Lincoln Co., with records each month since March (FN). Not only have they become widely distributed, numbers are also increasing. RS counted 29 at Yaquina Bay State Park on 9/17, and JS enumerated 15 at the Alsea Bay Docks on 9/21.
A BARN OWL at Yaquina Head on 8/15 (BLM) is an uncommon record so close to the coastline. 2 BARRED OWLS were at Hudson Loop between Toledo and Siletz on 8/26 (JL), and there were 3 records in Sept. at Toledo, Hudson Loop, and Beaver Creek. (DHa; JL; JS).
Through the end of the 9/22 reporting period, our only RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was at Elkhorn Rd east of Beaver Cr. on 9/14, which was the same date and location for our latest PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (DHo). DE found an unseasonal WESTERN KINGBIRD near the HMSC Nature Trail on 9/12 that wasn't a Tropical Kingbird, and a BLACK PHOEBE was at Yachats on 9/11 (JG & WHe).
Terrestrial birds are occasionally spotted offshore. The 9/20 BGPT watched a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH "29 miles offshore, having a bad day with two LTJA [Long-tailed Jaegers]", and others were a GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET 8.6 miles offshore and an AMERICAN PIPIT 18.6 miles offshore.
One possibility of how they got offshore is that they became disoriented in fog and flew out over the ocean where they could not see land and return. At 6:35 and 6:55 AM the morning of 9/20, the weather station at the Newport Airport south of South Beach (which is the only local weather station that I have found that records visibility) reported fog with visibility of 0.5 mile, but the fog lifted there and visibility increased up to 2.5 mile at 7:15 AM (http://bit.ly/1yylyr6). However, the Airport is about 0.5 mile from the coastline, and the fog could have been thicker and lasted longer closer to the ocean or at different sites along the coastline, where terrestrial birds may have become disoriented.
An excerpt from eBird's "Understanding birds & weather: Fall birding basics" (boldface added) (http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/fall-birding-basics/):
"One other general rule during migration (both spring and fall), is that when a good migratory movement of birds encounters rain, low overcast, or foggy conditions, spectacular fallouts can occur. Along an abrupt line where the rain or fog starts, birds may be quite literally dropping out of the sky along that frontal boundary. But when this fog occurs along the coastline, a higher percentage of birds may accidentally fly offshore and thus the return flight to the coast will likely include more birds and make those birds more likely to land right along the coast, since they are probably stressed from disorientation in the fog or weakened from flying through rain. These conditions can be dangerous for birds, but they can make for spectacular birding with large numbers of birds often providing excellent views."
For studies of the effect of fog on migrating waterfowl and terrestrial birds, try an Internet search for something like "birds offshore fog wind farm".
WESTERN SCRUB-JAY distribution and frequency appears to be increasing. Singletons in Newport were near NE 6th Street on 9/6 (SHa), near the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 9/9 (DHo), and on SE 5th St. near Embriceadero on 9/16 (SM fide PK). 2 others were found at Ona Beach on 9/7 (CW) and in the south County during the 9/20-21 LNAMC (BF fide DV).
Last reported dates include TREE SWALLOW on 9/3 at Hudson Loop between Toledo and Siletz (JL), CLIFF SWALLOW on 9/5 at Yaquina Head (MBa), PURPLE MARTIN on 9/7 in South Beach (EH), BARN SWALLOW on 9/18 (eBird), and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW on 9/20 (eBird).
In Sept., concentrations of swallows are often noted. For Violet-green Swallows, on the Lincoln Co. side of Grass Mt. the first week of Sept., CP noted their migration with a concentration of 20+; on 9/12, DV saw about 30 flying in a flock north up the beach by Nelscott in Lincoln City. For Barn Swallows, DHo saw 43 on 8/23 and 65 on 8/26 at north Beaver Creek, and JS counted 50 on 9/5 at Ona Beach.
8 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS continued at a north Beaver Cr. clearcut on 9/14 (DHo).
On 9/1, WP found 1 GRAY CATBIRD lingering along the HMSC Nature Trail where they nested this summer. On 9/5, EH still had 1 at SE 35th Street in South Beach, about 0.5 mile south of the HMSC where he also saw a catbird on 8/16.
The first of season AMERICAN PIPIT was recorded on 9/5 (eBird), and since then there were many reports (eBird), including one offshore during the 9/20 BGPT and also by other groups during the 9/20-21 LNAMC (fide DV).
Other arrivals include 1 WESTERN MEADOWLARK on 9/17 at the HMSC (RS), 2 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS on 9/18 in Lincoln City (DV), and a LINCOLN'S SPARROW at Beaver Creek State Natural Area on 9/19 (JS).
Departures comprise a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD on 9/6 at Boiler Bay (MLK, NM), WILSON'S WARBLER on 9/9 at Siletz Bay (JH), WESTERN TANAGER on 9/13 at Beaver Cr. (JS), and YELLOW WARBLER on 9/14 at north Beaver Cr. (DHo). A vagrant female or 1st winter male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was with a Brewer's Blackbird flock in the parking lot at D River Wayside in Lincoln City on 9/4 (MBo & SP). This is only the third report since May 2011 (FN).
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Mark Baldwin (MBa), Range Bayer, Gloria Beerman, Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), http://BirdNotes.net, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/; their eBird checklists are listed for "Bird Guide pelagic" within 5 miles of the coastline and as "TBG 9/20/14 Trawlers" further offshore), Mike Boyd (MBo), Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Dave & Jean Dempster (D&JD), http://eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Daniel Elbert, Brian Fowler, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Golden Princess cruise (GPC), Jessica Greer, Dawn Harris (DHa), Sandy Hayden (SHa), William Hemstrom (WHe), Sally Hill (SHi), Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Jack Hurt, Penelope Kaczmarek, Maureen Leong-Kee, Janet Lamberson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Lincoln Co. No. Am. Migration Count (LNAMC) on 9/20-21 compiled by DV, Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Nicholas Martens, Sue Martin, Kathy Merrifield, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable in search box at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Laimons & Vicki Osis, Ram Papish, Sebastian Pardo, Mike Patterson, Chuck Philo, William Proebsting, Ryan Schain, Jim Scott, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Dawn Villaescusa, Catherine Winans, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) 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/): BEAVER CREEK (#78, in part): creek flowing through Ona Beach State Park (now known as Brian Booth 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, ECKMAN LAKE (#84): lake 2 mi east of Waldport along HWY 34, "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 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, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (requires recreation pass or vehicle entrance fee).
The project is to create a "Bird Abundance Chart and Checklist" for the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, similar to the one created last year for the Nestucca Bay Refuge [which is available through "Download the bird checklist for Nestucca Bay NWR" link in the right column at http://www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/nestuccabay/ ].
