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 36 ------------------------------- June-August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 Editor's Farewell with the Last Bird Notes for December 2015. They will not continue in 2016
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, FISHING ROCK STATE PARK: a small park about 300 ft north of Fogarty Creek State Park along HWY 101 and south of Lincoln Beach, 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, 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, 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., YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (requires recreation pass or vehicle entrance fee).
The seasons are changing and "fall" waterfowl migration is underway with a flock of 22 GREEN-WINGED TEAL flying south past Fishing Rock on 8/12 (JR & SR) and 3 at Eckman Lake the next day (RL); 4 NORTHERN PINTAIL were at Yachats on 8/14 (CH, AH, ES). An uncommon BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Vingie Creek north of Yachats on 8/22 (RL) is probably a vagrant.
On 6/23, RC wrote: "After more than 15 years living at this location [just north of Ona Beach (Brian Booth) State Park], I thought our yard list was done but today we got a surprise addition - a WOOD DUCK hen leading 6 or so new babies along our driveway. We surprised each other when I came sailing around the corner of the house on my bike, and there they were. Mama called a warning and took flight, babies dove into the shrubbery, and I went on down the driveway for my ride, hoping to cause minimum panic. I was astounded to see them, since the nearest pond is a quarter mile away in a direct line and there's not much nearby that looks like suitable nesting locations. Wherever they started from, the family had wandered into a neighborhood mazed with fences and open areas and inhabited by cats, raccoons and crows so who knows if any of the babies will survive the long trek to the marsh. I hope some make it."
As usual, a scattering of nonbreeding BRANT (DV; RL; SS); SURF SCOTERS, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and BLACK SCOTERS (eBird), RED-THROATED LOONS , PACIFIC LOONS, and COMMON LOONS (RL; WHo; HH; NA; eBird); and WESTERN GREBES (KM; eBird) were noted during June-July.
On 7/7, JLa found an unseasonal 2 HORNED GREBES in breeding plumage at Sally's Bend; 1-2 lingered there until at least 7/18 (HH, OH, CH, AH). In previous years, we have only had a few records in July (SemiL).
[Image Not Included: Keith Nelson's © photo of 2 Horned Grebes in breeding plumage that were at Sally's Bend on July 7. Keith emailed me this photo, and it and 2 other photos of them were also posted on July 10 at https://www.facebook.com/KNelsonPhotos]
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © photo of an American White Pelican at Yaquina Head on June 1.]
On 7/22 at Yaquina Head, the OSU Seabird Lab found that BRANDT'S CORMORANTS appeared to be nesting successfully and not bothered by Bald Eagle predation and disturbance, like PELAGIC CORMORANTS were (RS).
1 AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN flew by Yachats on 5/30 (CH) and Yaquina Head on 6/1 (RL). They may have been the same bird because they are rare here--we only have had 8 previous records, with the previous one in December 2013 (FN).
We did not have any June RED-SHOULDERED HAWK reports, but we had 3 in July. RL spotted a juvenile at Waldport on 7/9, DV saw an adult the first week of July at Drift Creek Meadow south of Lincoln City, and LB watched a Red-shouldered at Cape Perpetua on 7/26 (fide AC). In previous years, we only had a total of 2 records in June, and 3 in July. Nesting seems possible, but has not been documented. In the first few days of August, BT saw an immature just north of Ona Beach on 8/3, and P&JL watched one over the HMSC and BB had one at Yachats on 8/5. Thereafter there were many reports.
Peregrine nesting at Yaquina Head this year was a soap opera. WHo saw 2 eggs at the eyrie (nest) on 3/22, and DC counted at least 3 eggs on 3/26. The father was last seen on 3/31 (WHo). A new male brought the female food on 4/4; the new male had also been present in the area on at least 5 different days before the father disappeared (WHo). On 4/12, WHo had the impression, based on the new male's behavior, that he was trying to attract the nesting female to a new location to (re)nest and "So far she is not buying it, but I get the sense he is not feeling invested in the current clutch of eggs. At this point, the fate of the current clutch seems pretty much up in the air." On 5/4, DC saw 2 chicks in the nest that MMe estimated to be a day old. On 5/8, DC photographed 4 chicks. Their nesting is 12-13 days earlier than in the past three years, when first hatching was reported on 5/16-19 (2012), 6/12 (2013), and 5/17 (2014).
The field note reports are unclear, but from what RB can tell, the biological female disappeared in May. The new male became the adoptive male and fed the chicks on his own (LP). On about 6/5, another Peregrine, apparently a second-year female, appeared (MMa; LP), but there are no reports that she ever helped feed the chicks. Based on the chick's hatching date, MMe predicted fledging during June 8-13; a chick was found away from the nest on 6/9 (LP & CP), but it may have fallen out of the nest (LP). This chick climbed and flapped its way back into the nest on 6/11, and the next day another chick fell out of the nest as it lunged for food brought by the adoptive male (LP). The second chick climbed and flapped its way back into the nest on 6/13, so all 4 chicks were together again until that afternoon, when first one, and then a second chick fledged by flying from the nest (LP). In previous years, the dates 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).
This year, all chicks were gone from the nest the afternoon of 6/15, with one below the nest; the new female was aggressively flying at and attacking the flying fledglings and sometimes even hitting them in flight (LP). But there is no indication that she tried to prey on them. On 6/22, one of the young was found dead, and another was transported to Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis for care; it was malnourished and dehydrated (fide RL; LP). On 6/29, the adoptive male was still occasionally feeding the remaining 2 fledglings that had been chased away from the eyrie by the second-year female (LP).
Overall, the chick feedings seemed more sporadic this year, in part because only the adoptive male was feeding. How many "fledged" could be debated, but their post-nest survival is likely to be lower than in past years because they may have left the nest at lower weights and with less post-nest parental care.
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © photo of a Long-billed Curlew at Vingie Creek, north of Yachats, on August 22.]
AK watched a SANDHILL CRANE flying over South Beaver Creek on 6/14. This is our 8th record since 1992; 5 of the previous 7 records were between May 5 and June 3 (FN).
2-3 RED KNOTS were at Yachats beaches on 8/14-15 (CH, AH, ES).
Flocks with thousands of peeps started to be noticed on 8/10 with 3,400 WESTERN SANDPIPERS near Sandpiper Village, north of the Alsea Bay Spit (RL). On 8/15, 3,100 Western Sandpipers, 150 SANDERLINGS, 146 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and 80 LEAST SANDPIPERS were in the Yachats area (CH, AH, ES).
It was a good August for BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS (eBird), with the first on 8/2 at Ona Beach (DR), and a minimum of 10 at Sandpiper Village on 8/25 (RL).
An uncommon SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was at about Mile Post 8 along North Yaquina Bay Road on 8/2 (DR), and another was near Yachats on 8/15 (CH, AH, ES).
2 LONG-BILLED CURLEWS were at the beach by Sandpiper Village on 8/10 (DN), and another was on the Vingie Creek beach north of Yachats on 8/22 (RL).
A SNOWY PLOVER was at South Beach on 8/4 (CP), and 1-3 graced the beaches near Yachats from 8/15 to the end of reporting period, (CH, AH, ES; RL; PS). Their appearance is an indication that their recovery is proceeding, as they had been rare here in recent decades up until December 2014 (FN).
