Sunday, May 18, 2014

Oregon's Coast

The Common Murres swarm Castle Rock like bees around a hive.  Twenty-five thousand birds are noted to nest on this rock island off Crescent City, CA just below the Oregon border.  Although 99% are Common Murres, there are Tufted Puffins, Cassin's Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Brant's, Pelagic & Double Crested Cormorants.  Plus Western Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Canada Geese and Peregrine Falcon on this rock.  Feeding in the water were hundreds of Surf Scoters, Western & Eared Grebes, Red-throated, Pacific & Common Loons.  The only sounds above the crashing waves is the barking of the California Seal Lions and the jungle-like roar of the Stellar Sea Lion.  To the casual observer of the island, it looks like nothing at all, but through the scope - the bird life is amazing.

Northern Raven checking out the RV park

First Marsh Wren of the year

Note the small Cackling Goose

All along the Oregon Coast are the beautiful rock outcroppings and islands of all shapes and sizes.  Many are full of nesting birds.

 All of the tidal pools along the shores hold colorful treasures.

Sun Star

Sea Anemone 

Pigeon Guillemots

We stopped at many of Oregon's State Parks overlooking the Pacific.  There are miles of sand dunes that are amazing to say the least.

We went inland a bit along the Alsea River and stayed at Chinook RV park for 2 nights.  The feeders there were alive with birds including 14 Evening Grosbeaks.
Evening Grosbeak

On Mother's Day we birded the Florence area and found 6 Red-necked Phalaropes.  A rare find for us.

We found many more bird colonies along the way and settled into Cape Kiwanda with it's huge sandstone mountain and large sand dune to the right.  Plus the monolith rock which covers 47 acres and the water is 90 feet deep around it.
Pine Sap - lacks chlorophyll and derives food from wood rotting fungi

On May 14th we officially started our 4th year on the road with a birding stop at Cape Meares.  This old growth Sitka Spruce covered headland boasts a colony of 220,000 nesting Common Murres (the largest colony south of Alaska).

We watched this Chestnut-backed Chickadee excavating it's nest in a fence post, while Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Warblers and Pacific Wrens vocalized announcing their territories.

This 300 year old Sitka Spruce was dubbed the Octopus Tree due to it's unique branching.

Wilson's warblers are the most common warbler along the coast.

Barn Swallow on observation deck

Our last stop in Oregon was Ft. Stevens State Park which we will remember for it's friendly Barn Swallows, barking coyotes, numerous Bald Eagles, Elk, Beaver and a nesting Pacific Wren in our electrical box at our campsite.

We can attest to the well deserved reputation of Oregon's beautiful coastline.  As we cross the Astoria bridge in Washington we send our best wishes and God's richest blessings to all.

Ty & Ida Baumann

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