Most of the Siletz Bay Refuge is currently restricted access, but much of it can be viewed from public roads or the Bay/tide water, and there are plans to open up more of the Refuge to the public, so we think information about species seen there will be useful to visiting birders.
I will be the focal point for gathering data for this project, and Dawn Harris out of the Newport US Fish and Wildlife Office will be the focal point for creating the pamphlet and getting it published. My plan is to bird the Refuge twice per month on land, and once per month by boat. (Most of the Bay is viewable from Refuge property, so we intend to count birds seen on the Bay.) After a year or two of gathering data, we will create the checklist, based on all relevant data we can obtain, including previously published material.
If any of you are interested in participating, that would be great. I will be entering species seen in eBird under the "hotspot" Siletz Bay NWR. There are several other eBird "hotspots" around that area, and if you use eBird and enter data for any of them I'll be able to easily include it. If you don't use eBird, but do keep track of birds seen and their numbers for each visit, I would take that data any way you can provide it, and use it to improve the quality of the generated pamphlet.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Thanks, Jack Hurt, 503-789-3256
On 9/24, SH heard and saw 2 separate skeins of GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE winging their way to the southeast 4 miles east of Siletz. This was our only inland report and fits the pattern of white-fronts crossing the Coast Range rather than migrating south ("Spring and fall migration of geese across the Coast Range of Lincoln Co., Oregon". 1995. Oregon Birds 21:10-12 at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/oregon-birds-1995-goose-migration.pdf). On 10/16, 18 were grounded at Bayview Pasture about 0.2 mile east of the junction of S. Beaver Creek Road and Bayview Road at the north side of Alsea Bay; they have wintered in this area up into the Beaver Creek the past 2 winters (WHo). The latest report was of 4 on 10/19 (eBird).
On 10/16, WHo discovered an uncommon SNOW GOOSE in a field with about 50 Western Canada Geese about one-half mile north of Bayview Road along north Alsea Bay on South Beaver Creek Road.
The first BRANT flew past Boiler Bay and the YBSJ on 10/23 (PP; WHo), and the first Brant (6) at their embayment wintering areas in Yaquina Bay arrived the next day (TW).
RL first noted ALEUTIAN CACKLING GEESE flying south over the HMSC on 9/29. On 10/16, WHo counted 25 on the ground at Bayview Pasture about 0.2 mile east of the junction of S. Beaver Creek Road and Bayview Road, where he noted 25-30 overwintering last year. The latest migrating flock passed during PP's 10/23 Boiler Bay seawatch.
WHo discerned 3 female-plumaged BLUE-WINGED TEAL on the water a short distance west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 10/16. As WHo notes, they are rare here, and "this seems a bit late as well."
Although a few single LONG-TAILED DUCKS apparently oversummered at several Lincoln Co. locations until 10/4 (eBird), migrants don't usually arrive until late October, and the first report of a probable migrant (SemiL) was 1 flying by Boiler Bay on 10/23 (PP).
Other arriving ducks include: AMERICAN WIGEON on 9/25 at Siletz Bay (DV), BUFFLEHEAD and RUDDY DUCK on 10/3 at Sally's Bend (MB), GREATER SCAUP on 10/3 at Yachats (MD), EURASIAN WIGEON on 10/19 at Idaho Flats (DHo), LESSER SCAUP on 10/19 at Sally's Bend (DHo) and Eckman Lake (HH & OH), and RING-NECKED DUCK on 10/24 at Devils Lake at Lincoln City (DN).
A southerly scoter migration, 90+% of which were SURF SCOTERS, was watched during Boiler Bay seawatches, with peak estimates of 20,000-25,000+ on 10/26 (PP, DI & SF, WHo). JGr & WHe found CALIFORNIA QUAIL at Beaver Creek State Natural Area on 10/18, which is the 2nd record this year (FN).
[Image Not Included: Ernie Rose's Oct. 25 photo of an adult salmon splashing its way along the surface of the very shallow mouth of D River (Lincoln City) with the ocean surf in the background. This salmon had been going upstream but had just "managed to get away from the Brown Pelican by making a sharp U-turn". Some coastal streams are so shallow, depending on stream flow and tidal conditions, that adult salmon are similarly exposed as they try to go upstream.]
[Image Not Included: Ernie Rose's Oct. 25 photo of an adult coho salmon in the pouch of an adult Brown Pelican at the mouth of D River in the same area as the above photo. The pelican extended its wings for stability but still looked off-balance. The pelican held the salmon briefly, and Ernie observed: "A wave came in, the pelican dunked its head in the water, and when it came back up, the fish was gone."
Although pelicans can catch adult salmon here under these conditions, pelicans swallow their prey whole, so it is extremely doubtful that the pelican could have swallowed the coho because of the coho's girth. Brown Pelicans weigh about 8 lbs (http://www.nps.gov/chis/naturescience/brown-pelican.htm) and adult cohos average 8 lbs (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/cohosalmon.htm). Even if the pelican had swallowed it, taking off and flying seems unlikely. Perhaps the coho is so clearly visible because its weight and length greatly stretch the pouch skin.
This photo evokes the first two lines of Dixon Lanier Merritt's limerick that is often misattributed to Ogden Nash: "A wonderful bird is the pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican ..."]
Southward loon migration was visible during seawatches, with 80+% being PACIFIC LOONS and usually many more RED-THROATED than COMMON LOONS. The peak estimate was during the 10/26 Boiler Bay seawatch, when DI & SF estimated 20,000 Pacifics, 3,000 Red-throateds, and 2,500 Commons and commented: "There were many more thousands of loons streaming past the entire time that we were present, but they were not all identified to species. In all we believe that perhaps as many as 80,000 total loons passed during our 4-hr seawatch." DI & SF added that this was the "biggest flight of Common Loons we have ever seen."
Arrivals include EARED GREBE on 10/5 at Yaquina Head (TB), and CLARK'S GREBE at Boiler Bay also on 10/5 (MB; JB; HA).
80 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were counted offshore during the 10/4 BGPT, and 3 were spotted from Boiler Bay about 2-3 miles offshore on 10/19 (DI & PP).
3,500+ and 7,000+ NORTHERN FULMARS were estimated passing Boiler Bay on 10/23 & 26, respectively (PP; PP, DI & SF, WHo). 600-800+ PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS also flew by during the 10/19 & 23 Boiler Bay seawatches (DI & PP; PP).
In Sept., BLo's beached bird team found 1 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER and 1 LEACH'S STORM-PETREL along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (L&VO, D&JD).
The offshore 10/4 BGPT happened across a rare ASHY STORM-PETREL and an uncommon FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER in a swarm of seabirds behind one of a number of fishing boats (TS & others).
1-2 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS were seen from Boiler Bay on 10/23 & 25 (PP; WHo), and 4 LEACH'S STORM PETRELS and a juvenile rare BROWN BOOBY were also there on 10/23 (PP).