CP found a FRANKLIN'S GULL in breeding plumage at Idaho Flats on 6/24 (CP), and, as usual, a few nonbreeding CASPIAN TERNS oversummered (KM; eBird). 3 COMMON TERNS were at Boiler Bay on 8/2 (DR), and VS discovered the first ELEGANT TERNS on 8/1 at the YBSJ (fide JGe). Elegants continued through the end of the reporting period with a high count of 45 at the Yaquina Bay jetties on 8/13 (JLi).
The OSU Seabird Oceanography Lab led by RS (http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/seabird-oceanography-lab) continued their study of COMMON MURRE nesting at Yaquina Head. But by 7/7, it was clear that few chicks would be produced, and RS wrote on 7/7: "The continued harassment and predation of the Bald Eagles has stressed the adult Common Murres, resulting in abandonment of nests and has allowed secondary predators like Western Gulls and Common Ravens to feed on exposed eggs. The opportunistic predators have been joined by Turkey Vultures; the Common Murres have become so wary of Bald Eagles that murres are startled by anything resembling them. ... Eggs are averaging a life of a couple of days ... A total of 8 eagles were observed on the Flat Top and Colony Rock [island nesting colonies] at once during surveys." On 7/22, RS noted that "The big news this week is that 4 murre chicks have hatched at the Yaquina Head colony! ... It does seem odd to be excited about 4 chicks out of 25,000+ pairs, but you take what you can get in a year like this. This is the first time in the 14 years of murre research at Yaquina Head by us and Julia Parrish (1998-2002) where there has been essentially zero chick production at Yaquina Head. Roy Lowe noted that this is also the first time in his over 30 years on the coast." There were many reports of MARBLED MURRELETS (m.ob.), and KM saw a total of 25 on 7/12 between Newport and Waldport.
4 probable PARAKEET AUKLETS were at Boiler Bay on 8/26 (JC), and our only TUFTED PUFFIN was a singleton at Fishing Rock on 7/27 (JR & SR).
Ancient Murrelets usually aren't reported here until fall and winter, but this summer 3 of unspecified age were photographed at Boiler Bay on 6/18 (HN [http://bit.ly/1N0BFmy]), and 2 adults were feeding a juvenile at Fishing Rock less than a mile north of Boiler Bay and photographed on 6/22 (JR & SR, DV [http://bit.ly/1hvCIyR]). On 6/23, two actively diving adults and a possible juvenile that was not diving were about 100 ft off the rocky shore at Boiler Bay (BM [eBird http://bit.ly/1igQ5DK and comments given through the eBird photo link to Flickr at http://bit.ly/1NL131b). On 8/13, 3 Ancient Murrelets (including 1 juvenile) were also at Boiler Bay (KC [http://bit.ly/1FjSUcc]). There were additional records of 1-2 Ancient Murrelets at Boiler Bay on 7/12 & 8/12 (eBird [zoom in to see 2 icons at http://bit.ly/1hRPLLI]) and of 4 at Yaquina Head on 8/26 (EH). The closest report of adult and juvenile family units of Ancient Murrelets in eBird for Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia during June-August this year was near Victoria, British Columbia (drag the map at http://bit.ly/1Uky1JW).
The 6/22 report at Fishing Rock is one of apparently a very few records of 1-2 adults with a juvenile Ancient Murrelet along the Oregon Coast. P. 293 of the Birds of Oregon: A General Reference (BOGR) indicates that CS noted that there was a record of an adult with a young chick at Yaquina Head in the "summer of 1993" and of an adult/chick pair south of Newport in the "summer of 1997" There was discussion in BOGR about whether these records indicate Oregon nesting, but DFi commented that young Ancient Murrelet chicks are at sea within 2 days of hatching and then disperse, so "it is conceivable that these sightings could represent extreme instances of rapid southward dispersal rather than Oregon nesting."
Ancient Murrelets are a colonial nester, and their closest known nesting area to the Boiler Bay area is in the Queen Charlotte Islands, north of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia; the timing of chick departure from the nest varies, but the earliest median date in the 1990s was May 21 at one colony (http://bit.ly/1VveLXx and http://bit.ly/1N1ys60). The closest Queen Charlotte nesting area to Fishing Rock and Boiler Bay is about 600 miles away.
There are no confirmed Ancient Murrelet nesting records in Washington since 1924, though there are sightings that suggest the possibility of nesting in Northwest Washington as noted in the Ancient Murrelet account in the 1989 Catalog of Washington Seabird colonies (http://on.doi.gov/1NMhMkE). This area would be roughly about 275-300 miles away from Boiler Bay, which is still a long distance, but far shorter than from the Queen Charlotte Islands.
On June 4 or 5, CP found two BLACK PHOEBE nests about a mile apart along Hidden Valley Road between Newport and Toledo. Singles were also noted on 7/17 at Road's End (north Lincoln City) (JH & DV) and 8/13 at Pixieland (Salmon River) (PK & JA).
EH has put up many PURPLE MARTIN nest boxes along the Oregon Coast. He writes about the Yaquina Bay population: "So far this year, the Lincoln County late date for martins is August 27. I mention this now since I think they have all fledged and flown off. It seemed as if the dry summer meant they started nesting earlier, or perhaps just no delayed pairs. Overall the season was great for martins, and they fledged a lot of young, especially from the colony near Milepost 7.5-7.8 on Yaquina Bay Road where there were 36 active nests (based on 6 observation dates in July). I do not have an exact figure for the total Yaquina Bay population but estimate that it is 80 pairs of martins for 2015."
On 8/2, DR studied a rare BANK SWALLOW along with 2 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, 4 TREE SWALLOWS, and 2 PURPLE MARTINS at Eckman Lake. This is the first Bank Swallow since May 2010, when RN discovered one flying among Cliff Swallows at Yachats; the previous 2 records were a possible one at Newport in April 20001, and one in July 1970 (SemiL; FN). However, they may not be as rare as our records suggest; there may be too little observation effort to find them by carefully sorting through the swallows and, in particular, distinguishing them from Rough-wings.
On 6/9, HH saw a ROCK WREN that hopped around the cliff face just above the Peregrine Falcon nest by the Yaquina Head Visitor Center. This is our 7th record; one of our previous records was one at Yaquina Head on 5/17/2011 (FN). May-June searching at Yaquina Head may reveal more.
On 8/2, CP visited the Lincoln Co. portion of Grass Mountain and the only singing birds were TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE and AMERICAN ROBIN. He saw several adult and 1 juvenile solitaires.
[Image Not Included: Jody Picconi's © photo of a Rufous Hummingbird feeding at a foxglove near his Otis home on July 5. Note a yellow, black-striped spider barely visible two flowers below the hummer's eye and just inside the flower tube.]
YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS are rare here during May-June with a 5/27/1941 record, and 1-3 records per year during 5/24-27/2002 in the Lincoln City area, 6/17-27/2012 in Toledo, and 6/27/2013 southeast of Logsden (SemiL; FN). This year at least one was in the Fall Creek area of southeast Lincoln County on 5/26 (DR) and 5/28 (DHo) and near Logsden on at least 6/12, 14, and 7/3 (BLl). A probable one was also near Lincoln City on 6/21 (DFa). On 6/12 at Logsden, musician BLl wrote that he: "had a long exchange with one this morning, for five minutes or longer, exchanging musical ideas and grunts, much of the time while we were in plain sight of each other. I finally ran out of ideas, got bored, and moved on, and I swear it followed me. I guess it liked my riffs! It has yet to really imitate any of my calls, but I am still trying. They certainly live up to their names!" An eBird map for Chat sightings in Western Oregon this May-June is at http://bit.ly/1GD7wap
A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD showed at South Beach State Park on 6/9 (PPe [fide DHa]). Another was in Lincoln City during the Lincoln City Audubon Society bird walk on 7/17 (JH).
On 5/31, CP found an uncommon breeding-plumage CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Yaquina Head that WHo photographed, and CP detected a juvenile CHIPPING SPARROW on the Lincoln Co. side of Grass Mt on 8/2.
DR found 1 LESSER GOLDFINCH in a mixed flock of songbirds in a clearcut at Mile Post 7 on Siletz Highway on 8/2.
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Nagi Aboulenein, Jarrett Arnold, Audubon Society of Lincoln City (http://www.lincolncityaudubon.org/), Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Lucas Bobay, Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Don Campbell, Jim Carlson, Ken Chamberlain, Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, eBird.org ("Bar Charts"; eBird removed "Summary Charts-All Species" by July 2015), Darrel Faxon (DFa), fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), David Fix (DFi), Dawn Harris (DHa), Joel Geier (JGe), Oscar Harper, Hendrik Herlyn, Adrian Hinkle, Christopher Hinkle, Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Jack Hurt, Phil Kahler, Amy Kocourek, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Phil & Janet Lamberson (JLa), Joshua Little (JLi), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Roy Lowe, Meredith Matherly (MMa), Brian Maxfield, Michael Mefford (MMe), Kathy Merrifield, Russ Namitz, Howie Nielsen, Doug Niwa, 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 Osis, Laura Paulson, Peter Pearsall (PPe), Chuck Philo, Doug Robinson, Stephen Rossiter, Jennifer Rothe, Em Scattaregia, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Virginia Stanton, Stacy Strickland, Craig Strong, Paul Sullivan, Rob Suryan, Bill Tice, Dawn Villaescusa.
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, CRITESER'S MOORAGE: downstream of Toledo at about Mile 10.2 on 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, 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, THORNTON CREEK: about midway between Toledo and Eddyville along HWY 20, YBSJ (#71): Yaquina Bay South Jetty, YAQUINA HEAD OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA (#65): headland north of Newport (requires recreation pass or vehicle entrance fee).
[Image Not Included: Peter Pearsall's © Sept. 9 photo of a Pectoral Sandpiper at Ona Beach.]
We had 7 people plus those on the Pelagic - many of us were able to do only partial counts due to other commitments but we did well in spite of the shortage of folks. 103 total species - 3,561 individual birds (well, probably hundreds more than that if you include all of the heard Greater White-fronted Geese several of us heard, but I only counted the one flock I saw). We also had 35 count-week species. Thanks to all who participated and provided me with their lists!
DV first reported a massive southbound flight of GR. WHITE-FRONTED GEESE over Lincoln City the evening of 9/20. Many others also reported the huge flight the morning of 9/21 (m.o.) (including many flying over Newport at 3-5 AM [PR]). At Thornton Creek at 8 AM on 9/21, DF wrote
"I know others have commented on White-fronted Geese moving through, so this report is nothing surprising. But in the past twenty minutes we witnessed about four thousand of them passing over my house. By the time one flock departed over the southern horizon, another one or two was coming over the horizon to the north. I never get over being thrilled by this spectacle."
During a Boiler Bay seawatch at 7:15-8:15 AM on 9/21, PPi tallied 450 flying north and commented that they were "presumably a residual wrong way spillover from the overnight push."
Not all geese continue during these migrations. Some drop out, especially young-of-the-year. At 5 AM on 9/21, PR saw a juvenile White-fronted on the lawn of Sam Case School in Newport and was able to walk up to it. Their apparent tameness could be a result of tiredness and/or a lack of experience with possible threats, so that they are not very wary. This tameness may not help their survival.
There were also CACKLING GEESE migrating, and perhaps there were many Cacklers moving with the White-fronts. On 9/24, WHo found a Cackler at the "Gull Puddles" along the YBSJ; on 9/25, RL found a juvenile White-fronted along with the Cackler; they, too, were relatively tame, and RL could approach within 15 feet of them.
Fall arriving waterfowl include AMERICAN WIGEON on 9/12 at Idaho Flats (ML & NM) and GADWALL on 9/17 at Boiler Bay (PPi).
An uncommon CALIFORNIA QUAIL at BB's Yachats home on 9/2 is a first for there.
10,000+ SOOTY SHEARWATERS were passing Boiler Bay the morning of 9/21, with sustained rates at times of 150-200+/minute (PPi). 3-4 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS were spotted from shore at Boiler Bay on 8/30 (DI, DR). During Oregon Pelagic Tours (OPT) from Newport, 37 and 50 Fork-taileds were counted on 8/30 & 9/19, and an unexpected LEACH'S STORM-PETREL, a rare ASHY STORM-PETREL, and a LAYSAN ALBATROSS were viewed on 9/19 (TS).
A rare HAWAIIAN PETREL was detected from a cruise ship off Lincoln County on 9/21 (fide JG), and a rare BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY from the Newport area was transported for rehabilitation to Oregon Coast Aquarium on 9/11 (MP; RL).
A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Yachats on 9/3 & 23 (BB), and another was near Siletz on 9/10 (PK).
WW detected a flying juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK at Gleneden Beach south of Lincoln City on 9/5. Our previous one was at Thornton Creek last Dec. (DF).
The only MERLIN was at Boiler Bay (PPi) on 9/21, and our only AMERICAN KESTREL was at Fall Creek near Alsea on 9/11 (DHo). There were many reports of PEREGRINE FALCONS.
The season's first AMERICAN COOTS were at Devils Lake on 9/18 (EB).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © August 18 photo of a color-banded Snowy Plover at Yachats. Photo cropped from photo at https://www.flickr.com/photos/24707703@N06/albums/72157657449476161]
The past two years have been good for SNOWY PLOVERS in Lincoln County after their absence for many years. DE of the USFWS Western Snowy Plover management team (http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Species/Data/WesternSnowyPlover/) reported that a Snowy Plover was found on 5 different Lincoln Co. beaches this August!
If you have a scope and see a banded Snowy Plover from far enough away to not disturb it, carefully determine and record the color band combination and report them to Dan Elbert (firstname.lastname@example.org). Not all Snowy Plovers are banded, but most that are have color bands on each lower leg, and each color combination should be unique; color bands are read top down from the belly to the foot on each leg (search for "color band" at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00018/wdfw00018.pdf). It is critical to note and report which leg the bands are on and the belly-to-foot order of bands to accurately identify the plover.
SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and PARASITIC, POMARINE, and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS were noted during the OPT out of Newport on 8/30 & 9/19 (TS), and Pomarine and/or Parasitic Jaegers were seen from shore at Boiler Bay on 9/17 & 21 (PPi).
