Category Archives: oregon coast

Oregon Coast – Total Solar Eclipse – 2017

That was SO fun!  I’m going to be watching reruns (from other photographers) for a long time.  Below is a slideshow of my stills and then a video of the total part of the solar eclipse.  In the slideshow, the totality occurred right after the perfect smile, then the sun came out on the right side of the moon.

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See my video below of the total solar eclipse.  (I do not have a DSLR camera.)  We got to see the corona but the camera didn’t capture it as it looked with the naked eye.

Elk Calving on Oregon Coast

I was just reading the article below that says the elk are calving a little late this year:  Protective mother elk menaces Gearhart beachgoers

I wonder what causes that?  A long, warmer-than-usual autumn?  Not sure but I’m glad the little ones started showing up.  You can see the difference in size of these calves as the larger one was probably born 3 or 4 weeks earlier than the others.

elk-calves-2

I just think they are adorable with their fluffy coat and white spots.  They outgrow their spots in late fall.  They even have the light brown rump but it is not as pronounced as the adult’s.

elk calf
Fluffy elk calf with spots

The cows leave the main herd before giving birth.  Mom’s leave their calves in the tall grass to rest while she feeds.  If you see a calf with no adult elk around, fight the urge to “save” it.  Do NOT approach it.  The calf is just fine.  You would put the calf in danger.  Mom WILL be back.  See how well they can hide in the tall grass in the photo below.

Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass
Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass

We often see the bull hanging around the cows and calves. Even the yearlings seem concerned or curious when the little ones are crying for mom. The bulls don’t get competitive with the younger bulls until late fall.

We counted 6 calves on this day; July 1, 2017.

elk-calf-injured-1

After I got these photos on the computer I noticed a bright red smudge on the cheek of the calf on the left.  Making sure it wasn’t a photo-glitch, I checked another photo of the calf and it was there too.  I’m guessing it was injured when trying to get through a barbwire fence.  Elk cost ranchers a lot of money by damaging their fences.  But the fence won the battle today.  😦

 

Otters Boiling the Alsea River

The river otters are fun to watch. There is such a flurry of activity in the water even before you know what’s making all the ripples.  I like them to come up on land so I can keep track of them while I count noses.

7-otter family
7-Otter Family

They almost never sit still for a photo.

Hay Fever or Elk Fever?

I’m not sure what I have but something is making me sneeze!

These are adult elk lying in tall grass – or hay – I confess that I don’t know the difference.  Anyway, there could be calves with them but you’d never see them.

Elk cows lying in a hay field with only head showing
Looks like the elk are in bloom!

The elk don’t seem to mind the birds collecting insects off their back.  I have hundreds of photos of elk in this area and I’ve never seen birds on their backs.  I wonder if there are more insects than normal this summer?

birds eat insects on elk back
Hitching a ride or meal?

Looks like this little guy is also blossoming. He was born last summer so his antlers are just now starting to grow.  By the end of the summer he’ll have a good set of spikes.

brand new antlers on bull elk
brand new antlers on bull elk

Of course his daddy is fully grown and lookin’ good!

Elk in velvet
Elk in velvet

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.