Tuesday, May 05, 2015

One Amazing Day!

It had rained quite heavily during the night and when we set off this morning the forecast was for heavy showers. The plan was to backtrack north up the coast to Canon Beach, around 40 miles or so and a great place to see the sadly declining Tufted Puffin

Tufted Puffin - Canon SX at full digital to get these record shots of a nesting pair!
On route we stopped off at a couple of view points to check out the cliffs and off-shore waters and our first species of note were some nesting Violet-green Swallows, these along with several Cliff Swallows right below. On the water whole rafts of mainly Surf Scoter with smaller numbers of Black Scoter mixed in. Further scans produced many Common Murre and nesting on the cliffs good numbers of Pelagic Cormorant. While we were observing a Red-tailed Hawk flew in behind, perching low on the pines but in direct sunlight with no chance of a decent photo.

Tufted Puffin aerial display!
At Canon beach we spent a very enjoyable hour watching the nesting Tufted Puffins, which would often fly out from the rock face and circle before heading back. The rock was also a favourite nesting place for many Common Murre and Pelagic Cormorant. While there a single Black Oystercatcher and several Barn Swallows before I managed to drag Dee away!

One of thirty Red-necked Phalarope!
After coffee at Canon Beach, which is a very friendly and quaint American town we headed back towards Tillamook and our next stop, Nehalem Bay Sewage Ponds. Slightly off topic, a fuel stop on route was a real eye opener, $37 to completely fill a Cherokee Jeep, unleaded here is $2.89 A GALLON!! At the sewage works there is a gate in the fence for birders to access the ponds but the area is only open during the week.

Killdeer on arrival into the car park
Spring migration is now in full swing and there are literally birds to be found everywhere. As we drove into the car park a Greater Yellowlegs and brace of Killdeer seemed to be having a set-to and as we arrived at the first pond 30 Red-necked Phalarope were feeding. Three more Greater Yellowlegs, (24) Western Sandpiper, along with a single Dunlin also noted.

Western Sandpiper - One of around two dozen
We headed off around the two ponds and on the water recorded: (35) Lesser/Greater Scaup, (2) Ruddy Duck, (4) Bufflehead, (2) Gadwall + 8 young, (4) Pintail, (7) Green-winged Teal, (5) Northern Shoveler, single Bonaparte's Gull and a pair of Cinnamon Teal.

American Pipit - A real variation in plumage with these so thanks to Derek Killby my buddy in Vancouver for the ID help tonight!
The surrounding rocks held Savannah Sparrow and American Pipit, plus overhead Peregrine Falcon, Turkey Vulture, Bald EagleAmerican Kestrel and circa (30) Greater White-fronted Geese.

Two for one! Lark Sparrow (left) and Savannah Sparrow!
While heading off along the perimeter road two more species of note were Northern Harrier and Lark Sparrow. Finally, and I apologise for the length of the post (so much to fit in) a stop off at Barview Park produced two final birds on an amazing day: Common Tern and Whimbrel, the latter my first in North America! Oh and should mention our first Coyote of the tour today, when one almost ran out in front of us!

Whimbrel - A great end to one amazing days #birdingoregon

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