The season's first MEW GULL was at Boiler Bay on 8/29 (TB), and a juvenile was at the YBSJ the next day (WHo).
CASPIAN TERNS were observed through the end of the 9/27 reporting period (eBird), and the latest ELEGANT TERNS were at Alsea Bay during 9/3-4 (PS; RL) and Boiler Bay on 9/4 (DR). 3-7 ARCTIC TERNS were detected during the 8/30 and 9/19 OPT (TS), and a COMMON TERN was at Idaho Flats on 8/29 (DI) and offshore during the 9/19 OPT (TS).
A few ANCIENT MURRELETS continued to be present with one during the 8/30 OPT (TS) and at Boiler Bay on 9/17 (PPi).
WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS appear to have become residents at some favored Newport locations, but one at Columbia Bank in Newport on 9/23 (RB) is at a new location as are 2 near the Toledo Dairy Queen along HWY 20 on 9/12 (PT & SM), one at Yaquina Head on 9/13 (ID, KF, RM), and one that came to a feeder near Criteser's Moorage downstream of Toledo at about Mile 10.2 on Yaquina Bay Road on 9/25 (SK).
Fall departures included PURPLE MARTIN on 9/11 at Eckman Lake (DHo), and arrivals included RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and AMERICAN PIPIT at South Beach State Park on 9/25 (DR).
During August-September, waves of migrants can appear. In just a half hour on 8/29, DHa & RP had 20 species of landbirds in their Toledo yard, with most of the activity around their Cascara trees. Some of the birds included WESTERN TANAGER, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, CEDAR WAXWING, and 4 species of warblers.
On 8/31 at Thornton Creek, DF observed that
"SWAINSON'S THRUSH migration is in full swing. At 6 AM today I was hearing about ten calls per second as they passed over my house. Apparently the bulk of this species' movement passes over the western Coast Range. You may hear it by going to any isolated spot there away from traffic and other noise just before dawn. While it is still pretty much dark the birds overhead will be uttering a soft 'heep' call. As daylight approaches, the vocalization changes to a more liquid contact call similar to the 'whit' one hears from birds in the foliage during the summer. Within a few moments after the change in calls occurs, the birds drop down into the trees for the daylight hours. If you go out again before dusk settles, you will hear the pattern of calls in reverse order. Just before dark, thrushes in the woods begin to call to each other, using the liquid 'whit'. This goes on for a few minutes, and then as darkness falls you will hear one or two 'heep' calls from overhead, and almost instantly the entire flock will rise en masse into the sky to continue its nocturnal journey. Within seconds the woodlands fall silent and the sky is punctuated with the soft calls of birds passing over in the darkness. It really is a spectacular thing. If you haven't experienced it, go to the west-side Coast Range and enjoy."
Another sign of late summer and early fall is nuptial aerial flights of insects that often seem to occur after most insectivorous birds have migrated away. On 9/8, CP watched EUROPEAN STARLINGS trying to "flycatch" insects flying high over Toledo. In catching flying insects, starlings do not appear as adept as flycatchers, swallows, or even gulls (RB).
[Image Not Included: Wayne Hoffman's © Sept. 20 photo of an American Crow with extensive white feathers near D River in Lincoln City (fide PPi); photo at http://philliplc.com/2015images/wcrow2.jpg Sometimes the white feathers are such that the crow has been mistaken for a Black-billed Magpie in Lincoln Co. For more about birds with unusually pale or white feathers that has often been termed leucism see http://birding.about.com/od/identifyingbirds/a/leucism.htm & http://www.sibleyguides.com/2011/08/abnormal-coloration-in-birds-melanin-reduction/ & http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ivory/pastsearches/2005_2006/stories_reports_0506/leucism]
The morning of 9/18, PPi reported a rare CONNECTICUT WARBLER (a female) at NE 1st in Lincoln City (D River); there are no accepted records of them in Oregon (http://www.orbirds.org/obrcrecordsmay2015.pdf). It was a good area for birds as he also saw a BLACK PHOEBE and a LESSER GOLDFINCH then. DHo went to the same area that afternoon and found the only other Black Phoebe reported this month.
More departures include YELLOW WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, and WILSON'S WARBLER on 9/20 at D River (PPi), and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT on 9/22 at Siletz Bay (DV).
Fall arrivals are a LAPLAND LONGSPUR (winter-plumaged adult male) on 9/17 at the "Gull Puddle" along the YBSJ (WHo), a singing FOX SPARROW on 9/18 at NE 1st in Lincoln City (D River) (PPi), a LINCOLN'S SPARROW on 9/20 also in the NE 1st Street area (PPi), and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW on 9/25 at Siletz Bay (DR).
On 8/30, MS found a rare LARK SPARROW in the area between the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the HMSC (fide AC); it was resighted the next day by CP and later by many others. The last report was on 9/8 (CP). This may be the most seen Lark Sparrow in Lincoln Co. and is our 12th record (SemiL, FN). One was also found last May at Yachats, which was the first since 2009 (FN).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © August 10 photo of a juvenile Western Sandpiper foraging on the beach at Sandpiper Village north of Waldport. Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/24707703@N06/sets/72157657046937516]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Ernie Bradley, Trent Bray, Alan Contreras, Isaac Denzer, eBird.org ("Bar Charts"; eBird removed "Summary Charts-All Species" by July 2015), Dan Elbert, Darrel Faxon (see some of DF's bird records and his articles at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#thornton_creek), fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Kai Frueh, Jeff Gilligan, Dawn Harris (DHa), Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Dave Irons, Penelope Kaczmarek, Steve Kupillas, Maureen Leong-Kee, Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Roy Lowe, m.o. (many observers), Rufus Mainwaring, Nicholas Martens, Sandra Morey, 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), Oregon Pelagic Tours (OPT) out of Newport (http://www.oregonpelagictours.com/), Ram Papish, Mike Patterson, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering (PPi), Paul Reed, Doug Robinson, Matthew Schneider, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Tim Shelmerdine, Paul Sullivan, Patti Truhn, Dawn Villaescusa, Will Wright.
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to site numbers in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/): BOILER BAY STATE WAYSIDE (#59): about 0.5 mi north of Depoe Bay, COQUILLE POINT (along #67): at about mile 3.5 along north Yaquina Bay Road at the southeast corner of Sally's Bend, 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, 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).
[Image Not Included: Dan Elbert's © Oct. 10 photo of raindrops on the head of a Wilson's Snipe that took refuge in Dan's backyard foraging for grubs/worms in the lawn or roosting all day during a storm in Lincoln County.]
On 10/15, JL counted 8 GR. WHITE-FRONTED and 5 CACKLING GEESE on the grass inside the fence around the LNG tank at Yaquina Bay. If some remain, this will be the third winter in a row that White-fronts, Cackling, and/or WESTERN CANADA GEESE have often been there. They apparently feel protected from nearby walking people and dogs inside the fence, and people can be much closer to them than if the fence was not there. "Good fences make good neighbors".
