Category Archives: travel

Nesting birds at Seal Rock, Oregon Coast

Western Gulls and Cormorants nest on the rocky cliffs on the Oregon Coast.  The gulls are near the top while cormorants like a more risky location.

western gull chicks and adults
Chicks are very well camouflaged

I think seagulls hatch laughing.

western gulls
Western Gulls – HA HA HA ha ha

Cormorant chicks apparently hatch pooping.  If you see streaks of white on the cliffs, look for a nest at the top of the white streak.

Cormorant chicks on the nest
Cormorant chicks on the nest

The Great Blue Heron nests in tree tops but fish in rivers, bays and tidepools.

great blue heron tidepooling
Great Blue Heron like tidepooling for a different reason

I love the contrast of colors on the Pigeon Guillemot: black body, white patch on wings, red legs.

Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot

The mouth lining is also bright red-orange during courting season.  The Pigeon Guillemot is one of the few members of the auk and puffin family to lay 2 eggs.  They also feed in shallower water.

pigeon guillemot
Red mouth and red feet makes it harder to tell when foot is in mouth – which, as we know, can happen a lot during courtship
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Tidepools – Central Oregon Coast

Even when I can’t find any starfish I LOVE tidepooling.

tidepool colors
The colors of the plants are so rich!

My sweet hubby took me tidepooling this morning and he’s not even that into it.  I feel so loved!

Seagulls bathing at Seal Rock, Oregon
Seagulls bathing at Seal Rock, Oregon

We went to Seal Rock where, oddly enough, I’ve only seen 2 seals in the 8 years we’ve been here.  It was a gorgeous day!

Giant Green Anemone among various seaweeds (sea lettuce, black pine, etc)
Giant Green Anemone among various seaweeds (sea lettuce, black pine, etc)

Anemones disguise themselves by holding onto shell pieces when they close.

Aggregating Anemones
Aggregating Anemones

It can get pretty windy on the beach but it usually comes up later in the morning or afternoon.  We decided to get an early start and it had to be timed with low tide; of course.

Picnic tables in Seal Rock State Park
Picnic tables in Seal Rock State Park

We parked at Seal Rock State Park which has a clean restroom, picnic tables and paved ramp that goes almost to the beach.  The last 20 feet or so are loose rocks.

Seal Rock State Park beach access
Seal Rock State Park beach access

Can you barely see the seagulls on top of the cliff on the left side of the photo above?

Otters and Great White Egret

The wildlife parade began on Monday and has lasted all week!

In addition to the elk herd, at least 2 families of otters are coming by everyday.  Here’s a favorite video of the otters.  You may want to click on YouTube (bottom, right) for better viewing.

[youtube https://youtu.be/xQvKncghikw]

This evening we had a special visitor that we don’t see very often.  4 Great White Egret fished for a while and then roosted in a nearby tree.

great white egret
I wonder if these are young egrets with a parent?

They just look like a white version of the Great Blue Heron.

great white egret
Finding a comfortable tree for roosting

They are graceful birds.

great white egret
If they snack on bugs they’ve found the right spot

Otter family on the Alsea

The otter family can be quiet when they want to.  This family has 4 kits.  The fourth is up in the grass outside the picture frame.

Otter family on Alsea River
Otter family on Alsea River

They were swimming downriver when the one in the video below saw a mudcat (sculpin) that it decided to have for lunch.  I was surprised at how long he kept after that fish until he caught it.  Based on the otter’s moves, that sculpin was pretty experienced at evading danger!

[youtube https://youtu.be/YHpYztlUybM]

Mallard family on the Alsea

I had to finish the month with some wildlife baby pictures I got this week.

This mallard mom is watching over naptime of her 11 little ones.

mallard ducks on alsea river
Ducklings huddled together for a nap

Then they get up and get to work to feed themselves.  You can see that one of the little ones is starting to look like mom on her upper wings.

Apparently WordPress isn’t going to let me post 2 YouTube videos so I’ll show the otters in the next blog.

First Goose Chick!

I wonder if the first goose chick is an over-achiever?

canada goose couple with one chick
First Chick Sighting!

This little guy got to go out with mommy and daddy today.  I wonder if siblings are still in their eggs on this warm day?  The geese are headed back to the nest when they see the Great White Egret fishing up ahead.

Great White Egret and Mallard hen
Great White Egret and Mallard hen

So they guide their little one to their opposite side to put themselves between their chick and potential danger.

canada goose, great white egret, mallard
3 varieties of waterfowl co-exist

The chick – okay gosling – will be almost as big as Mom and Dad in just a couple months.

canada goose family
Canada Goose family heading home

We counted a possible 10 nests just from the heads popping up out of the tall grass in the marshes next to Eckman Lake on the Alsea River.

Nesting on Alsea River at Eckman Lake
Nesting on Alsea River at Eckman Lake

There’s a parking area on Hwy 34 where you can view the Canada Goose families at Eckman Lake.  Bring your binoculars and zooming camera to get a close look like these.  I’m sure I don’t need to say this but I will:  DO NOT walk through their nesting field as they will abandon their nests leaving the chicks vulnerable to predators.  And the parents will probably not return next year.

Who doesn’t enjoy blue sky?

I guess even sea lions get cabin fever now and then.  Give them blue sky and calm seas and you may see them outside of Sea Lion Caves; north of Florence, Oregon, on Highway 101.  Just north of the caves there is a pullout; the vantage point for the “most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast”.  The lighthouse keeper’s house is a bed and breakfast:  Heceta Head Lighthouse

heceta head lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

Park your car, get out and listen.  If you can hear the sea lions barking, look over the rock wall to the cliffs below.  These are a mix of California and Stellar Sea Lions.

sea lion haul out
Sea Lions Hauling Out

They complain a lot but they like to snuggle.

sea lions
Mom! He’s touching me!

On the other side of the cliff, closer to the caves, another group of sea lions climb the steep cliff; hugging the side to get to the top.

sea lion rock climbers
Sea Lions are great rock climbers