Tag Archives: cormorant

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

Alsea Bay, Waldport, Oregon

I went out at sunset in hopes to see the Supermoon rise over the Alsea Bay.  The eastern sky was covered by clouds so I focused on the sunset.

red sunset
Red Rubber Ball

The sun sets pretty far north in August.  It still amazes me how much it changes from summer to winter.  In the winter the sun will set at the mouth of the bay.

sunset over KOA
Taken from the archway on the Alsea Bridge

Here’s a view of the sleepy little town of Waldport from the archway on the Alsea Bridge.

Waldport from Alsea Bridge
Waldport from Alsea Bridge

The cormorants were resting on the underside of the bridge.  You can tell by the white poop that they nest above this area.  There were other cormorants hanging out but this one had something on his back that I wanted to get a closer look at.  There were about 5 dead cormorants there too.  I assume that’s common?

cormorant with lure
Anyone missing a lure?

I didn’t want to give up on the moonrise too soon; in case it surprised me by popping through the clouds.  So I crossed over to the east side of the bridge.  No seals on the sandbar, just evidence of their haulout.  But something caught my eye and I had to go investigate while I watched the sky change.

green bike
Looks like this Green Bike needs a rescue!

Waldport has a Green Bike program.  This one looks like it has a twisted back tire but, otherwise, might be salvageable if someone can get out to the sandbar at low tide.

Alsea Bay Bridge after sunset
Alsea Bay Bridge after sunset

Time to call it a night.  I’m sad the moon didn’t show up but happy to see the sunset with all its beautiful colors.

Fat, Cool, and Happy…as long as we’re in the water

Just a few more minutes dear…

harbor seals relax in water
Relaaaaaaax

We watched the harbor seals bobbing in Yaquina Bay while we had lunch on the South Jetty, Newport.  It was 90F yesterday!

harbor seals nuzzle
Seal Snuggles

Today, I looked for seal pups from the Alsea Bay Bridge.

harbor seal pup and mom
Pupping Season

I think there were a few but this was the closest one to me.

20 - 30 seals swooshed into the water
20 – 30 seals swooshed into the water

The funniest thing happened…all at once, about 20 – 30 seals lept off the beach into the bay.  I couldn’t see any reason for it.

Maybe that’s how they leave the beach…all at once?

Cormorant gathers seaweed from bottom of the Alsea Bay
Cormorant gathers seaweed from bottom of the Alsea Bay

The cormorants are interesting to watch too.  They seem to have their favorite spots where they know they can find seaweed under water.  They dive to gather it off the bottom.  They come up with a mouthful and fly off with it.  I think they nest somewhere under the bridge.  I saw them fly under the bridge but I didn’t think to watch to see if they came out the other side.

The Opportunistic World

This is the first time I’ve seen a cormorant this far up the Alsea River.  I know he’s here for the food but I wonder if there is a certain type of fish he’s followed up the river?  Chinook are too big even for a cormorant.  Double-crested cormorants are the most plentiful here so that’s probably what he is.

Cormorant
Cormorant

Although I was sad to see this pretty little Kingfisher was dying, I was excited to see one up close.

Belted Kingfisher
Dying Kingfisher

He didn’t suffer very long after I saw him.  I don’t know how long he’d been hurt though.  I didn’t do an autopsy to find out what caused his demise.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

What a beautiful bird!

brush bunny
Frisky Bunnies

Suspicious and Guilty were chasing each other around this morning.  Maybe we’ll have rabbit for Thanksgiving this year?!   hahaha – just KIDDING!

I’m going to dye them pastel colors and send them to the grandkids for Christmas presents. 🙂

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?

Yaquina Bay, Newport, OR

Had to make a run to the super Walmart, in Newport, before their shelves were emptied by the touristas.

So we grabbed a sandwich and had lunch at the south jetty on Yaquina Bay in Newport.

Yaquina Bay Boats
Yaquina Bay Boats

Look how blue that water is!  The sky is just as blue today.

Pelicans Feeding
Pelicans Feeding

The cormorants and brown pelicans are feeding near the jetty.  Two cormorants have staked out a rock and aren’t budging; even when the pelicans surround them.

Brown Pelicans Crowding the Cormorants
Brown Pelicans Crowding the Cormorants

 But when the pelican buzzes that cormorant he really gives the pelican a piece of his mind.

The pelicans hung around for about 10 minutes but more cormorants came and the pelicans finally flew away.