Saturday, February 6, 2010

Short Beach

My mission to photograph juvenile Black Oystercatchers (BLOY) began yesterday at Short Beach. Short Beach is actually not very short. But a little stream called Short Creek runs into it, hence the name. Short Beach deserves a prettier name because it is a very pretty spot. The Oystercatchers like it a lot. They, along with lots of gulls, bathe and drink in the freshwater flowing out of a culvert and across the beach to the ocean. Or they do when the beach isn't full of people and dogs.

Yesterday, it was full of people and dogs. So the birds were on offshore rocks and rocky headlands. Determined to find a juvenile BLOY to photograph, I climbed down the makeshift stairs to the beach and clambered over slippery boulders to where I could see north (photo left) toward Cape Meares and south (photo right) past Lost Boy Cave to the rocks off Oceanside. From that vantage point, I could see BLOY in both directions, plus one juvenile on the same rocky outcropping I was on.

Eventually, I got an okay photo, although mostly the blessed bird kept the back of its head toward me so I couldn't see the bill, which is the defining difference between adults and juveniles. Juveniles take months (how many months I'm trying to find out by photographing them at various times) to go from a dark bill to an all orange bill. Their eyes start out dark, I'm told, and become adult yellow. Both adults and juveniles have red eye rings but the adults' are more obvious. Or something. You couldn't prove it by me or my photographs. At least, not yet. Pictured are the juvenile (left) and an adult (right) I photographed yesterday.

Naturally, I need many more trips to the beach to figure this out.

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