WESTERN CANADA GEESE are often assumed to be local residents, but CP watched one with a white neck collar 033F (zero 33F) at Olalla Slough near Sturdevant Road, Toledo. He reported it to USGS Bird Banding Lab (https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/), and their records indicate that it had been banded at the Campbell River, British Columbia as an adult female in July 2015.
2 reports of a single BRANT west of Yaquina Bay Bridge on 10/20 & 25 (DV; WHo) could be of a straggler that didn't migrate; migrants usually show up in larger numbers and also appear at embayments east of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
MR photographed a RUFFED GROUSE at Yaquina Head, which is rare for there (fide MM).
Some of the seabirds tallied during Oregon Pelagic Tours from Newport on 10/3 were 4 uncommon FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, two probable rare ASHY STORM-PETRELS, and a rare WILSON'S STORM-PETREL (TS).
BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS started appearing along the south Oregon Coast in early Oct., and 1-6 were first noted on 10/11 in Lincoln Co. on 10/11 at Depoe Bay (PP), Boiler Bay (WHe), and Yaquina Head (WHo & CP). There were at least 10 additional reports through 10/25 (m.o.).
On 10/17, AS watched an immature, rare BROWN BOOBY at Cape Perpetua at the Lane/Lincoln County line (fide AC), and then on 10/23, JA discovered an adult Brown Booby on Navigation Marker 12 in Yaquina Bay that many saw at the bayfront or west of the Bridge on navigation markers through the end of the 10/25 reporting period.
A booby that was originally reported as a rare BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY was brought to Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation last month on 9/11 and later flown to California for additional care and release. On 10/9, JW wrote that it was either a MASKED BOOBY or a NAZCA BOOBY and that DNA samples that were taken were being sent to the Smithsonian Museum to distinguish subadults of these two species. Oregon Coast Aquarium has an Oct. 7 news release about it with photos (http://www.aquarium.org/tag/masked-booby/). The Oregon Bird Records Committee has accepted one record of a "moribund" Masked Booby found in Portland (http://www.orbirds.org/obrcrecordsmay2015.pdf).
Southward autumn migration flocks of 100-200 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS passed Lincoln City on 10/14 (DV) and Yachats on 10/23 (TJ).
Counts of 300 or more BROWN PELICANS include 320 (one of which was color-banded) at Yaquina Head on 10/17 (RL), 460 (only about 30 were immatures) at Yaquina Head on 10/18 (WHo), 300 at North Siletz Bay on 10/20 (ME), and about 800 west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 10/25 (WHo).
WHo photographed an uncommon ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK at Yaquina Head on 10/18, and 1-2 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were viewed at multiple locations through 10/25 (m.o.).
TS wrote that they had "an incredible 20 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS" during the 10/3 Oregon Pelagic Tours.
Last dates for CASPIAN TERN was 10/19 at Siletz Bay (ME), and for ELEGANT TERN was 10/21 at Yachats (BT & CP).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © Oct. 17 photo of two adult Brown Pelicans stretching and yawning among other adults at Yaquina Head.]
On 10/17, PLe identified and reported a COMMON GROUND-DOVE that she had seen the previous two days around her Yachats home, the next day AC also saw it, and it has lingered through at least 10/25 (m.o.). There are only 2 accepted records in Oregon (http://www.orbirds.org/obrcrecordsmay2015.pdf).
Field trip leader ME noted that one of the highlights of the 10/17 YB&N field trip at Siletz Bay was a BARRED OWL that was 10 ft off the trail and 15 ft high in a spruce tree, the view was great, and "the crowd went wild SILENTLY!"
During 10/20-21, PD watched apparently 2 pairs of BELTED KINGFISHERS spending a long time calling and chasing each other over a parking lot near the Newport Bayfront that was far from the water. RB suspects that this was a skirmish about feeding territories and may have been at the border between the 2 pairs.
On 10/12, PLI had a good look at a probable RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER or maybe a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker north of the Newport Bayfront.
On 10/2, J & LM first saw a TROPICAL KINGBIRD at Coquille Point at the southwest corner of Sally's Bend. From then to the end of the 10/25 reporting period, several single TROPICAL KINGBIRDS were also detected at Yaquina Bay State Park, HMSC, Newport, and Devils Punchbowl (m.o.).
(The day after the reporting period for these Bird Notes, DF identified Oregon's first GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER on 10/26 at Thornton Creek between Newport and Toledo that has since been seen by many. More details next month.)
A BLACK PHOEBE was at Road's End north of Lincoln City on 9/26 (ME), near Milepost 7 along north Yaquina Bay road on 10/17 (EH), and there were 7 additional reports at South Beach/HMSC, Siletz Bay, and Yachats (m.o.).
[Image Not Included: Molly Sultany's © Oct. 24 photo of the Common Ground-Dove in Yachats. This image is from http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25532248]
There has been a big influx of MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES into western Oregon this fall, and CP reported the first in Lincoln County at Yaquina Head on 10/2. Many were noted thereafter through 10/25 at Yachats, HMSC, Newport, and Yaquina Head (m.o.), with the high count of 10-12 at Yaquina Head on 10/17 (NA & TE). They have been rare in Lincoln County with previous sightings since 1990 in Dec. 1990, Feb. 1991, Oct.-Dec. 1996, Oct. 2000-April 2001, Aug. 2001, and November 2007 (SemiL, FN). However, they may be more common but overlooked unless observers carefully sort through chickadees.
A single LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at the YBSJ on 10/2 (RN) and intermittently at the YBSJ or the HMSC thereafter (m.o.).
On 10/16, AC & TH saw and definitively heard the chortle of a CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR at Boiler Bay. This is the third report for Lincoln County--a possible one was at Yaquina Bay State Park on 10/26/2013 and another was at the YBSJ on 11/25/2014 (SemiL, FN).
In mid-Oct., CP observed an uncommon TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE at the Toledo Airport.
An uncommon NASHVILLE WARBLER visited D River (the outlet of Devil's Lake) in Lincoln City on 8/29 (PP), and 1-2 PALM WARBLERS were at Yachats, the HMSC, and Lincoln City from 9/29 (PP) through 10/25 (m.o.). CP detected a hybrid WHITE-THROATED X WHITE-CROWNED that had the head stripe pattern of a White-crowned at Hidden Valley between Toledo and Newport on 10/16. Hybrids have been reported elsewhere (e.g., https://sora.unm.edu/node/127771).
On 10/5, CP found an uncommon LARK SPARROW along the north side of Yaquina Bay near the jetty, and, on 10/21, PS discovered an uncommon CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Yachats that was later appreciated by RL and others (m.o.).
Our only SWAMP SPARROW was at Sturdevant Road Marsh, east of Toledo on 10/25 (WW), and an unseasonal and uncommon VESPER SPARROW was at the HMSC on 10/24 (AH, CH, & MLS) that was also noted later the same day (eBird).
The first WESTERN MEADOWLARKS reported this season were at South Beach on 10/4 (KS & DHau).
[Image Not Included: Peter Pearsall's © Oct. 8 photo of a Mountain Chickadee at the HMSC.]
