Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oregon Coast Trip

Michelle and I went to the coast for a few days for her birthday. We stayed in Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock just outside of our room. It was an incredible trip and we nabbed quite a few new Life List birds.

We were lucky enough to have some of the lowest tides of the year during our stay. The tide was so low, that we could walk behind Haystack Rock.

The trip was capped off with an amazing sight. We stopped at Fort Stevens, parking lot C, and were treated to 10,000+ Brown Pelicans and 1000's more Brandt's Cormorants. It was phenomenal!! I wish the pictures we took could convey what we saw. It was the most incredible sight. Huge flocks of Pelicans flying in and out and 1000's just sitting on the beach.

We hope you enjoy these photos and, hopefully, we won't wait so long in between postings. Take care and good birding!


A Greater Yellowlegs at the north end of the Necanicum Estuary


We found this Turkey Vulture in the woods here, partaking in some squirrel dinner. It was odd to see the Vulture in the forest.


See the hole? Now look to the right and you can see a Chestnut-Backed Chickadee getting ready to fly into it with some food in its' bill.


On the south side of Necanicum Bay, there were tons of Wilson's Warblers chasing each other through the woods.


We tried to ID this guy we found at Seaside Cove but we couldn't come up with an answer. Any ideas?



We found a couple hundred Brown Pelicans at Seaside Cove. It was awesome.


This is a photo of tons of Heerman's Gulls at Seaside Cove. There are a few other gulls thrown in, but the majority is the Heerman's. Life List for us!


A Pelican eating a fish. See it in his pouch?


The gull in the center is the Heerman's.


Pelicans everywhere!


Hundreds more Pelicans at Ecola State Park. There are also Cormorants, Murres, and Gillemots, too.


More of the same!


And still more!


We have never been so close to harlequin Ducks before. We found these at the base of Haystack Rock. They are such incredible looking birds!


2 Western Gulls with Starfish in their mouths! The extremely low tide made prime dining for the gulls.


A nesting Western Gull on Haystack Rock.


A shot of Haystack Rock with Pelicans flying along the sea.


See all the birds in the air? This is what happens when a Bald Eagle swoops in on the Rock.


Here goes the Eagle after successfully nabbing a Common Murre. He few right over our heads with it in his talons.


A Western Gull and one of the millions of Starfish in the rocks in Cannon Beach.


Two more Bald Eagles sitting behind Haystack Rock.


Nesting Tufted Puffins!! They are such cool birds!


3 more Puffins. Their colors were so striking.


During a small rain storm, the rocks in Cannon Beach looked gorgeous. There are 2 Bald Eagles sitting atop the rock in the back.


Haystack Rock without any water surrounding it. It was a very odd sight, but a great birding opportunity.


This Common Murre was kind enough to land close to us.


Nesting pelagic Cormorants. We saw 100's of nests all along the coastline.


A Western Gull and a Black Oystercatcher. Great looking birds!


Another Oystercatcher. It's amazing, with those bright red eyes and bill, how hard the are to see sometimes.


In Tillamook, there is a place called the Blue Heron Cheese Company. It's a great shop and we always stop in when we are in town (try their smokey garlic mustard!). This time, as we were walking in, we spotted this nest just above the front door.


As we got closer, we realized that it was a nesting Barn Swallow. She didn't care at all about the people walking in and out of the store. She just sat there, presumably on eggs.


Inside this circle is 3 juvenile Peregrine Falcons! This is at Cape Meares. The volunteers had a couple of scopes set up for people to look through. It was a great sight and one that we won't soon forget.


More nesting Pelagic Cormorants at Cape Meares.


This photo is of lots of Marbled Murrelets and 1000's of Common Murres. We couldn't fit all the birds into a single photo. We tried many times with no luck.


A singing White-Crowned Sparrow. The sparrows were all up and down the coastline.


A bunny at Cape Meares.


Just off of the parking lot at Cape Meares, we were treated to a couple of newly fledged Chestnut-Backed Chickadees! Notice the yellow still on the bill. This little one couldn't have been out of the nest for too long.


3 Black Oystercatchers in Depot Bay.


A Harbor Seal looking for fish in Depot Bay's harbor.


A Whimbrel in Newport. We only saw a couple of shorebirds on our trip.


An anemone in the tide pools back at Cannon Beach.


One of the smaller rocks behind Haystack Rock. The Pelicans and Cormorants loved to sun themselves here.

A Pelagic Cormorant in fight.

This is a side-view photo of Haystack Rock. Because of the low tides, we got further out and close to Haystack Rock than we ever have been able to before.


In the parking lot of our hotel, Barn Swallows were busy gathering nesting material.


Here is one of the views from the viewing platform from parking lot C in Fort Stevens. The coast was lined with Brown Pelicans. There were thousands more just off the shoreline and 1000's more in the air.


We don't know exactly how many there were, but everyone agreed that there were at least 10,000 Pelicans.


The Pelicans were flying right over our heads on the platform.


They are such amazing creatures. It was breathtaking to see so many at once.


1000's and 1000's of Pelicans.

Like we said earlier, the pictures cannot convey the enormity of the sight.


There were lots of Caspian Terns at Fort Stevens, as well.

A view from our car as hundreds of Pelicans fly past the platform and jetty at parking lot C.


A 3rd yr. Bald Eagle surveying the situation in Astoria. He was waiting for the gulls to get some food and he would then chase them and make them drop it, then he would go retrieve the food and eat it himself. Pretty smart if you ask me.

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8 comments:

Heather said...

Wow, that's some amazing birding you got in! Just about every species you named/photographed would be a life bird for me. All such beautiful birds! Take care guys!

Katie said...

Fantastic birding! I was thinking of taking a trip to the coast with my family--your successes have made me even more excited to go! Thanks for sharing!

J'ellen said...

I left Oregon/the west coast 5 yrs ago...man oh man do these photos make me ache inside to be there again! I'd talked myself out of a trip (I'm in SD now) for various reasons but..geeeez...

DJB's Photo Adventures said...

I am going back to Oregon next May to visit family and intend to get out to Haystack Rock to see and photograph Tufted Puffins! Which place did you stay at there?
I believe your mystery bird is a White-winged Scoter. Surf Scoter's are more abundant there but they don't have white in the wings.
Great story!

dAwN said...

Wow..excellent day of birding!Great photos..wish i was there!

troutbirder said...

Very interesting. We will be visiting my cousin in Tigard in Sept. and I hope to get in some serious birding. It looks great! Thanks

Beverly said...

Well, as a 5th generation Californian...who has not been to the coast in far too long...your post made me want to get on back there! Wow, what fun you must have had. While the Rocky Mtns are pretty darn spectacular and these mountains offer all the majesty the coast-line does, there is something about the ocean, huh? Awesome photos; thanks for sharing!!!

Rhett said...

Good Birding! Might your mystery bird at Seaside Cove be a female Greater Scaup who has her seasons mixed up?