Southerly migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were also noted (m.ob.).
On 9/26, RL viewed 2 juvenile RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS outside his office window at the HMSC that appeared to be siblings by the way they interacted. After this date, there were 11 reports of singletons and none of 2 or more (m.ob.).
Single MERLINS were in Newport in early Oct. (RB), Waldport on 10/19 (AC, HH, OH, & TH), and Boiler Bay on 10/23 (PP), and the only AMERICAN KESTREL was at South Drift Cr. Road (Lincoln City) on 10/19 (DI). There were 14 reports of 1-2 PEREGRINE FALCONS (m. ob.).
A PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER visited Siletz Bay on 10/3 (MD), and, on 10/11, an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was near the HMSC Nature Trail (WHo) and at Lincoln City (ES). There were 3 sightings of BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, with a high count of 36 at Siletz Bay on 10/3 (MD).
ME located flocks of 21 and 30 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS on 10/16 & 25, respectively, at the mouth of Depoe Bay. Such large flocks seem to only occur in fall and winter when their intertidal foraging areas are submerged.
2-4 MARBLED GODWITS were at Idaho Flats on 9/24 & 10/12 (SH; N&TA), and 1-2 were at the Gull Puddle along the YBSJ on 10/22 (WHo; DHo; JS). A LESSER YELLOWLEGS was at Yaquina Head on 9/24 (BLM) and north Alsea Bay on 10/16 (WHo), and WILSON'S SNIPES arrived in Toledo on 10/7 (JL) and at SaL's grassy yard in Yachats on 10/20.
3,000-4,000+ RED PHALAROPES and a very few RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were noted during Boiler Bay seawatches on 10/23 & 26 (PP; PP, DI & SF, WHo).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's Oct. 9 photo of an immature Red-shouldered Hawk outside the USFWS building at the HMSC. While waiting, it conserves energy by pulling one foot up into its feathers to reduce heat loss. A partial web is visible between its inside toes, and the juvenal yellow iris is barely visible.]
An uncommon FRANKLIN'S GULL was at Boiler Bay on 10/26 (PP, DI, WHo).
CALIFORNIA GULLS were moving south in large numbers, with a peak estimate of 15,000-20,000+ during the 10/26 Boiler Bay seawatch after a big storm (PP, DI & SF, WHo). During the same seawatch, as many as 7,500 HEERMANN'S GULLS, 5,000+ MEW GULLS, 2,500+ HERRING GULLS, 2,000+ BONAPARTE'S GULLS, 1,500+ WESTERN GULLS, 500 GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, 200 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, 8+ THAYER'S GULLS, and 4 SABINE'S GULLS were also estimated (PP, DI & SF, WHo).
The latest CASPIAN TERN was at Siletz Bay on 9/25 (JH), 1-12 COMMON TERNS were at the YBSJ on 9/28 (JW) and Boiler Bay on 10/11 (ES), and 7 ARCTIC TERNS were on a large raft of kelp off Depoe Bay on 10/24 (JGi). ELEGANT TERNS continued through 10/26 at Boiler Bay (PP, DI, WHo), and the high count was 63 at the YBSJ on 10/25 (WHo).
3 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS were found during the 10/4 BGPT (TS & others), and another was near Boiler Bay on 10/23 (PP). POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGERS were observed during the 10/4 BGPT (TS & others) and during coastal observations (m.ob.). The 10/4 BGPT detected the only LONG-TAILED JAEGER (TS & others).
BLo's beached bird team tallied 22 adult and 18 juvenile COMMON MURRES in Sept. along 4.6 miles of beach north of Ona Beach (L&VO, D&JD). These surveys began in 1978, and this Sept. tied for the 2nd highest Sept. total of adults. Sept. 2013 was highest with 58. This year, beached adults have been higher than usual during both Aug. and Sept. The number of Sept. juveniles is not unusual.
A Common Murre at Depot Slough in Toledo at about River Mile 12.5 surprised CP on 10/14. This is unusually high in Yaquina Estuary for Common Murres, which are rare upstream of about River Mile 5, with most downstream of about River Mile 3. It appeared healthy and was swimming and diving, so perhaps it was a lost young-of-the-year murre.
A MARBLED MURRELET was at Yaquina Head on 9/14 (BLM), and they were often seen in Oct. (m.ob.).
2 first-of-season ANCIENT MURRELETS were on the water at Boiler Bay on 10/19 (DI & PP), and 20-40+ were there on 10/23 & 26 (PP; PP, DI, WHo).
CASSIN'S AUKLETS are uncommon from shore but there were 8 reports during the reporting period. The peak estimate was 30,000+ on 10/26 at Boiler Bay (PP, DI & SF, WHo). DI & SF wrote: "The flight of Cassin's Auklets was the largest that we've ever seen and I believe the largest ever seen by PP, who lives nearby and spends many days per year tallying the flights past Boiler Bay State Wayside." However, this extraordinary number of nearshore Cassin's may be an indicator that they were stressed, since RM saw many beached Cassin's near Road's End in north Lincoln City the same day (10/26) (fide DV).
On 10/7 & 8, a BARRED OWL was calling between 2 AM and 3:30 AM very near RL's house in Waldport. On 10/23, BBh found a road-killed one north of Yachats, and there were 4 additional reports of singletons (eBird).
A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER put on a good show of drilling holes in a birch tree and waiting for insects to come to the sap that welled out during 9/22-26 in Newport (MH). The next day a Red-breasted was "cavorting" with a rare RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER in CP's Toledo yard. The most Red-breasted's were 2 at No. Beaver Creek on 10/16 (LO), and there were 3 additional records through the end of the 10/26 reporting period (eBird).
During 10/19, PL found a TROPICAL KINGBIRD hawking insects at 1206 SW Abbey Street, just north of the Newport Bayfront. It was also there on 10/20-21 (PL; DHo). On 10/20, CP presumably saw the same Tropical Kingbird on top of a windblown spruce tree at 749 SW 11th Street, which is about 300-400 ft south of 1206 SW Abbey. [On 10/26, SS & AS found one at SW 12th St, which is about 3.5 blocks southwest of the SW Abbey kingbird location. So at least one may be moving around in that general area.]
Also on 10/19, 2 Tropical Kingbirds were blown about by the wind above the Port of Alsea docks at Waldport (AC, HH, OH, & TH).
WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS have become regular at favored areas in Newport, including 1 around City Hall on 10/4 (MN) and regularly at feeders near NE 7th & Coos Streets in October (PR). But this month, they were also at more unusual spots, including 2 at B&MBr's feeders at Thornton Creek Road between Toledo and Eddyville on 10/1 and singletons in Yachats on 10/3 (MD) and about 2 miles N of Siletz on 10/7 (JL).
AMERICAN PIPITS continued into Oct. with a high count of 10 on 10/5 (eBird). They were last noted on 10/19 at Boiler Bay (DI).