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's Oct. 9 photo of 1 of 2 Red-breasted Sapsuckers "tapping out some wells on a 28 year old rhododendron" at Roy's Waldport home.]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Nagi Aboulenein, John Allen, Range Bayer, Birding Oregon (http://birdingoregon.info/), Birds of North America Online (BNA)(http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/), Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (BLM), Alan Contreras, Pat Dickey, eBird.org ("Bar Charts"; eBird removed "Summary Charts-All Species" by July 2015), Mark Elliott, Taghrid Elmeligui, Darrel Faxon, fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Dave Haupt (DHau), Will Hemstrom (WHe), Adrian Hinkle, Christopher Hinkle, Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Eric Horvath, Tristen Hynes, Tim Janzen, Pete Lawson (PLl), Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Janet Lamberson, Paula Lester (PLe), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, m.o. (many observers), Meredith Matherly, Russ Namitz, 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), Oregon Pelagic Tours (OPT) out of Newport (http://www.oregonpelagictours.com/), Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering, Mitch Rohse, Mary Lynn Scattaregia (MLS), SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Tim Shelmerdine, Aaron Skirvin, Kevin Spencer, Paul Sullivan, Bill Tice, Dawn Villaescusa, Jay Withgott, Will Wright, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) Field Trip (YBNFT) led by ME.
With all the YB&N Business in recent weeks, I have not had time to write the bird notes. Bird notes are planned to be in the December Sandpiper, but there will be no bird notes in the Sandpiper in 2016. In 2016, please read current bird notes in the free Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (LCBNO) or Oregon Birders On-Line (OBOL) (see separate article for how to use these).
[Image Not Included: Ram Papish's © November 20 photo of an adult female Long-tailed Duck in winter plumage at the Yaquina Bay South Jetty.]
Anna's Hummingbird increasing abundance as standardized for observation effort (Party-hours) for 42 Yaquina Bay Christmas Bird Counts from Count Year 74 (1973/1974 winter) through Count Year 115 (2014/2015 winter). Anna's Hummingbirds were absent during Count Years 75-79, so they are not then graphed. Guideposts for matching Count Year with winter: Count Year 80 (1979/1980 winter), 90 (1989/1990), 100 (1999/2000), and 110 (2009/2010). This graph and graphs on the following pages were created and copied from the National Audubon Society's http://netapp.audubon.org/cbcobservation/ for 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's (Count Years 74-115). These and some additional graphs are also at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/yaquina-bay-cbc.pdf
[Graph Not Included: Great Blue Heron variable abundance during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. Most species also show variation rather than trends in abundance. Guideposts for matching Count Year with winter: Count Year 80 (1979/1980 winter), 90 (1989/1990), 100 (1999/2000), and 110 (2009/2010). See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Graph Not Included: Black-bellied Plover decreasing abundance during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. Black-bellied Plovers have been absent since Count Year 96 (1995/1996), so they are not graphed after Count Year 97 (1996/1997). See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Graph Not Included: Bald Eagle (dark line) and Peregrine Falcon (fainter line) abundance during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. Bald Eagle abundance has been generally higher since Count Year 96 (1995/1996 winter). Peregrine Falcon abundance has been lower and relatively stable until the spike in Count Year 115 (2014/2015 winter). Bald Eagles are much more conspicuous and easier to find on a CBC than a Peregrine Falcon. Guideposts for matching Count Year with winter: Count Year 80 (1979/1980 winter), 90 (1989/1990), 100 (1999/2000), and 110 (2009/2010). See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Graph Not Included: Varied Thrush somewhat seemingly cyclic abundance during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. There are 13, 12, and 10 years, respectively, between the peaks with greater than 4 Varied Thrushes per party-hour. Whether these represents an actual cycle or is coincidental is unclear with only 42 years of data. Even 42 years is not long enough to see some cycles! See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Graph Not Included: Western Grebe decrease, low stable, and then Count Year 115 (2014/2015 winter) spike increase in abundance during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. Time will tell if Count Year 115 is a sign of consistent increase or a one-year wonder. See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Graph Not Included: Brown Pelican generally increasing abundance since Count Year 109 (2008/2009 winter) during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. They were absent during CBC's prior to Count Year 95, so they are not graphed. Guideposts for matching Count Year with winter: Count Year 80 (1979/1980 winter), 90 (1989/1990), 100 (1999/2000), and 110 (2009/2010). See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Graph Not Included: Rock Pigeon (faint line) and Eurasian Collared-Dove (dark line) abundance during 42 Yaquina Bay CBC's. Collared-doves have been steadily increasing recently and were absent prior to Count Year 111 (2010/2011), so they are not graphed. Rock Pigeon abundance decreased for a few years prior to collared-dove arrival. However, Rock Pigeon variable abundance may be an artifact of variable observer effort because birders may not equally count Rock Pigeons every year because they are feral and not "real" birds. CBC counts reflect observer effort and also bias in counting species that are of more interest. See legend of Anna's Hummingbird graph above for details.
[Image Not Included: Ernie Rose's © November 2 photo of a Tropical Kingbird along North Three Rocks Road in Otis.]
Abbreviations, terms, and some Lincoln Co. site locations (numbers refer to sites 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/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, LNG TANK: large green Liquefied Natural Gas tank on the north side of Yaquina Bay about 1.5 miles east of Yaquina Bay Bridge, McNARY LANE POND/PASTURE (near red barn) at about Milepost 5 on the north side of HWY 20 between Newport and Toledo, NUTE SLOUGH: freshwater slough at about mile 9.3 along north Yaquina Bay Road, OLALLA SLOUGH: slough on E side of Toledo meandering S into Yaquina Bay, 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: 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).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © Dec. 19 photo of a male Bufflehead using its wings to oar itself splashingly along the surface during an interaction with another male Bufflehead at the Eckman Lake outflow. The action in these situations is usually too fast to see how they propel themselves, but this photo illustrates that it is more than just by their feet. Roy writes: "There were some really nice breaks between showers and all that sunlight may have stirred the hormones in male Buffleheads. I watched males courting females and fighting among themselves . . . The females appeared to show little interest in the commotion and tried their best to ignore the males!" This photo is one of eight at http://bit.ly/1Oysa1b]
DHo found a SNOW GOOSE at the YBSJ on 10/25, DF spotted 1 at McNary Lane Pond between Newport and Toledo on 10/28 that remained through 11/18 (m.o.), and JL detected 1 in east Toledo on 12/13 & 30.
During 12/13-16, RP & DHa appreciated an adult male MANDARIN DUCK with the WOOD DUCKS in Olalla Slough in east Toledo. Since 1992, we have had a few Mandarin records each year during 1993-1997, 1999, and 2005 (FN). All are thought to be escapees from captivity. A pair of juveniles cost $249; White Mandarins are more expensive (http://www.californiahatchery.com/Mandarin-Duck-Pair_p_111.html).
HARLEQUIN DUCKS sightings included a pair west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 11/3, 11, 18 & 12/9 (PD), and an uncommon CALIFORNIA QUAIL continued at BB's Yachats home through at least 12/18.
Flocks of southerly migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were noted on 11/1 with 410 passing south over Boiler Bay (PPi & others), on 11/3 when 3 flocks totaling about 2,500 passed Lincoln City (Je), and on 11/8 with a southerly flight past Newport (RB).
