Tag Archives: brandts cormorant

Great weather coming for Memorial Weekend!

Today was beautiful.  The ocean was turquois!

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse today

The Brandts Cormorants and Common Murre are starting to nest on the cliffs.

cormorants nesting
Cormorant male displays his colors

The male displays his pretty blue neck by tilting his head all the way back to touch his tail feathers and he raises his elbows like a human imitating a chicken.

cormorant with egg
Can you find the egg showing under the cormorant?

Hint:  Look in a nest in the lower left-hand corner for the egg.  This is part of a new marine reserve now.  A volunteer was observing and counting the cormorants here and at the site next to Heceta Head Lighthouse.

common murre and brandts cormorants
Common Murre are gathering too

We didn’t see any eggs with the murres.

Pelican Fly-by

We even got a nice fly-by from a flock of pelicans!

sea lion
The fat-guy says…well, nothing

All the other sea lions must be in the cave.  He must need some peace and quiet.

A road crew is doing maintenance on the bridge just north of the tunnel at Heceta Head Lighthouse.  One lane is open.  Expect delays.  They do a pretty good job letting traffic through.  I’m not sure if they’ll continue through the weekend or not.

We’re supposed to get a bit of a drizzle in the morning but it should clear up for us to see the meteor shower Friday night/Saturday morning.

Moody Oregon Coast

The Central Oregon Coast was a little moody today.  No worries – we’ll just duck on into Tidal Raves (Depoe Bay) for lunch and hope the fog lifts.

View from Tidal Raves
View from Tidal Raves

Doesn’t that just say Oregon Coast?!

Full tummies (fish tacos are YUMMY) and we’re off!  Checked in at the Whale Center: whale count yesterday (0), today (there’s still hope, although very little).

Depoe Bay - Smallest Harbor in the World
Depoe Bay – Smallest Harbor in the World

I’ve seen these charter boats navigate this harbor entrance in rough weather and I don’t know how they get home with clean underwear?

Osprey at Devils Punchbowl
Osprey at Devils Punchbowl

Usually Otter Creek Road is a beautiful drive but it was fogged in today.  So, it was just a nice drive without a view.  We stopped at the Devils Punchbowl and saw a different sight – an osprey sitting on the cliff overlooking the marine gardens.

Goings-on in Yaquina Bay
Goings-on in Yaquina Bay

There was a lot of activity in Yaquina Bay so we pulled out onto the South Jetty to watch for a little bit.   This photo sums it up: boats going out, boat being towed in, birds flying, calm seas, overcast

Squirrel eating whole grains
Squirrel eating whole grains

Now look – this squirrel is trying to eat right.  He’s eating whole grains.  I’m guessing he’ll die of coronary heart disease like the humans who feed him french fries.

Seals on Seal Rock?
Seals at Seal Rock?

Are these inflatable seals?  How many times have you actually seen seals at Seal Rock?!

Brown Pelicans at Seal Rock
Brown Pelicans at Seal Rock

The brown pelicans are back in town.  My favorite thing to watch them do is fly in formation over the waves and dive for fish.

common murre chicks with brandts cormorrants
Can you find the 2 Common Murre chicks?

Nobody was read for the tour to be over so we kept driving south.  These cormorants and murres are still raising their families just north of Sea Lion Caves.  I wish I could be there when the murre chick jump off this cliff.  I just can’t imagine it.  What a strange instinct to have :-}

What’s to see when it’s foggy on the Central Oregon Coast?

It is always cooler on the coast than it is in the Willamette Valley (I-5 corridor from Portland to Eugene).  Many times, when it’s hot in the “valley”, it will be foggy on the coast.

Although it’s not the best time for whale watching there’s plenty to see on the Central Oregon Coast when it’s foggy; as long as you don’t focus on the fog.

Bray's Point on Hwy 101 - Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside
Bray’s Point on Hwy 101 – Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside

If I am standing in the fog, I like to get my “head out of the clouds” and go for a drive on Hwy 101.

Bray's Point - Hwy 101 - looking south
Bray’s Point – Hwy 101 – looking south

Most of the time, the fog is patchy along the Oregon coast.  As the highway rises, we climb out of the fog to enjoy azure blue skies and the warmth of the sun.  Hiking in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a great option – but today we’re going to Florence for groceries and fuel (the cheapest fuel in Oregon).

Cormorants and Common Murre Nests
Cormorants and Common Murre Nests

We stopped at the overlook of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Sea Lion Caves, on this foggy morning.  We could not see the lighthouse until we drove back by later in the afternoon.  But I enjoy seeing how the cormorant chicks are growing.  The chicks aren’t as dark and shiny-black as their parents.  The common murres are still there but I can’t tell if any of these are chicks.

Beaver in the Alsea River
Beaver in the Alsea River

Of course, there’s always the option of driving inland, up a river, for other un-foggy options.  This photo was taken near Blackberry Campground, 18 miles east of Waldport.

Elk herd with this year's calves
Elk herd with this year’s calves

The elk calves still have their spots and feed in open fields with the rest of the herd.

Sassy Elk Calf
Sassy Elk Calf

I’m not sure if the cow on the left is the mom but she’s not happy with the calf (ears down).  And the calf is talking to her (mouth open).

Nesting Shorebirds – Oregon

We stopped at our favorite overlook to see how the Sea Lions, Brandt’s Cormorants and Common Murres are doing.  This is from the big pullout between Sea Lion Caves and Heceta Head Lighthouse north of Florence, Oregon, on Hwy 101.

Brandt's Cormorants and Common Murres Nesting
Brandt’s Cormorants and Common Murres Nesting

The Common Murres don’t build nests.  They lay their single egg on the hard rock, then hatch it by putting it on top of their feet for 28 – 35 days.  Mom and Dad take turns incubating.  “After the chick hatches the adult female flies north to molt while the male leads unfledged young on a swimming migration north to the protected waters of Washington and British Columbia” according to: http://www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/wildlife/seabird.htm

Did you catch that?  “unfledged” means they can’t fly yet when the male takes them swimming north.  So, how do they get down from the cliff?  Roll-n-Splash?

Brandt's Cormorant Chicks
Brandt’s Cormorant Chicks

See the cormorant chicks in the nest on the right?  The one on the top nest looks like she’s next to a murre?  Wish I could see closer!  I keep trying to imagine what the white could be from but maybe the cormorant chicks are mostly white?

If you have a better camera – go get some better pix and let me see them 🙂

Blue sky over Baker Beach - Oregon Coast near Florence
An Aquamarine Day!

It was certainly a gorgeous day on the Oregon coast!

Sunny June Days on the Oregon Coast

I always have to stop to see if the sea lions are out on the rocks.

heceta head lighthouse
All spruced up!

This is our first look at the lighthouse after the light was turned back on this spring.

California Sea Lions
California Sea Lions

Two sea lions were being noisy.  I’m pretty sure these are California Sea Lions due to the crest on their heads; which you can see better in the next photo.

Stellar and California Sea Lions
Stellar and California Sea Lions

And the brown one on the right is a Stellar Sea Lion.  Most of them must be in the caves.

If you don’t look carefully, you’ll miss the dark ones.  They blend in with the color of the rocks.

Nesting Brandt's Cormorants
Nesting Brandt’s Cormorants

The Brandt’s Cormorants have made the rocky cliff a little more cozy for nesting; whether on top…

Brandt's Cormorants - Nesting on a Cliff
Nesting on the edge

…or on the side.