October 20–21, 2018

Despite knowing we really couldn’t beat the sewage pond experience from a few days ago, we took my Dad to the Oregon Coast. Ho hum ;(

On Saturday, October 20, we hiked Cascade Head just north of Lincoln City. I wasn’t expecting to get any new species during this hike, but a Hermit Thrush surprised me! Did you know there’s a Canadian band called Thursh Hermit? Now you do. I saw them a few times way back in the late 90s when I was running around chasing bands instead of birds (actually, I did both!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next day, my Dad opted for a solo visit to the Newport aquarium, and Clint and I birded the area around the aquarium, specifically the South Jetty, to see if the Great Pacific Ocean could grant me a new species or two. It did! I saw four Red-necked Grebes. I also saw a a handful of Common Loons, a species I didn’t think I’d even see this year but have seen a handful of times.

20181021_201910234_iOS

The Clailborne Pell Bridge (aka the Newport Bridge); east of the South Jetty; Newport, Oregon; October 21, 2018.

IMG_7147

Common Loon; South Jetty; Newport, Oregon; October 21, 2018.

IMG_7160

Common Loon; South Jetty; Newport, Oregon; October 21, 2018.

IMG_7149

Red-necked Grebe; South Jetty; Newport, Oregon; October 21, 2018.

IMG_7159

Red-necked Grebes; South Jetty; Newport, Oregon; October 21, 2018.

New Birds for 2018: 2
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 248

 

 

September 29, 2018

Seeing more than 300 bird species in Oregon in a calendar year is really only feasible if the birder is willing to go on a pelagic birding tour.

Pelagic = related to the open sea.

Because my target was 300 bird species, earlier this year I signed up for an 8-hour pelagic tour that was part of the Oregon Birding Association’s AGM in Garibaldi, Oregon.

I have a strong history of motion sickness, but Dramamine usually does the trick. Yes, it makes me drowsy, affects my breathing and heart rate, and generally gives me a case of the pending malaise, but I can usually power through it if I’m occupied.

Well occupied I was! For the first three hours of the tour, we birded and birded, and as we got further out to sea, the waves got bigger and bigger. I felt like I was on a roller coaster, but it was such fun. So many birds, and countable looks at Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Red Phalarope, Pomarine Jaeger, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Mew Gull. I remember thinking at one point that I would most certainly do many other pelagic tours because, great heavens, wasn’t this fun?!

UNTIL IT WAS NOT FUN ANYMORE. Until the waves shot a strong middle finger to the Dramamine, and the feeling of death came on strong. From that point, I either forced myself to stay outside staring with great intent at the horizon (and holding on for dear life as the boat went up and down several feet) or dashing into the cabin and rapidly putting my head down on the table and holding onto a pole so I wouldn’t get thrown about. This went on for hours.

One hour before the tour ended, as we were heading back to shore, the surf became calm, and my sickness passed. I felt alive again and it felt incredible to surface onto the deck, use words out loud, and look at other things but the horizon.

Looking back, I may sign up for another pelagic tour, but not for 8 hours. Maybe 5. Maybe.

New Birds for 2018: 8
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 243

 

July 22, 2018

On July 22, 2018, we ventured to the Elliott State Forest where we met up with other members of the Oregon Birding Association as well as a group call Coast Range Forest Watch, a volunteer-based group who surveys for the Marbled Murrelet, a federally threatened species.

We got started very early in the morning, hiking into the forest, and watching and listening, overhead, to the murrelets fly roundtrip between the ocean to their nests. This was exceptional.

Our forest hike yielded a few new species for my big year:

Marbled Murrelet
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Wrentit

20180722_130643945_iOS

Early morning Marbled Murrelet viewing; Elliott State Forest; Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt (there are no murrelets in this photo, but this giant white patch of sky is where we watched their roundtrip flights).

20180722_154623831_iOS

Sifting for other birds with the OBA; Elliott State Forest; Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

20180722_160030948_iOS

Sifting for other birds with the OBA; Elliott State Forest; Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

After, we headed out to Cape Arago State Park, hoping to see the murrelets on the ocean. The weather was initially windy and misty, making visibility of the ocean pretty difficult. Within the hour, it cleared up, and I saw an additional four species:

Pacific Loon
Clark’s Grebe
Surfbird
California Gull

IMG_6297

Pacific Loon; Cape Arago State Park (Simpson Reef/Shell Island Viewpoint); Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

IMG_6329

Pacific Loons and Clark’s Grebes; Cape Arago State Park (Simpson Reef/Shell Island Viewpoint); Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

20180722_191010554_iOS

Cape Arago State Park (Simpson Reef/Shell Island Viewpoint); Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

New Birds for 2018: 7
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 212

 

April 15, 2018

We took a quick trip to the Oregon Coast on April 15, 2018, when Abby was in town last month. We stopped by Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area  to look for a Brown Booby, which had been seen there that week. No booby. I did, however, see “a few” Common Murres and one Black Oystercatcher, Oregon 2018 Birds #141 and #142.

murres

Common Murres through my scope; Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area; Oregon Coast; April 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

yaquina head

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area; Oregon Coast; April 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt (thru my scope).

Later on during the week of April 15, I got two additional 2018 Oregon birds: The Vaux’s Swifts arrived and are now daily visitors in the skies over our house (I adore listening to them). I also got my FOY Orange-Crowned Warbler in Minto-Brown.

And, on April 22, 2018, I finally got some Pine Siskins in the Bronson’s Creek area in Cedar Mill, Oregon.

New Birds for 2018: 5
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 145