Other arrivals include FOX SPARROW on 9/27 at Siletz Bay (JH) and on 9/29 just north of Ona Beach (RC), 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS on 9/28 at Yaquina Head (WHo), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER on 9/29 at the HMSC (VB), RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET on 9/28 at the HMSC Nature Trail (WHo), HERMIT THRUSH on 10/11 in Lincoln City (ES), and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW on 10/14 in Newport (DHo) and 10/16 in Toledo (DHa). On 10/5 at South Beach State Park, JB saw an apparently migratory flock of 202 Yellow-rumped Warblers that flew "in from the West, most continuing past me overhead" and 3 Lapland Longspurs (eBird).
Departures or latest sightings include WILSON'S WARBLER on 9/25 at the Salishan Nature Trail (south Siletz Bay) (DV), NASHVILLE WARBLER on 9/27 along Depoe Slough in Toledo (CP), LESSER GOLDFINCH on 9/29 at a Newport feeder (DHo), a SWAINSON'S THRUSH and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT on 10/5 at South Beach State Park (JB), BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD on 10/7 in Toledo (JL), 2 PALM WARBLERS on 10/9 in Lincoln City (TC), BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER on 10/18 at Beaver Creek (JGr & WHe), and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER on 10/26 at the HMSC (DI & SF).
On 10/9, TC found a leucistic Yellow-rumped Warbler in a flock of 25 in Lincoln City and wrote "The front part looked like a normal Yellow-rump. The wings, tail and undertail looked like a Snow Bunting - very starkly marked in black and white. I don't recall ever seeing a leucistic warbler before."
On 10/22, PR telephoned that he had a BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE in Newport with a white-back that should have been gray, but normal head colors. It was with a normal-plumaged Black-capped Chickadee, and there was no reddish color on its flanks like a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.
Leucistic birds have pale or white feathers that can sometimes make species identifications more challenging. For more information, see http://birding.about.com/od/identifyingbirds/a/leucism.htm & http://www.sibleyguides.com/2011/08/abnormal-coloration-in-birds-melanin-reduction/
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Nagi Taghrid Aboulenein, Heather Alexander, Betty Bahn (BBh), Bill and Margy Barss (B&MBr), Range Bayer, Bird Guide Pelagic Trip out of Newport (BGPT; info about pelagic trips at http://thebirdguide.com/pelagics/), Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), BirdNotes.net, Mike Bogar, Jeffrey Bolsinger, Trent Bray, Vickie Buck, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, Tom Crabtree, Dave & Jean Dempster (D&JD), Mark Dennis, http://eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Mark Elliott, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, Jeff Gilligan (JGi), Jessica Greer (JGr), Oscar Harper, Dawn Harris (DHa), William Hemstrom (WHe), Hendrik Herlyn, Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Mary Holbert, Deb Holland (DHo), Signe Hurd, Jack Hurt, Tristen Hynes, David Irons, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Rick Mark, m.ob. (multiple observers), Doug Niwa, Michael Noack, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable in search box at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Laimons Vicki Osis, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Paul Reed, Stefan Schlick, Elliot Schunke, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Jackie Shipley, Aaron Skirvin, Tom Snetsinger, Dawn Villaescusa, Tom Wainwright, Jay Withgott.
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 (now known as Brian Booth 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, "GULL PUDDLE/SPOT": 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 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, SALMON RIVER ESTUARY (#44 and 45): estuary at north end of Lincoln Co.; the mouth is in Tillamook Co., SPANISH HEAD: pullout north of Inn at Spanish Head at 4009 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City, TIDEWATER: about 8 mi east of Waldport, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (requires recreation pass or vehicle entrance fee).
12 GR. WHITE-FRONTED were on the ground within the fenced-off area around the LNG tank west of Sally's Bend on 11/1 & 5 (N&TA; JL).
An uncommon SNOW GOOSE was at Lincoln City on 11/10 & 12 (BH; DR, JC, THa), and the high count of BRANT at Yaquina Bay was 103 on 11/5 (JW).
ALEUTIAN CACKLING GOOSE (ACG) flights continued with at least 5,000 on 10/31 and 1,900 in just 40 minutes on 11/1 over Lincoln City (PP). Also on 11/1, USFWS biologist RL saw two flocks of 200 over Newport and noted "When I started looking at ACG in the mid-1970's the number I saw in those two flocks would have constituted 50% of the world population! Amazing recovery." Some ACG were dropping out of migration with 17 and 50 feeding on the grass at the former High School football field in downtown Waldport on 11/2 &16, respectively (RL). On 11/5, JL found 25 inside the fence around the LNG tank.
On 10/29, a flock of 8 TUNDRA SWANS briefly landed on the water near the south edge corner of Idaho Flats (RL & DHa).
There were 12 reports of EURASIAN WIGEON. WHo had the high count on 11/8 and wrote: "I scoped a flock of 800+ American Wigeons near the LNG Tank in Sally's Bend and counted 14 drake Eurasian Wigeons. 2 of them might have been hybrids. I was also able to pick out 4 females, and presume there were more."
1-2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS and 1-11 HARLEQUIN DUCKS were recorded 8 and 18 times, respectively.
Arriving waterfowl included CANVASBACK on 11/1 during a Boiler Bay seawatch (WHo), COMMON GOLDENEYE on 11/12 at Sally's Bend (SHi), BARROW'S GOLDENEYE and a hybrid BARROW'S x COMMON GOLDENEYE on 11/14 at the YBSJ (WHo), and 1 REDHEAD on 11/16 at Yaquina Bay (MA & MR).
Presumably the same CHUKAR found at Yaquina Head during June-Aug. 1 was noticed again on 10/3 (BLM). For as tame as this probable escapee has been, it seems miraculous that it has survived.
A CLARK'S GREBE was at Sally's Bend on 11/5 (JW) and Depoe Bay on 11/15 (THa).
During a seawatch at Spanish Head (Lincoln City) on 11/6, PP spotted an ALBATROSS SP. about 3 miles offshore.
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's Nov. 16 © photo of Aleutian Cackling Geese at the former Waldport High School football field. Three first-year geese are foraging in the foreground, and an adult is alert in the background. The adult has the characteristic flat-topped head and steep forehead of Aleutians, and the adult-characteristic white neck-ring and vertical dark barring along the flanks. The first-year birds have no signs of neck-rings and no barring on the flanks.]
On 10/23, PP spotted a juvenile rare BROWN BOOBY at Boiler Bay.
On 10/30, JGu discovered another Brown Booby at the Newport Bayfront, and thanks to his prompt reporting WHo also saw it and reported it the same day. Consequently, the Bayfront booby was often seen with at least 40 reports on OBOL and eBird, and it was last noted on 11/19. Besides perching on the Newport breakwater and nearby channel markers, it also sometimes foraged in the channel.
