Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Gray Day on the Coast

We took a day off on Thursday, Oct. 20, to visit friends on the coast and see what we could see. We were barely onto Hwy 101, north of Hebo, when we spotted a hawk on the wire that did not look like the usual Red-tailed Hawk. We circled back and discovered it was a Red-shouldered Hawk. It did not stay around long enough for a good photo. 

When we reached Netarts Bay, on the 3 Capes highway, we found seal torpedoes resting on the exposed sand at low tide. Well, they looked like little torpedoes.

Also lots of Double-crested Cormorants and Brown Pelicans

Before meeting our friends for lunch at the Upstairs cafe in Netarts (great food and nice folks), we drove to Short Beach to look for Black Oystercatchers. I'm on a mission to find fledglings. Three flew in to bathe in the fresh water creek in the middle of the photo below, but they were all adults. Notice the rocky outcropping on the left of the photo as later, we came back and found 8 over there, including at least one fledgling. Most had their heads tucked so we could not see if their bills were all red or had the fledgling darkness toward the tip.

Two adult BLOY

After lunch, we all headed to Cape Meares which was fogged in. However looking south from one of the observing platforms, we could see the Three Arch Rocks off Oceanside.

...And the rocks off Short Beach, pretty even on a gray day.

We drove back to Short Beach but the tide was in and people were clambering all over what little rocky beach was left, so the BLOY had moved to the rocky outcropping where they were invisible... until I propped my other camera, the Nikon P900, on a tripod and zoomed in. It found 6 BLOY (and a lot of gulls) on the rock and 2 more on a rock beyond.

It's pretty hard to see black birds on black rock.

Here they are in a cropped version.

 This silhouetted bird was a very long way away and refused to take his bill out so I could see if it was a juvenile or adult. Nor could I see the eye, which has a red ring in adults, missing in juveniles.

This one, a juvenile, was more cooperative.

We drove on to Oceanside and scoped the Three Arch Rocks from the other side. There are actually 9 rocks in this 15 acre National Wildlife Refuge, 3 big ones and 6 little ones.

The rock on the right, Finley Rock, has a sort of ramp that goes from water level in the middle of the rock up to the left. At the tip of that ramp, an eagle is usually perched. And so it was this day.

 My Panasonic camera is wonderful, but does not zoom up enough for eagles as distant as these (there were two after awhile). So again I propped my Nikon P900 on the scope tripod. (It's too heavy to hold still when zooming in.)

 The ramp is the darker area in the middle of the photo, angling up to the left.

 And there's the eagle...

And a bit later, two eagles...  Our friends told us that these eagles nest out there every year and begin repairing or rebuilding their nest in November.

 The farthest south rock, out by itself, Shag Rock, looked deserted until I zoomed in on the left side.

It looked like there were bumps on the left side at this distance...

A little more zoom and the bumps are getting bigger...

And here they are as far as my camera would zoom... Brown Pelicans! Lots of them!

It was time to head homeward so we followed our friends as far as Hwy 101, then turned south and drove to Munson Creek Falls, It is so close to the highway that we always stop and hike in to this highest falls in the Coast Range if it is still daylight.

The trail follows the pretty, rocky stream up to the falls. Sometimes we see Dippers along the stream, but not this day.

It was a good day with good friends, lots of birds... and pretty views, even in the gray.


  1. A wonderful bird is the pelican
    His bill can hold more than his belican
    He can take in his beak
    Food enough for a week
    But I'm damned if I see how the helican
    Dixon Lanier Merritt

    1. I used to quote that to our kids every time we went to the beach, but I thought it was by Ogden Nash. You are right, of course, that it is by Dixon Lanier Merritt. It drove the kids nuts no matter who the author.

  2. Finley Rock has a bunch of birds on the right side, too. More pelicans?

    1. Do you mean Shag Rock? Boy, you have good eyes. I didn't zoom the camera in on that side but, yes, they look like pelicans. I don't see anything on the right side of Finley Rock (the tallest one... the one with the eagles).