Tag Archives: oregon coast

Elk Calving on Oregon Coast

I was just reading the article below that says the elk are calving a little late this year:  Protective mother elk menaces Gearhart beachgoers

I wonder what causes that?  A long, warmer-than-usual autumn?  Not sure but I’m glad the little ones started showing up.  You can see the difference in size of these calves as the larger one was probably born 3 or 4 weeks earlier than the others.

elk-calves-2

I just think they are adorable with their fluffy coat and white spots.  They outgrow their spots in late fall.  They even have the light brown rump but it is not as pronounced as the adult’s.

elk calf
Fluffy elk calf with spots

The cows leave the main herd before giving birth.  Mom’s leave their calves in the tall grass to rest while she feeds.  If you see a calf with no adult elk around, fight the urge to “save” it.  Do NOT approach it.  The calf is just fine.  You would put the calf in danger.  Mom WILL be back.  See how well they can hide in the tall grass in the photo below.

Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass
Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass

We often see the bull hanging around the cows and calves. Even the yearlings seem concerned or curious when the little ones are crying for mom. The bulls don’t get competitive with the younger bulls until late fall.

We counted 6 calves on this day; July 1, 2017.

elk-calf-injured-1

After I got these photos on the computer I noticed a bright red smudge on the cheek of the calf on the left.  Making sure it wasn’t a photo-glitch, I checked another photo of the calf and it was there too.  I’m guessing it was injured when trying to get through a barbwire fence.  Elk cost ranchers a lot of money by damaging their fences.  But the fence won the battle today.  😦

 

Eagle Alert!

“Eagle!” my content advisor (as he likes to go by) calls out.  I look out the window in time to see the adult eagle swoop down to the river.  Fumbling with my camera, I watch it land briefly on the rocks, pick something out of the river and continue flying upriver.

Adult Eagle on Alsea River
Adult Eagle on Alsea River

Keeping my eye on him I get my lens cap off, turn on the camera and get out the door onto our deck overlooking the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast.  He landed!  The “eagle has landed”; to borrow a phrase from my childhood.

I hear another eagle chirp every minute or so; like a juvenile keeping in close contact with a parent who has food.  And, sure enough…here comes the kid with a hollow leg.

Juvenile Eagle Joins Parent
Juvenile Eagle Joins Parent

Then another adult flew in to greet the two!

2nd Adult Eagle Flies In
2nd Adult Eagle Flies In

It happened too quick to get a photo of all 3 eagles together.  The camera doesn’t always win when I have to make a split-second choice between watching wildlife and photographing it.  The two adults flew off together and the young one stayed on the rock.  I couldn’t tell if the parent finished eating or left something for Junior.

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles get their adult plumage in about 5 years. This one looks like it is beginning to get its white head feathers.

4-5 year-old Bald Eagle
4-5 year-old Bald Eagle

#snowonthealsea

We’re enjoying a snowday from home today.  Snow on the beach is such a rarity on the Oregon Coast and I got to kinda see it once…at midnight…from a distance…lit by my camera flash…see here: Snow on Tillicum Beach

Today I’m enjoying it from up the Alsea River.

alsea river snow
Alsea River at head of tidewater

We had plans for going to Newport to volunteer at the Family History Center and then do our weekly grocery shopping.  But caution prevails today.

driftboat in snow
timeout for snow

Some don’t mind travelling on snow days but the duck route isn’t any different than any other day on the river.

ring-necked ducks, alsea river
Ring-necked ducks

Most of the snow fell before the tide started going out this morning.

snow level meets tide level
Snow level meets tide level on the Alsea

Salmonberries first gathered weeds from the high river last month and now snow.

salmonberries gathering snow
Salmonberries gathering snow on the Alsea

 

Elk Fog Horn

The fog was so thick this morning that I could hardly see across the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast.  Then I heard an elk call from a calf.  They sound like a weaker version of the adult cow.  So I looked and saw one or two elk making their way across the field making calls to each other like a sonar tracking system.  Then the rest of the herd appeared as the fog lightened a little.

Elk in Fog Video

elk on foggy morning
Elk on foggy morning

Merganser Chicks in Formation

The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing.  They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.

Short wings of juvenile Common Mergansers
Short wings of juvenile Common Mergansers

Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo.  Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks.  They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.

common merganser female with chicks
Mom getting her chicks prepared for take-off

Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river.  I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing.  Whatever it was never came back.  The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them.  I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.

Common Merganser with 11 chicks
Common Merganser with 11 chicks!

With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise.  This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.

Nesting birds at Seal Rock, Oregon Coast

Western Gulls and Cormorants nest on the rocky cliffs on the Oregon Coast.  The gulls are near the top while cormorants like a more risky location.

western gull chicks and adults
Chicks are very well camouflaged

I think seagulls hatch laughing.

western gulls
Western Gulls – HA HA HA ha ha

Cormorant chicks apparently hatch pooping.  If you see streaks of white on the cliffs, look for a nest at the top of the white streak.

Cormorant chicks on the nest
Cormorant chicks on the nest

The Great Blue Heron nests in tree tops but fish in rivers, bays and tidepools.

great blue heron tidepooling
Great Blue Heron like tidepooling for a different reason

I love the contrast of colors on the Pigeon Guillemot: black body, white patch on wings, red legs.

Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot

The mouth lining is also bright red-orange during courting season.  The Pigeon Guillemot is one of the few members of the auk and puffin family to lay 2 eggs.  They also feed in shallower water.

pigeon guillemot
Red mouth and red feet makes it harder to tell when foot is in mouth – which, as we know, can happen a lot during courtship