On 11/2, SN saw the Bayfront booby and then later saw and photographed a Brown Booby perched upstream on Navigation Marker 14 off the mouth of King Slough and Idaho Point Marina (which are east of Idaho Flats) and wondered if it was the same booby (fide WHo). Through careful observations on 11/3, WHo verified that there were indeed 2 different Brown Boobies present at the same time: one at Marker 14 and another at the Newport Bayfront. Both boobies were also seen on 11/3 (DV; CP), and the Marker 14 booby was viewed by at least 5 observers and was last specifically reported on 11/8 (AL).
WHo analyzed his photos of the Bayfront and Marker 14 boobies and discerned that the Bayfront booby was a female that appeared to be 18-36 months old and the Marker 14 booby was an adult female. Accordingly, there were at least 3 Brown Boobies in Lincoln Co. as of 11/19, since PP's booby was a juvenile.
Then during a 11/22 Boiler Bay seawatch, WHo spotted an immature Brown Booby that was dark-billed with little contrast between breast and belly.
[Image Not Included: Jack Doyle's Oct. 31 © photo of a female Brown Booby readying to dive in the channel by the Newport Bayfront breakwater.]
11/7 was a good day for DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT southward migration. In the morning, PP "saw a single flock of over 1,000 Double-cresteds headed south over Lincoln City, flying in a shallow V stretching from the other side of the surf to 1/4 inland. Probably over 1/2 mile long end to end. Fun stuff." Flocks of 110-175 were also noted over Newport that day (RB).
BROWN PELICANS lingered through the end of the Nov. 25 reporting period, and in past years some have remained in winter.
An AMERICAN BITTERN heard along South Beaver Creek Road during the 11/11 Coastal Raptor Route (JL, CP, WHo) is our first since May 2009 and only our 6th since 1999 (FN). However, bitterns are probably much more common than our few records indicate because secretive freshwater marsh birds such as bitterns and Soras can easily be missed.
A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON at Yaquina Bay on 11/17 & 23 (PL; CP) is only our second record since Nov. 2012 (FN).
At dusk on 10/23, KM observed an adult GREAT BLUE HERON struggling to swallow a sculpin-like fish that was about 1.25 longer than the heron's bill at Sally's Bend. Unfortunately, waning light prevented seeing if the heron ate the fish or abandoned it because it was too large; GBH's sometimes catch & abandon too large of fish (RB).
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 non-overlapping Raptor Routes. The North Lincoln Raptor Route (see map at http://goo.gl/maps/cqiSX) is 25 miles and is around the Salmon River Estuary and east shore of Devils's Lake and was done on 11/10 by DV. The Inland or Yaquina River-Siletz Raptor Route is about 65-70 miles long; it was completed on 11/7 by JL & CP and took 4.6 hours. The Coastal Route is about 60-66 miles and runs along HWY 101 from the north side of Alsea Bay to the Taft area of Lincoln City, with nearby inland valleys; it was done on 11/11 by JL, CP, & WHo and took 5.3 hr.
Red-tailed Hawk was the most abundant species on each Route, and Bald Eagle was the second-most numerous species for the North Lincoln and Coastal Routes. Statewide, the 5 most numerous ("prominent") species in decreasing order are Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and Rough-legged Hawk, with these constituting about 90-93% of all raptors during Dec.-Feb. (see chart for "five most prominent species" at http://www.ecbcbirds.org/Default.aspx?tabid=73).
JL commented that the 11/11 Coastal Raptor Run encountered an apparent southward migration of RED-TAILED HAWKS under clear skies with a stiff east wind. About 30 Red-tails flew south between Alsea Bay and Beaver Creek, and more were later seen that were also mostly flying southward. The 61 Red-tails that the Coastal Route tallied may be a record high for that Route. RB does not remember previous reports of Red-tails migrating south in fall here, but such flights could have been easily missed because of a lack of hawkwatch observation effort specifically to detect such flights.
----------------------------------------- North|Inland|Coast 11/|11/ |11/ Raptor 10 | 7 |11 ----------------------------------------- White-tailed Kite 0 | 0 | 0 Bald Eagle adult 5 | 0 | 7 " subadults 1 | 0 | 1 Northern Harrier 0 | 0 | 6 Sharp-shin. Hawk 1 | 1 | 4 Cooper's Hawk 0 | 0 | 0 unknown accipiter 0 | 0 | 1 Red-should. Hawk 1 | 0 | 0 Red-tailed Hawk 7 |15 |61 Am. Kestrel 0 | 2 | 0 Merlin 0 | 0 | 0 Peregrine Falcon 0 | 0 | 2 SUM 15 |18 |82
OTHER RAPTOR NOTES. Late TURKEY VULTURES include 2 on 11/5 at Thornton Creek between Toledo and Eddyville (DF) and 2 during the 11/11 Coastal Raptor Route (JL, CP, WHo).
The latest OSPREY were singles near Eckman Lake on 11/7 (RL) and downstream of Toledo on 11/11 (AC & THy).
A WHITE-TAILED KITE was in the Salmon River area near HWY 101 on 11/10 & 24 (SM; DHo).
There were 14+ reports of RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS (m.ob.).
D&LF found an uncommon ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK in the pasture south of East Three Rocks Road in the Salmon River area on 11/23, and it was relocated on 11/24 in the HWY 101-Three Rocks Road area (DV; DHo).
Besides during the 11/7 Inland Raptor Route, an AMERICAN KESTREL was at north Beaver Creek on 10/31 (DHo) and near the Alsea River upstream of Tidewater on 11/25 (JHu).
A MERLIN was at Boiler Bay on 11/1 (WHo), and there were also 8 records of singletons in the South Beach area (m.ob.).
1-2 PEREGRINE FALCONS were frequently viewed (m.ob.), including 2 at Seal Rocks during the 11/22 YBNFT (EH).
Flocks of 10 or more BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS at Depoe Bay included 22 on 11/5 (PK), 26 on 11/10 (MB), and 18 on 11/16 (PS & CK). The 11/22 YBNFT also surveyed 22 at Seal Rocks (EH). Such large flocks seem to occur in fall and winter when oystercatcher foraging areas are tidally submerged.
4 MARBLED GODWITS lingered at Idaho Flats on 11/9 (MLK & NM).
On 10/29 at the YBSJ, WHo discovered a first-of-season ROCK SANDPIPER, and 3 more were appreciated at Seal Rocks during the 11/22 YBNFT (EH).
Departures include 3-7 ELEGANT TERNS on 10/28 at the YBSJ area (WHo; PS & CK; JS) and 8 HEERMANN'S GULLS on 11/18 at Boiler Bay (PP).
