Monday, August 9, 2010

Excitement on the Oregon Coast!

Well, I was excited. Johnny liked whale watching at Cape Kiwanda better, I think (see earlier blog). My excitement was partly because I wasn't fighting back blackberries along the driveway or pulling thistles in the fields, something I've been doing a great deal of lately.

Today I escaped, taking Johnny with me, to check on our Road's End Black Oystercatcher nests. We confirmed that it is nests, plural. The middle pair finally let us see a nest exchange, although we can't actually see the nest. We do now know that it is on the back side of the closest of Big Double Rocks (as I call them). And I saw one fledgling again at North Nest Rock (also my name). The Original Nest Rock pair were again just hanging out, their nest having apparently failed early on. But as satisfying as it was to know the status of all three nests, that wasn't the excitement.

No, the excitement came at Boiler Bay, where we drove later to see if we could find the one fledgling from the pair that nested there. When we arrived, Johnny spotted an adult Bald Eagle on a distant spit of land. Then he noticed that the eagle was being dive-bombed by a little black bird. With the scope, we were able to see that the little black bird was an Oystercatcher... and there were two of them harassing the eagle, who was eating something very large (definitely not an Oystercatcher). We thought the juvenile BLOY must be somewhere near and that's why the parents were so frantic. But search as we might, we could not see it.

After many minutes of BLOY strafing eagle, the eagle moved, with its prey, out of our sight. That must have been just far enough to satisfy the furious BLOY parents, for they then flew toward us and landed on a rock between us and the spit of land where the eagle action had been. A third BLOY appeared... the fledgling! It must have been motionless in place, hiding until its parents returned.

The best photo I managed to take is still lousy because of the great distance. The video is distant but you can see the two Black Oystercatchers attacking the eagle over and over with the eagle jumping up to counterattack each time. What an amazing sight to see these two little shorebirds trying to chase away a huge eagle. And, apparently, managing to annoy it so much that it did, finally, leave. "Oops there goes another rubber tree plant!" (Remember that song? "For he had high hopes; he had high apple pie in the sky hopes...")

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