Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BLOY Winter Survey: Day Three, Cape Kiwanda

Wow! Three days in a row of good weather and cooperative birds.

Today Johnny and I climbed the dune at Cape Kiwanda and found a pair of Black Oystercatchers hanging out on their usual resting spot aside a cliff, waiting for the tide to recede. Perched in his customary lookout post on the top of their cliff was a Peregrine Falcon.

In the inlet below the BLOY and falcon, I could see Surf Scoters. Although this photo is blurry, it shows the bright red legs. This is the first time I've seen Scoters from above and the first time I knew they had red legs!

While I was admiring birds on the north side of the dune, Johnny was watching a single Black Oystercatcher, foraging with gulls on the south side and at the tip. After awhile, I joined Johnny. Finding black birds on black barnacle-strewn rocks can be a challenge. Without the gull behind him, this BLOY would be tough to pick out!

Cape Kiwanda is the closest part of the coast to our farm so this is where we brought our sons as they were growing up. I'm sure that climbing the dune is to this day what they think of when they think of going to the ocean. We've been climbing the dune at Cape Kiwanda for over thirty years. But every year, the dune and the cape change shape, sculpted anew by wind and water. This year was no exception.

These white streaks at the end of the cape were new (to us) this year. Lime leaching out of the yellow sandstone that Cape Kiwanda is made of?

On the way back from the end of the cape, I spotted my pair of BLOY foraging on a rock way off the north side of the cape. The tide had finally gone out enough for them to leave their cliff-side ledge. The low rock in the far distance in the photo left is the one they're on. Below is the rock a little closer. See if you can find the two BLOY silhouetted against the water in the zoomed in photo on the right.

The single BLOY was down on the southwest flats as we left, still foraging with a host of gulls. For a real challenge, see if you can find it in the photo below left! It takes practice to pick out distant black birds. We look for their red bills or their pale legs. Hint: it's on the left side of the photo, above and left of the gull. If you're lucky, the black bird will have sky or water behind, as that same bird does in the photo on the right.

I wonder if this lone BLOY will find a partner before nesting season? We'll be back in May to find out.

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