At Spanish Head, PP spotted 6 POMARINE JAEGERS and a probable LONG-TAILED JAEGER on 11/7. At Boiler Bay, 1-2 Pomarines were also viewed during 10/27-11/23 (SR; PP; WHo), and a PARASITIC JAEGER was found on 11/9 (PP).
ANCIENT MURRELETS and MARBLED MURRELETS were commonly reported with a peak count of 19 Marbleds at Boiler Bay on 10/27 (PP) and 110+ and 220+ Ancients at Boiler Bay on 11/17 & 23, respectively (PP). Ancients often outnumber Marbleds here in winter.
Cassin's are generally uncommon to rare from shore here, but as noted in last month's newsletter, there were 8 records in Oct. with a peak estimate of 30,000+ on 10/26 at Boiler Bay (PP, DI & SF, WHo). DI & SF wrote: "The flight of Cassin's Auklets was the largest that we've ever seen."
In Nov., Cassin's Auklet numbers were much reduced compared to late Oct., but they were still more frequent and numerous than in most years. There were 18 records during the reporting period through 11/25 with peaks counts at Boiler Bay of 63 on 11/2 (SN) and 60 on 11/23 (PP). The extremely high number of nearshore Cassin's on 10/26 may be an indicator that they were stressed, since RM found many beached Cassin's near Road's End in north Lincoln City the same day (10/26) (fide DV). Further, in the first week of Nov. CP found 27 that were beached south of South Beach State Park (fide WHo), and MM with the BLM also reported on 11/8 that many visitors to Yaquina Head were concerned about finding many dead Cassin's on nearby beaches. Many beached Cassin's were detected in Oct. and Nov. in Oregon (e.g., see "Sightings: Cassin's Auklet 'Wreck' Arrives on Oregon Coast" at http://www.oregonshores.org/narrative.php5?nid=1365) and California ("Large-scale Die-off of Small Seabird along Sonoma Coast" http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3145997-181/large-scale-die-off-of-small-seabird and "High Ocean Temperatures Endangering Seabirds?" at http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_26950221/warm-ocean-temperatures-endangering-seabirds).
These Internet sources indicate that one factor in the high numbers of beached Cassin's this season may be their extraordinarily high nesting success this year (with increased numbers of juveniles, more can be expected to die).
Preliminary results indicate that this die-off includes mostly emaciated, juvenile Cassin's and that starvation rather than disease or toxic exposure may be causing the mortality. Factors that may be involved in their starvation this Oct.-Nov. include abnormally warm ocean temperatures, decreased upwelling, and cyclical weather patterns that could affect their food abundance and availability. An excerpt from "High Ocean Temperatures Endangering Seabirds?" states: "The stalled ocean upwelling means that tiny zooplankton, like krill, are not arising from cold depths. A shortage of zooplankton was detected during research tests in September by a ship with the Applied California Current Ecosystem Studies. That's tough for seabirds like auklets, which only eat zooplankton."
Seeing abnormally high numbers of live Cassin's Auklets as well as fulmars and phalaropes close to shore in late fall and winter can often, but not always, be a predictor that higher than usual numbers of them will also wash ashore dead.
The latest BAND-TAILED PIGEON was in South Beach on 11/19 (EH).
A dead BARN OWL was by the roadside of East Devil's Lake Road on 11/11 (RM), and there were 3 BARRED OWL records.
Our only RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was at Hudson Loop between Toledo and Siletz on 11/22 (JL).
A BLACK PHOEBE at Nute Slough (which is at about mile 9.3 along north Yaquina Bay Road) on 10/27 (JHa) and at the end of Ellingson Street in Depoe Bay on 10/28 (PS & CK) are only the 3rd & 4th reports since last May (FN). They have been much less common this year than last year.
The TROPICAL KINGBIRD in the 1206 SW Abbey Street area in Newport continued on 10/30 (PL) and 11/4 (WHo), and probably the same one was about 3.5 blocks southwest on 10/26 (SS & AS). Another was at the Coquille Point pull-out just beyond Milepost 3 along Yaquina Bay Road on 11/5 (JL; JW); JW wrote:
"I heard the kingbird vocalizing soon after I stepped from my car. When I saw it, it was hurtling through the air being pursued by a Sharp-shinned Hawk! They raced past the pilings out over the water and the hawk came within inches, but the kingbird got away. The adrenalin-pumped kingbird flew up to the tallest conifer it could find and continued chittering away. At the risk of anthropomorphizing a bit, it seemed to be living up to its Kingbirdness -- issuing challenges and daring its enemies to come after it, then boasting to the world once it had vanquished them."
A WESTERN SCRUB-JAY was at the USFWS feeder at the HMSC on 11/5 (RL; WHe), and another was about a mile north of Fogarty Creek State Park north of Depoe Bay on 11/11 (AC & THy).
An uncommon HORNED LARK was on the beach near the YBSJ on 11/8 (SR), which is only our 9th record since 1998 (FN). Most of our recent sightings have been in February in the short grass at the YBSJ.
A flock of 3 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS was about 4 miles east of Siletz on 10/27 (SHu), and a flock of 14 was in a clearcut about 8 mi north of Logsden on 11/7 (CA).
Departures include WILSON'S WARBLER on 10/23 at Yaquina Head (BLM), AMERICAN PIPIT on 11/8 at Yaquina Bay & Boiler Bay (eBird), and CEDAR WAXWING on 11/8 at Waldport (SCA).
2 SNOW BUNTINGS flying around the rocks at the south Seal Rock pullout on 11/11 (JL, CP, WHo) are our first since last November (FN).
A PALM WARBLER was at the HMSC on 11/2 (SN), and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was in Newport on 11/21 & 25 (DHo).
On 10/27, WHo identified a rare GRASSHOPPER SPARROW at the "Gull Spot" about 0.6 mile west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. This is our 4th record overall and first in fall (SemiL; FN).
On 11/5, RL was appreciating a WESTERN MEADOWLARK at the HMSC, when a Sharp-shinned Hawk chased an unknown bird into vegetation and unsuccessfully returned. The Sharpie then went after the meadowlark and nailed it in its talons, but the meadowlark broke free and got away.
[Image Not Included: Eric Horvath's Nov. 15 photo of a closed-eyed Barred Owl perched in South Beach.]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Sharon Cormier-Aagaard (SCA), Marilyn Abend, Nagi &Taghrid Aboulenein, Christopher Adlam, Mark Baldwin, Range Bayer, Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), BirdNotes.net, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Alan Contreras, Jenna Curtis, Jack Doyle, eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Darrel & Laura Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Shawneen Finnegan, John Gutherie (JGu), Beverly Hallberg, Tyler Hallman (THa), Dawn Harris (DHa), Jeff Harding (JHa), William Hemstrom (WHe), Sally Hill (SHi), Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Signe Hurd (SHu), Jack Hurt (JHu), Tristen Hynes (THy), David Irons, Carol Karlen, Maureen Leong-Kee (MLK), Philip Kline, Janet Lamberson, Pete Lawson, Ardis Letey, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Roy Lowe, Rick Mark, Nicholas Martens, Meredith Matherly, Sylvia Maulding, Kathy Merrifield, m.ob. (multiple observers), Steve Nord, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable in search box 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, Mary Ratcliff, Douglas Robinson, Skip Russell, Stefan Schlick, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Aaron Skirvin, Jackie Shipley, Paul Sullivan, Dawn Villaescusa, Jay 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 (now known as Brian Booth 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, 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 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, 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., SPANISH HEAD: pullout north of Inn at Spanish Head at 4009 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (requires recreation pass or vehicle entrance fee without a recreation pass such as the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport or America the Beautiful Passes).
