Tag Archives: common murre

Best weather on the Oregon Coast!

Well, that’s a matter of opinion.  After living here for a while, I like the rain and fog as much as the sunshine.  You could say the Oregon Coast is a little moody.

If you’re here for the views though, July – October is when you’ll find the clearest skies.  Of course my favorite views are between Waldport and Florence because you can see everything from Highway 101.

heceta head lighthouse
Photo-op at Heceta Head Lighthouse Overlook on Hwy 101

Today would be an awesome day for a horseback ride on the beach.

Horseback riding on Baker Beach
Horseback riding on Baker Beach

Our friends say the fishing is good.

Common Murre eating fish
Common Murre eating fish

And the livin’ is easy…

Stellar Sea Lion and Guillemot
Stellar Sea Lion and Guillemot

The Guillemot have such pretty shoes!

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 :-}

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!

Nothing is just Black and White

I’m not sure if this is a metaphor or not.  I usually don’t go looking for a metaphor for life.  But, often, as I think about what I’ve observed, I can apply it to life.

Brandt's Cormorant with Common Murre
Brandt’s Cormorant with Common Murre

We’d heard reports of orcas being seen from Sea Lion Caves all week.  So we stopped at the Hwy 101 overlook, just north of there, yesterday.  As is usually the case my attention span, and the tiny specs that I have to look for in the distance for most whale watching, are directly proportional.  There’s usually something closer to see on the rocks just below the overlook.  (Another metaphor I’ve learned from the ocean:  If I spend too much time looking for great things in the distance, I miss the beauty in the small things right under my nose.)

The smaller birds with more white on them is the Common Murre.  The larger ones with the long neck is the Brandt’s Cormorant.

Brandt's Cormorant
Brandt’s Cormorant

But LOOK!  With the naked eye I think I see something blue?

Sure enough!  It’s breeding season and the male cormorants are displaying their striking, blue, chins to attract the females.

Cormorants and murres share the same general nesting areas.  The male cormorant gathers materials and brings them back to the female for her to make the nest.

Pigeon Guillemot Flock
Pigeon Guillemot Flock

So I look over another edge and see a different black and white bird.

But LOOK!  With the naked eye I think I see orange feet?  It’s the Pigeon Guillemot.  The little bit of a black bar on the white wing distinguishes the Pigeon Guillemot from the Black Guillemot.

Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot – Where’d you got those shoes!

See, if you really pay attention, things are usually not ALL black and white.

Common Murre
Common Murre

…except maybe the Common Murre?  But, then, maybe I just need to look closer?

August on the Oregon Coast

I got a new toy 🙂   35X Zoom!

Cannon PowerShot SX40 HS
Cannon PowerShot SX40 HS

We had to go try it out.  I’ve been trying to catch a kingfisher on camera for some time.  The slightest movement startles them.

With this new camera I don’t have to get as close to get a good shot. 🙂

King Fisher - Lint Slough
King Fisher – Lint Slough

The young osprey, in the nest at the high school, was waiting for his lunch.

Young Osprey-WHS
Young Osprey – Waldport HS nest

Campers made this fogdial on Tillicum Beach.  I’d call it a sundial but we’ve been fogged in for a few days.  The way a fogdial works is, if you don’t see it, visibility is less than 5 feet.


A camper reported an injured bird this morning.  I reported it to the State Parks and they reported it to the Beach Ranger.  Then I went out to see what kind of bird it was.  I couldn’t tell from her description.  It is a common murre.  The lady sat out there by the bird, to ward off dogs, until the Ranger came.  But she had to go to the restroom, and when she came back, the bird had died and a crow was eating it.  The lady was sad and thought the crow was “mean”.  But the crow’s got to eat too.  It’s the circle of life.

Injured Common Murre
Injured Common Murre

She described it as black and white and kind of looked like a penguin.  The common murre even walks like a penguin.