Category Archives: oregon coast

Spring to Summer

It’s amazing how fast the temps change on the Oregon Coast; even in the Spring.  I believe it depends on which way the wind blows.  (Maybe that’s obvious to a meteorologist.  hahaha)

swallow nest
swallow nest

We had a long, wet spring and it seems like the wildlife cycle is a little late.  That’s not a scientific fact; just a feeling.

very ripe salmonberry
very ripe Salmonberry

The wild berries also seem a little late.  I love the Salmonberries when they are a little over-ripe like this one.  And I think they are the prettiest when red rather than the earlier school bus orange.  I’ve found that the Salmonberries that get more sun aren’t as sweet; no matter how ripe they are.  So look for a bush that is mostly shaded during the day.

Eagle Alert!

“Eagle!” my content advisor (as he likes to go by) calls out.  I look out the window in time to see the adult eagle swoop down to the river.  Fumbling with my camera, I watch it land briefly on the rocks, pick something out of the river and continue flying upriver.

Adult Eagle on Alsea River
Adult Eagle on Alsea River

Keeping my eye on him I get my lens cap off, turn on the camera and get out the door onto our deck overlooking the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast.  He landed!  The “eagle has landed”; to borrow a phrase from my childhood.

I hear another eagle chirp every minute or so; like a juvenile keeping in close contact with a parent who has food.  And, sure enough…here comes the kid with a hollow leg.

Juvenile Eagle Joins Parent
Juvenile Eagle Joins Parent

Then another adult flew in to greet the two!

2nd Adult Eagle Flies In
2nd Adult Eagle Flies In

It happened too quick to get a photo of all 3 eagles together.  The camera doesn’t always win when I have to make a split-second choice between watching wildlife and photographing it.  The two adults flew off together and the young one stayed on the rock.  I couldn’t tell if the parent finished eating or left something for Junior.

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles get their adult plumage in about 5 years. This one looks like it is beginning to get its white head feathers.

4-5 year-old Bald Eagle
4-5 year-old Bald Eagle

Chicken-chasing bear

We had a report of a bear that chased some feral chickens in a nearby yard.  He was not deterred by the home-owners attempts to scare him away.  A bear that is not afraid of humans can be dangerous.  Fortunately, no human or property was hurt and the feral chicken issue is diminishing.

I enjoy wildlife from a distance – from the safety of my home.  We do not leave out garbage cans but they do like the natural food source along the Alsea River on the Oregon Coast.

Nursing Elk

From a distance, in a herd of elk, it is sometimes hard to distinguish the yearlings from the newest calves after they’ve lost their spots.  But there is one time when it is obvious.

Click/tap to watch the video here:  Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf
Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Diving Duck?

At first I thought this was a mallard hen.  But I’ve never seen a mallard dive underwater and swim.  This one dove several times in the tidewater of the Alsea River.  Watch the video and tell me if you think this is a mallard.  A still photo of her is below the link to the video.

Mallard Hen Diving – Video

mallard hen?
Mallard Hen?

And I love the colors on the Wood ducks!

Wood Duck Couple
Wood Duck Couple

Merganser Chicks in Formation

The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing.  They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.

Short wings of juvenile Common Mergansers
Short wings of juvenile Common Mergansers

Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo.  Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks.  They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.

common merganser female with chicks
Mom getting her chicks prepared for take-off

Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river.  I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing.  Whatever it was never came back.  The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them.  I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.

Common Merganser with 11 chicks
Common Merganser with 11 chicks!

With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise.  This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.