DV preliminarily comments that they found 128 species and had about 40 volunteers. Some species are discussed in the following sections. Thanks to DV, CW, and the other Lincoln City CBC organizers & participants!
On 12/25, 16 GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were inside the chain-link fence around the LNG tank (RB). This is the second winter in a row that white-fronts or Western Canada or Cackling Geese have often been inside the fence, where they apparently feel protected from nearby walking people and dogs.
WHo found a ROSS'S GOOSE on 12/7 at Beaver Creek with Western Canada Geese. It was also studied & identified on 12/8 & 21 (DHo; BF). This is only our 3rd record and is the first non-flying one seen by more than one person. PP reported the previous two records of singletons flying north past Boiler Bay with Aleutian Cackling Geese in April 2000 and 2007 (FN).
A REDHEAD was at Yaquina Bay on 11/26 (RMo; D&DT), and 2 BARROW'S GOLDENEYES were in lower Yaquina Bay on 12/9 (WHe).
The Yaquina Head semi-tame CHUKAR persisted to at least 11/1 (BLM), and a CALIFORNIA QUAIL was also there on 11/29 (BLM).
PP's Boiler Bay and Spanish Head seawatches indicate that loon migration continued through 12/21, with RED-THROATED LOONS predominating and PACIFIC LOONS next most abundant. A CLARK'S GREBE was at Yaquina Bay on 11/26 (D&DT).
During seawatches at Boiler Bay, PP spotted a BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS within about 1.5 mile from shore on 11/29, and, on 12/21, an adult rare BROWN BOOBY about 1.5 mile offshore and a LAYSAN ALBATROSS about 2 miles offshore.
There were 20+ reports of BROWN PELICANS in Dec. through the 12/28 report period with high counts of 180 on 12/11 and 100 on 12/20 (m.ob.). Late December sightings are not unusual.
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 Devils's Lake and was done on 11/6 by DV. The Inland or Yaquina River-Siletz Raptor Route is about 65-70 miles long and is from the LNG tank upstream along Yaquina Bay Road, Hidden Valley, and Toledo north to Kernville along HWY 229; it was completed on 11/6 and 12/3 by JL & CP and took 4.6-4.9 hr. 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; it was done on 11/11 by JL, CP, & WHo; and on 12/3 by JL & CP; on both dates it took 5.3 hr.
----------------------------------------- North|Inland |Coast 11/|11/ 12/|11/ 12/ Raptor 10 | 7 3 |11 12 ----------------------------------------- White-tailed Kite 0 | 0 3 | 0 0 Bald Eagle adult 5 | 0 1 | 7 6 " subadults 1 | 0 0 | 1 0 Northern Harrier 0 | 0 1 | 6 3 Sharp-shin. Hawk 1 | 1 2 | 4 1 Cooper's Hawk 0 | 0 1 | 0 1 unknown accipiter 0 | 0 0 | 1 0 Red-should. Hawk 1 | 0 1 | 0 5 Red-tailed Hawk 7 |15 10 |61 11 Am. Kestrel 0 | 2 4 | 0 0 Merlin 0 | 0 0 | 0 0 Peregrine Falcon 0 | 0 2 | 2 1 SUM 15 |18 26 |82 28
In Dec., Red-tailed Hawks were the most abundant species along the Inland and Coast Routes, though their Coast Route numbers plummeted from the unusually high numbers during Nov. For the Coast Route, Bald Eagles (6) barely edged out Red-shouldered Hawks (5) for being next-most abundant. On the Inland Route, kestrels were the second-most abundant, and it was the only Route with kestrels. Statewide, the 5 most numerous ("prominent") species in decreasing order are Red-tailed Hawk, American 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 http://www.ecbcbirds.org/Default.aspx?tabid=73).
Raptors other than on the Raptor Routes include a lingering OSPREY at about milepost 1 along the Siletz River during the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (JL), 1-2 WHITE-TAILED KITES in the Salmon River area on 11/27, 12/2, 12/6, and the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (RMa; KC; DV; eBird); a NORTHERN GOSHAWK at Thornton Creek between Toledo and Eddyville on 12/12 (DF), and RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS (11 reports by m.ob.).
Additionally, the ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK in the Salmon River area first reported on 11/23 (D&LF) was last reported on 11/27 (RMa), and a MERLIN was watched at Beaver Creek on 12/12 (DP) and at the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (JH).
TS discovered and reported 5 SNOWY PLOVERS at the SBSP on 12/4. The next day, DE & AO tallied 6; DE wrote that 4 of these were banded and "3 of the band combos indicate that they were hatch-year birds banded on the Oregon Coast during the 2014 breeding period. 1 of them only had a metal USGS band, which indicates it is likely a bird that was banded in Washington. With this observation, a minimum of 7 snowy plovers and a maximum of 9 snowy plovers have been observed at SBSP in 2014. Pretty incredible, given that we have not observed them at SBSP in more than 25 years. Another sign that the Oregon coast population is recovering." On 12/5, DL wrote to OBOL about the 6 SNOWY PLOVERS at South Beach State Park (SBSP) and cautioned: "please remember that Snowy Plovers are a protected species under the ESA [Endangered Species Act]. Please do not disturb or harass them, please keep a distance from the birds, and please keep your dogs leashed." Also see http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Species/Data/WesternSnowyPlover/
1-7 Snowies were also at South Beach State Park through 12/18 (m.ob.). On 12/11, TW viewed an apparently storm-driven Snowy Plover at the HMSC, "in the grass and struggling with the wind between the housing units and USFWS building," and it was also independently seen that day by SS.
[Image Not Included: Dan Elbert's Dec. 5 USFWS photo of a color-banded Snowy Plover at South Beach State Park.]
An unseasonal SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was near the HMSC on 12/19 (WHe). We have had a few winter records in the past (SemiL).
A ROCK SANDPIPER was at Seal Rocks on 12/5 (LK & NE), which is one of their favored locations.
Departure dates include BONAPARTE'S GULLS at Boiler Bay on 12/21 (PP) and HEERMANN'S GULLS at Lincoln City on 12/22 (SK).
