Tag Archives: birding

Spring Wildlife

There are signs of spring everywhere on the Oregon Coast.  See the 2 grey dots between the one elk’s ears?  That’s the bull who recently shed his antlers.  I think the bulls lose their antlers just before birthing season so they can get in touch with their feminine side. They’re a little more humble without antlers.  🙂

Bull elk shed his antlers
Bull elk shed his antlers

The Canada Geese are pairing up and building their nests.  You can see them on the Alsea Bay and up the river.  Eckman Lake is a good place to see a lot of them on their nests.

Canada Geese beginning to nest
Canada Geese beginning to nest

The brown pelicans have been here for over a month now.  These were in Yachats.  Seagulls are here year-round.

Brown Pelicans fishing off Yachats River
Brown Pelicans fishing off Yachats River

This is looking at Waldport from the beautiful arch on the Alsea Bay Bridge.  It’s my favorite place to look for seal pups.

Alsea Bay Bridge, Waldport, OR
Alsea Bay Bridge, Waldport, OR

It’s common to see Pelagic Cormorants diving in the bay and coming up with nesting material.  They make nests under the bridge out of sight of all but the boaters.

Cormorant under Alsea Bridge
Cormorant under Alsea Bridge

There are wall-to-wall harbor seals but I didn’t see any babies on this day (Apr 10, ’15).  Seals are able to delay implantation after their egg is fertilized.  Now, how does their body know, 9 months ahead, when will be the best conditions for giving birth?  I have a lot of questions when I get to heaven!  🙂

Wall-to-wall seals in Alsea Bay
Wall-to-wall seals in Alsea Bay

These seals were finished with their nap and were crabbing near the base of the bridge.

Harbor Seals in Alsea Bay
Harbor Seals in Alsea Bay

Wood Ducks and Bear Bait

The bears are going to be happy this fall!  We’ve got lots of apple blossoms.

Stellar Jays on Apple Tree
Stellar Jays on Apple Tree

The wood ducks made an appearance this afternoon.  It looks like the male on the left is a young one just coming into his breeding colors.  Maybe still living with Mom and Dad until he gets through this awkward stage?

Wood Ducks in Tidewater
Wood Ducks in Tidewater

The hen stayed closer to the larger male so I’m guessing they are a couple.

Wood Ducks in Tidewater
Wood Duck Couple

Maybe we need to make a nest box.

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.

Greater Scaups Brave the Alsea

Recent rains raised the Alsea River to 14 feet.  Flood stage here is 18ft.  The clear water gave way to muddy runoff.  Still these brave Greater Scaups came fishing.  A bird’s gotta eat!

scaups fish alsea river banks
Scaups fish the banks

Here’s a look upriver just west of Blackberry Campground this morning.  The rain stopped, dropping the river level 2.5 feet by tonight.

alsea river - 14 ft
Swollen Alsea River – 14 feet

The Greater Scaups fished all day.  How do they see anything in that mud?  It must have something to do with those golden eyes – gives them a sunny outlook!

greater scaups
Greater Scaups

Ducks on the Alsea River

It seems like an early spring here on the Oregon Coast!  The ducks were out like crazy yesterday.

[youtube http://youtu.be/4ZXW1YEz5AM]

Hooded and common mergansers, ring-necks, buffleheads and goldeneyes…

Female Bufflehead
    Female Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser Couple
     Hooded Merganser Couple
Hooded Merganser eating crawdad
     Hooded Merganser eating crawdad
Male Common Goldeneye
     Male Common Goldeneye
top: female common merganser;  bottom: female goldeneye
  top: female common merganser; bottom: female common goldeneye
Ring-necked duck and male common merganser
 Ring-necked duck and male common merganser

Diving Brown Pelicans

Some old friends are back on the Central Coast.

seagull
Well, the Seagulls never leave

But loons are not as common.  I’m not sure what kind of loon this is though.

loon - alsea bay waldport oregon
Weather Loon says it’s raining

Brown Pelicans are fun to watch as they dive so clumsily into the Alsea Bay.

[youtube http://youtu.be/iQ7ZsnlGK8Y]

Central Coast Birding

We thought we’d see a lot of birds today on the Yaquina Bay south jetty but we were a little disappointed.  There were a few seals up close and some Surf Scoters in the distance.  Then this cute little Harlequin duck couple paddled by.

harlequin ducks
Harlequin Duck Couple

I’m never sure who is observing who.

harlequin ducks
Harlequins watching the humans on the south jetty, Newport, OR