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Yaquina Bay

Yaquina Bay, at the town of Newport, is one of the more productive sites on the Oregon coast. On this visit, high winds reduced the number of birds that were out and about, but there was still a lot to see.

loon eatingCommon Loon with the catch of the day
common loon

rt loon 1Red-throated Loon

pelagic cormorant 2Pelagic Cormorant

horned grebeHorned Grebe
horned and western grebesHorned Grebe (above) and Western Grebe

pelican yawnBrown Pelicans

long-tailed duck 2Long-tailed Duck

surf scoter 2Surf Scoter

peregrineThe flats behind the Hatfield Marine Science Center. There were lots of Mew Gulls, some Brant, and Northern Pintails. Note the Peregrine Falcon at the base of the fallen tree.

california gullCalifornia Gull

sea lion 1Large numbers of California Sea Lions loaf on the jetties and docks on the bay.
sea lion 2

While I normally don’t go too far to chase individual birds, two rarities have been hanging out on the coast, so I braved the cold winds to add a couple of tics to my life list.

goose oneA Tundra Bean Goose has been staying at Nestucca Bay NWR. This is the first of this species recorded in Oregon. (They typically breed in Siberia and winter in Japan.) He has been reliable in the field below the observation platform at the lower parking lot.
goose three
goose two

booby twoA Brown Booby has been along the bayfront in Newport. She would coast downwind, then fly upwind close to the water, diving for fish and occasionally catching one. Brown Boobies are typically found in warmer waters south of California, but several have been seen along the Oregon coast this fall.
booby threeTwo lifers in one day, especially two this rare in Oregon, made for a great day on the coast, despite the cold temperatures and the blustery winds.

Random Images

Home improvement projects are keeping me inside lately, so here are a few images from dog walks and the bird feeder.

IMG_5742Double-crested Cormorants on the Columbia River
IMG_5748IMG_5749California Gull

IMG_5740former sturgeon, Columbia River

IMG_5727Lesser Goldfinch

IMG_5736I only see Purple Finches once or twice a year at my feeder.

IMG_5678young Douglas’s Squirrel in the shadows, Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Smith Lake, the larger body of water at Smith and Bybee Wetlands in NW Portland, currently has a lot of mudflat habitat, attracting good numbers of shorebirds and gulls.
greater yellowlegsGreater Yellowlegs at sunrise

mixed flockLong-billed Dowitchers and Pectoral Sandpipers

black-tailed deerBlack-tailed Deer

While the shorebirds and gulls kept their distance on the mudflats, thus no good photos, American Pipits were working the shoreline at close range.
pipit back pipit front pipit side

Boulder Birds

Here are a few birds I saw on a recent trip to Boulder, CO. There was nothing unusual, but there is always something to see.

cooper's 1This young Cooper’s Hawk was amazingly tame.

oriole 2Bullock’s Oriole

pelicansAmerican White Pelicans

nuthatch 1White-breasted Nuthatch. Despite the proximity to the Rocky Mountains, this individual appears to be of the eastern race (Carolina Nuthatch).

blue jayI heard a lot of Blue Jays, but this is the only individual that I got a look at.

rabbit 1Rabbits are everywhere around Boulder. I think this is an Eastern Cottontail.

sunriseI spent a recent morning in Rocky Mountain National Park. We arrived before sunrise, so we got to watch the sun come up from high elevation. Note the Common Raven in the center of the frame.

tundraMy main target of this trip was White-tailed Ptarmigan. But despite walking through some lovely tundra, with scattered rocks and stunted pines, I dipped on this species again. Sing it with me: I am a rock….I’m not a ptarrrrrrrrr-ar-miiii-gan.

mountain bluebird 2I did manage to find a few birds, including this Mountain Bluebird.

elk bull 1I think we saw more individual elk than all other birds and mammals combined. Here is an assortment of some of them.
elk herdelk cow 1elk treeelk woodselk spike bull

Jackson Bottom

There was a recent flurry of shorebird activity at Jackson Bottom, south of Hillsboro. I missed out on seeing some of the less common species, but a brief visit one morning provided lots of both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, among others.

IMG_5576Greater Yellowlegs were wading in the deeper water, chasing small fish.
IMG_5579IMG_5589Lesser Yellowlegs tended to stay in shallower water, and feed in a more delicate manner.
IMG_5591IMG_5595Common Carp, hoping the rainy season starts soon.

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