The OSU Seabird Oceanography Lab's seabird nesting report for 2014 at Yaquina Head is available through the link "available here" in the second line at http://bit.ly/1xCidqg That page also has links to additional information about their research. Highlights were (RS):
1) COMMON MURRE diets were dominated by smelt, the highest overall percent recorded so far. Diets during the past 3 of 4 years have been dominated by smelt, with very little cold water associated sand lance.
2) BALD EAGLE predation was particularly intense and resulted in the lowest murre reproductive success recorded to date. Only 0.17 fledglings/pair!
The high count of MARBLED MURRELETS was 40 mostly flying south during PP's 12/21 Boiler Bay--other totals were of 1-3 (m.ob.). ANCIENT MURRELETS were much more abundant with high counts during Boiler Bay seawatches of 600-700+ on 11/29 & 12/21 (PP).
Since late October, live CASSIN'S AUKLETS continued to be uncommonly observed, with a high tally of 200+ at Boiler Bay on 12/21 (PP). Dead, beached Cassin's also persisted, with CP finding 184 along 1.8 miles of beach between South Beach and Ona Beach on 12/23; CP is a part of BLO's team of beached bird surveyors. On 12/21, L& JD and CW counted and tagged 150 on their COASST beach survey (http://depts.washington.edu/coasst/) north of Lincoln City and, on 12/24, ME found 131 dead Cassin's along his COASST beach survey near Road's End State Park in Lincoln City. These counts could be underestimates because CP noted that there was so much woody and vegetable debris, including kelp, on the beach that could have obscured many more beached birds. COASST has a page with a graph of abundance for Oregon and Washington about this die-off ("wreck") at http://blogs.uw.edu/coasst/2014/12/22/cassins-auklet-wreck/
On 12/26, DHo had good looks of a WHITE-WINGED DOVE at her feeder in NW Newport. This is the 5th Lincoln Co. record (Semi, FN).
1-2 BAND-TAILED PIGEONS lingered in the Coquille Point area on 11/23 (L&JM) and Waldport on 12/13 (DP).
A BARN OWL was in the 3 Rocks Road area of the Salmon River during the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (HH & OH).
On 11/30, MM spotted a small owl at Yaquina Head that WHo saw the next day and identified as a BURROWING OWL. It continued in the same location through the end of the 12/28 reporting period (m.ob.). WHo noted that that it was more skittish and less comfortable with people than others he had seen in Oregon. Fortunately, it chose to often be on cliffs that gave it much more protection from people than previous Burrowing Owls in Lincoln County, but still some observers approached too closely. On 12/2, MM, who works at Yaquina Head, cautioned birders on OBOL to "please stay on trails and park in the lot as opposed to on the road. Watched someone hike almost all the way up to it today for a picture - poor little bird seems agitated enough without us making it worse." RB examined some of the photos of this bird that show a Burrowing Owl with a very alert body posture staring at the photographer--this indicates the owl was reacting to the photographer. However, many photographs by others show an owl with a relaxed body posture that was not staring at the photographer and indicate that the photographer was distant enough to not disturb the owl.
On 11/22, CM photographed a SNOWY OWL off of Siuslaw National Forest Road 5313, 3.2 miles southwest of Waldport in a clearcut (fide RL) (https://www.flickr.com/photos/24707703@N06/sets/72157649518442176/). This appears to be our furthest inland record; for example, other Snowy Owls since 2005 were within about 0.5 mile of the coast in Nov. 2005-Feb. 2006, Nov.-Dec. 2006, Dec. 2011-Jan. 2012, and March 2012 (FN).
For the 3rd year in a row, a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD wintered at L&JM's home near Coquille Point through at least 12/18.
DD's Lincoln City CBC group on 12/14 found a house with 3 hummingbird feeders near a shore pine with a dead "witches broom" (a snarl of twigs with no needles). PS & CK commented: "We counted 8 ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS perched on that broom at one time, like live Christmas tree ornaments. Add two birds in alder trees above the house, plus uncounted birds in transit to the feeders, and you have an amazing show."
On 12/3, MH remarked that a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER had been regularly at 4 birch trees near a barn along South Yaquina Bay Road. There were 2 other reports of singletons, and 2 were found by one group during the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (JH).
On 12/3, EH closely studied a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER at a wax myrtle at SE 35th St in South Beach that was not a hybrid. We only have 7 previous records of a Red-naped or a Red-naped X Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid, with the previous one in 2010 (SemiL; FN).
A BLACK PHOEBE was at 2 locations during the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (JH; HH & OH).
A WESTERN SCRUB-JAY was at the YBSJ on 12/25 (LK & NE). They have become so regular at a few Newport-South Beach locations that observers appear to not be reporting them.
The only WESTERN BLUEBIRD was at a clearcut near Toledo on 11/30 (DHo), and the latest AMERICAN PIPIT was at the HMSC on 12/16 (WHe).
Single lingering ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were daily sharing a hummingbird feeder with several Anna's Hummingbirds at SE 35th Street (South Beach) on 12/3 (EH), and Orange-crowns were also recorded during the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (JH) and at the HMSC on 12/26 (EE & KB). Some have sometimes persisted in previous winters (FN).
An unseasonal BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER graced the 12/14 Lincoln City CBC (AC), and K&DR discovered our only PALM WARBLER during the reporting period at Quarry Cove at Yaquina Head on 12/2.
A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was in Newport on 12/20 (DHo).
[Image Not Included: Fran Recht's Oct. 28 photo of 10 of a flock of 35 Black Oystercatchers resting together at the south side of the Depoe Bay channel. Such flocks occur in fall and winter when foraging areas are submerged.]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Range Bayer, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Ken Burton, Ken Chamberlain, Alan Contreras, Dick Demarest, http://eBird.org (location and observer not accessible in "View and Explore Data" for "All Observations" but available through "Bar Charts"), Laura & Jack Doyle, Dan Elbert, Elias, Mark Elliott, Norman Erthal, Darrel & Laura Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Brian Fowler, Oscar Harper, William Hemstrom (WHe), Hendrik Herlyn, Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Mary Holbert, Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Jack Hurt, Carol Karlen, Saroj Kauffman, Loch Kilpatrick , Dave Lauten, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Bob Loeffel (BLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, Rick Mark (RMa), Meredith Matherly, Randy Moore (RMo), m.ob. (multiple observers), Clarence Myers, Field Notes (FN; Lincoln County records from the Sandpiper since 1992 are searchable in search box at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#recent), Amelia O'Connor, Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL; recent postings at http://birdnews.aba.org/maillist/OR01), Dani Padilla, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Kathy & Dennis Roberts, Trent Seager, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Shawn Stephensen, Paul Sullivan, Rob Suryan, Dale & Dee Toweill (D&DT), Dawn Villaescusa, Tom Wainwright, Caren Willoughby.
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