Category Archives: west coast

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?

Ring-necked Ducks in Alsea Tidewater, Oregon

I don’t see these ducks year-round.  So, when they come around, I usually have to look them up.  They have similarities with scaups, both have blue on their bill and the colors are similar.  Differences are obvious when looking at them side-by-side though.

Although the cloud cover this morning made colors muted, the blue stripe on the bill of the Ringnecked duck almost glowed.

Ringnecked Duck - female
Ringnecked Duck – female

I had NO idea where their name came from.  I think I’ve said this before, but where is the ring around their neck?  According to AllAboutBirds.org, it comes from the “hard-to-see chestnut collar around its black neck”….”not a good field mark to use for identifying the bird.”

Ring-necked duck couple
Ring-necked duck couple

For comparison, here’s the scaup:

greater scaups
Greater Scaups

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.

First time I’ve seen this critter on the Alsea River

Anyone know what it is?

mink fishing in alsea river
Mink (?) looking for fish

It is about the size of a baby otter.  But the fur is lighter color.  The tail is shorter but furry and gradually turns to black.

mink swimming
He runs along the bank and even swam out to the middle of the river and dove

His nose is really pointy and I can hardly see his ears.  I thought mink were black but info I read says they can be brown.

pointy nose critter
Look at that pointy nose

I didn’t know they would dive for food either.

mink looking under water
Takin’ a peek under water

Below is a video of him:

Merganser Courtship

Springtime is full of activity as ducks try to attract the attention of the opposite sex.  Males attract females with their vibrant colors.

Male Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser

The female common mergansers don’t change their plumage much, if at all.

Female Common Merganser
Female Common Merganser

But their attitude seems to change quite a bit during courtship.  They choose a mate and chase the other males away.  Sometimes it looks like she’s even grouchy with her mate though.

(By the way, I don’t have any control over what videos Youtube displays after mine. Please tell me if it shows offensive video choices.)

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

When it’s time to mate, though, the female gets very quiet.

[youtube https://youtu.be/TK8BkymqDV8]

She probably laid stretched out in the water for about 5 minutes before her partner was ready.

March of the solar lights

It really is useless to keep the solar lights out over the winter in Oregon.  Or maybe it’s just that we live in a valley where the sun rises in the south and sets in the south and there are mountains to our south!?  I know the days are getting longer when the solar lights come out of their winter hiding place and line up to soak up the sun.  Only the darkness will reveal which ones are worth keeping.

solar lights
Solar lights getting ready for daylight savings time

I love how the sun can spotlight a tree!

glowing tree
The late afternoon sun spotlights a tree

We are really lacking rain here in the northwest though.  It makes me worry about what summer will be like.  Hopefully we’ll get enough spring rain to fill up the aquifers.

alsea river
Crystal clear Alsea River

The steelhead and smolts are in the river and therefore the ducks are plentiful.  We even saw an eagle take a swipe at some ducks.

common mergansers on log
Common Mergansers
mallard ducks
Mallards display their spring colors

And more hummers are coming to the feeder.

Rufous Hummingbird at feeder
Rufous Hummingbird at feeder

Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead an hour to take full advantage of the vitamin D opportunities!  Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday morning – don’t be late for church!

Blonde Raccoon

The raccoons we see are usually black and grey.  But this one seems more brown and blonde.  It is really obvious when we see him with his buddies though.

raccoon
Brown Raccoon

We caught his buddies on video chasing mice around the yard.  Anyone who lives in the country needs a barn cat to keep the mice in control….or let the raccoons take care of them.