During a 6.5 hour seawatch at Boiler Bay on a stormy 11/1 by PPi & 7 others, some highlights included COMMON LOONS (4,000+) being the most numerous loon, 1 LAYSAN ALBATROSS, 2 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, 8,000+ NORTHERN FULMARS (about 10% were pale), 1 BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER (which was the latest seen this year), 2,000+ SOOTY SHEARWATERS, 12 LEACH'S STORM-PETREL, and 5 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS.
Probably from all the stormy weather blowing them landward, storm-petrels were seen more than usual in December. 150+ Leach's Storm-Petrels were off Spanish Head in Lincoln City on 12/11 (PPi), only a few could be detected during "ultra high surf & continuous blowing spray" at Boiler Bay on 12/11 (PPi), and 2 were off Spanish Head on 12/13 (PPi). Single Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels were at the end of the YBSJ on 12/14 (RP & EH), at Spanish Head on 12/15 (PPi), and at Fishing Rock State Park (half a mile north of Boiler Bay) on 12/15 (AC & TH).
A rare BROWN BOOBY first reported in Yaquina Bay on 10/23 continued through 11/1 (m.o.). This is the second fall in a row that one was at Yaquina Bay.
2015 was the first-odd-numbered year with BROWN PELICAN sightings each month of the year in Lincoln Co. Previously, they were viewed each month of the year in even-numbered 2008, 2010, and 2012 (FN). They were noted 16 times during 12/15-30 with a high count of 52 at the YBSJ on 12/19 (SR). These numbers are down from Nov., when there was a high count of 150 at Seal Rocks on 11/21 (A&CH, HH, OH). Several adults were noted in full breeding plumage with brown necks at YBSJ and Seal Rocks on 12/23 & 28 (WHo; RL).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © Dec. 9 photo of the synchronized preening of two adult Brown Pelicans at the YBSJ.]
This winter, Lincoln Co. has 2 active Winter Raptor Routes (a third route, "Lincoln Co. North" had been done the previous 3 winters). The Inland or Yaquina -Siletz Raptor Route is about 66-71 miles long and is from the LNG tank upstream along Yaquina Bay Road, Hidden Valley between Newport and Toledo, and Toledo north to Kernville along HWY 229; it was completed on 11/4, & 12/4 by JL & CP and took 5.2-5.3 hr. The Coastal Route is about 64-68 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 in Nov. by splitting the route into half because of bad weather on 11/12 & 18 and on 12/14 by JL & CP; it took 5.7-5.8 hr.
For both Routes in Nov., Red-tailed Hawks and Bald Eagles were the two most numerous species. In Dec., Red-tails and kestrels were the two most numerous Inland, and Bald Eagles and Red-tails were the most numerous for the Coast Route. Red-shouldered Hawks and Northern Harriers were only found along the Coast, and a White-tailed Kite was only found along Inland Route.
To see a tabulation of results for all 3 Lincoln Co. routes during the 2004/2005 through 2014/2015 winters, go to http://www.ecaudubon.org/#!winter-raptor-survey/c1ke4 (where there are several links with results) and select "Individual Route Survey Result Histories", select "Oregon Routes", and then select "Lincoln Co. Coast" or "Lincoln Co. North" (which was done during the winters of 2012/2013, 2013/2014, and 2014/2015) or "Yaquina-Siletz" (Inland).
--------------------------------------- Lincoln Co. Raptor Routes___ Inland__|Coast__ 11/ 12/ |11/ 12/ Raptor 4 4 | * 14 ------------------------------------ Turkey Vulture 0 0 | 0 0 Osprey 0 0 | 0 0 White-tailed Kite 1 0 | 0 0 Bald Eagle adult 7 4 | 9 9 " subadult 0 1 | 1 1 No. Harrier 0 0 | 4 2 Sharp-shinned Hawk 0 0 | 0 0 Cooper's Hawk 0 0 | 1 0 unknown accipiter 0 1 | 0 0 Red-shouldered Hawk 0 0 | 1 1 Red-tailed Hawk 17 17 |10 8 Am. Kestrel 5 10 | 0 2 Merlin 0 0 | 0 0 Peregr. Falcon 1 2 | 5 1 SUM 31 35 |31 24
* Route split and done on 11/12 & 18 because of bad weather.
Other raptor reports include a TURKEY VULTURE around the Newport-Beaver Creek area on 11/29-30 & 12/5 (ID; RC; WHo). They typically disappear by mid-October, but for records prior to 1993, at least one was found as late as 11/16/1992 (SemiL).
An OSPREY was at Eckman Lake and at Newport during 11/18 & 19 (eBird), with the latest near Sally's Bend on 12/13 (DHo). Occasionally singletons are spotted in winter.
15-20 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS were on the beach at Seal Rock on 12/14 & 25 (JL & CP; PW). On the 25th, they were feeding on the surf edge (PW). On 12/28, RL tallied 20 roosting on a rock at Seal Rocks. Such large flocks often happen in winter when their rocky intertidal foraging areas are submerged; if they try to forage then it is at the surf edge along a sandy beach.
On 12/4, PPe discovered a rare MOUNTAIN PLOVER with SNOWY PLOVERS on the beach at South Beach State Park (fide DHa). The Mountain Plover has lingered through at least 12/30 (m.o.).
During 1999-2013, we only had 5 records of SNOWY PLOVERS (FN). In 2014, there were several sightings (including during the winter), and DE with the USFWS Snowy Plover Recovery team commented: "a minimum of 7 Snowy Plovers and a maximum of 9 Snowy Plovers have been observed at SBSP [South Beach State Park] 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." This December, Snowies have also been often noted at the beach at South Beach State Park, perhaps mainly because birders were looking for the Mountain Plover in the same area, with peak counts of 11 Snowies on 12/5 & 26 (NA & TE; JH) and 12 on 12/20 (GB). We have had some very windy and rainy weather in Dec., and the open sandy beach could be pretty hostile; some Snowies sought shelter away from the beach with CP seeing 7 at the "Gull Puddle" (west edge of large parking area along the Yaquina Bay South Jetty Road about 0.6 mile west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge where gulls often linger) on 12/7.
A first-of-season ROCK SANDPIPER was at Devils Punchbowl on 11/4 (PK), and 3-4 were at Seal Rocks on 12/5 & 30 (WW; OH, HH, JS).
During a 6.5 hour seawatch at Boiler Bay on a stormy 11/1 by PPi & 7 others, some highlights were the passage of 8,000+ RED PHALAROPES, 20,000+ CALIFORNIA GULLS, 5000+ BONAPARTE'S GULLS, 5,000+ HEERMANN'S GULLS, 2,500+ HERRING GULLS, 1,500+ GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, 1,200+ WESTERN GULLS, and 1,000+ MEW GULLS.
BA photographed a rare RED-LEGGED KITTIWAKE on the beach of South Beach State Park on 12/13 that was not relocated (http://bit.ly/1RSpATX). 11 records (2 of which were live birds) have been accepted by the Oregon Bird Records Committee (OBRC) through April 2015 (http://www.orbirds.org/obrcrecordsmay2015.pdf). But this is the first of one seen alive on shore.
An uncommon FRANKLIN'S GULL visited Boiler Bay on 11/1 (PPi & others).
Latest dates for HEERMANN'S GULLS were 11/22 & 28 at Seal Rocks (EH & YBNFT; DHo) and 12/5 at Otter Crest near Otter Rock (BSh). Last reports of uncommon ELEGANT TERNS were 3 at Boiler Bay on 11/1 (PPi & others); and 1 at Depoe Bay sometime during 11/2-5 (JM fide JG).
[Image Not Included: Roy Lowe's © Dec. 9 photo of one of four Black Turnstones seeking shelter from the storm amongst grass and stems at the upland "Gull Puddle" area on the YBSJ. Note the beads of rain on its back, head and even eyelid.]
The COMMON GROUND-DOVE first identified and reported by PLe at her Yachats home on 10/17 continued in Yachats through 11/2 (DR). It was looked for during 11/3-9 by observers who had previously seen it, but was not detected (SaL, BB). While birders searched for it, they also found other uncommon to rare Lincoln Co. birds (Mountain Chickadee and Clay-colored Sparrow). Only 2 ground-dove records have been accepted by the OBRC through April 2015.
Single BARRED OWLS were noted in Newport along the Nye Beach Bike Path on 11/2 (ND) and at Toledo on 11/5 where it has been feeding on RP & DHa's chickens.
For the 4th year in a row, a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD is wintering at L&JM's home near Coquille Point (which is at about mile 3.5 along north Yaquina Bay Road) through at least 12/18 (FN).
In Dec., 1-2 RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS were at 4 different sectors of the 12/15 Lincoln City Christmas Bird Count (eBird), during 6 days at JL's home between Toledo and Siletz, and at McNary Lane Pond between Toledo and Newport on 12/15 (DHo).
DF discovered Oregon's first GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER near his Thornton Creek home between Toledo and Eddyville on 10/26. It was appreciated by many through 10/29. Starlings are great mimics, and AC heard EUROPEAN STARLINGS imitating the Great Crested Flycatcher after only two days!
CP first found MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES on 10/2 at Yaquina Head, and they were viewed at a variety of locations (m.o.). The latest was at Waldport on 11/21 (A&CH, HH, OH). RB wonders if some have lingered, but have not been searched for (e.g., 1 was in Neskowin, Tillamook Co. through at least 12/20 [KC]).
On 12/2, BLo noted that VARIED THRUSHES were coming to feed on apples at B& SLo's Thiel Creek home, south of South Beach.
A flock of 8 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were at the entrance to Newport Airport on 11/12 (JL & CP), 6 were east of Devils Lake on 12/15 (RN), 8-10 were at Logsden on 12/25 (BLl), and 10 about 4 miles east of Siletz on 12/31 after they had been absent for over a year (SH).
On 10/31, TR found a LAPLAND LONGSPUR in the sand dunes at the end of the YBSJ road, and 1 was also at the HMSC on 11/1 (eBird).
An uncommon CLAY-COLORED SPARROW discovered on 10/21 in Yachats (PS) lingered through 10/27 (m.o.), and uncommon SWAMP SPARROWS were at five locations in Oct. and Dec. (m.o.).
1-2 LINCOLN'S SPARROWS were at Siletz Bay on 11/3 (DV), BLl's Logsden home on 11/20, and at Nute Slough on 11/21 and the HMSC on 12/6 (A&CH, HH, OH).
During the 12/15 Lincoln City Christmas Bird Count, a HARRIS'S SPARROW graced RM's feeder in Cutler City in Lincoln City, and it was also seen on 12/16, 27, & 30 (RN; RM; DS). RM's photos are at http://smu.gs/1mjYAjF
On 12/3, EH identified a BULLOCK'S ORIOLE coming to MP's feeder at the HMSC. MP noted that it had been coming for a few days previously. On 12/4, WHe photographed one along the HMSC Nature Trail, and one was often noted at feeders or on the HMSC grounds until 12/30 (m.o.) when DS last noted it.
A LESSER GOLDFINCH was in Newport on 10/20 (DHo), and RC &WN discovered another about a mile north of Brian Booth State Park (formerly Ona Beach SP) on 12/20.
[Image Not Included: Rick Mark's Dec. 12 photo of a Harris's Sparrow at his Cutler City home.]
OBSERVERS/SOURCES: Nagi Aboulenein, Bob Archer, Betty Bahn, Range Bayer, Gloria Beerman, Ken Chamberlain, Rebecca Cheek, Alan Contreras, Isaac Denzer, Nairne Dickey, Pat Dickey, eBird.org ("Bar Charts"; eBird removed "Summary Charts-All Species" by July 2015), Dan Elbert, Taghrid Elmeligui, Darrel Faxon (see some of DF's bird records and his articles at http://yaquina.info/ybn/bird/bird.htm#thornton_creek), fide ("as reported by" someone other than the observer), Jeff Gilligan, Jeff Harding, Oscar Harper, Dawn Harris (DHa), Will Hemstrom (WHe), Hendrik Herlyn, Adrian Hinkle, Christopher Hinkle, Wayne Hoffman (WHo), Deb Holland (DHo), Eric Horvath, Signe Hurd, Tristen Hynes, Jeanne (unknown last name) (Je), Janet Lamberson, Philip Kline, Paula Lester (PLe), Lincoln Co. Birding & Nature Observing (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LCBNO/info), Bob Llewellyn (BLl), Sally Lockyear (SaL), Bob Loeffel (BLo) & Shirley Loeffel (SLo), Roy Lowe, Linda & John MacKown, m.o. (many observers), Rick Mark, Judy Meredith, Russ Namitz, Walt Nelson, 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), Ram Papish, Peter Pearsall (PPe), Melody Pfister, Chuck Philo, Phil Pickering (PPi), Doug Robinson, Tim Rodenkirk, Skip Russell, SemiL (semimonthly Lincoln Co. bird records through 1992 for each species at ScholarsArchive@OSU [http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8070]), Bill Shelmerdine (BSh), Jamie Simmons, David Smith, Paul Sullivan, Dawn Villaescusa, Will Wright, Pat Wood, Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (http://yaquina.info/ybn/) Field Trip (YBNFT) led by EH.
[Image Not Included and is from http://www.dreamstime.com/illustration/silhouette-flying-swallows.html]
Times change, technology changes, but people's fascination with the coming and goings of birds endures from generation to generation.
As Sandpiper editor for 35 years since 1980 and bird field notes editor for 25.4 of those years (Darrel Faxon was bird notes editor during Oct. 1985-May 1992, and Kathy Merrifield was during 2001-2003), I have been graced with experiencing people's interest in and awe of birds, and their sharing of what they have seen via mail (now obsolete), landline telephone (approaching obsolescence), cell phones, email, at YB&N meetings, and chance "face-to-face" meetings in the field and at the Post Office, aisles of grocery stores, on the street, and other locations.
We may read and think about our interest in birds at an intellectual level. But through my interactions with bird watchers and their sharing of sightings over the years, I have experienced this at a level that is not possible for me to put into words and perhaps only a long-term field notes editor can understand.
This Bird Notes column is my last, but the experiences will remain with me, and I am grateful!
Happy Birding & Nature Watching! And Happy Sharing of Your Sightings--there are still many ways to do so, including in aisles of stores!
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