Tag Archives: surf scoter

Birding on the South Jetty – Newport

We had an excuse to go to Newport a few days ago.  So we did a South Jetty lunch and watched the sea birds near the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Yaquina Bridge from South Jetty
Yaquina Bridge from South Jetty

We couldn’t tell for sure what these were from a distance so we drove out a little closer.

Sea birds off the South Jetty
Sea birds off the south jetty

  We were pretty sure the large ones were loons.  But the way the smaller ones had their faces tucked into their chest made them hard for me to identify.

Resting Western Grebe
Resting Western Grebe

Once they lifted their heads we could tell they were grebes.  Turns out, they are Western Grebes.  (Is the plural of grebe, grebes or grebe?)

Western Grebes
Western Grebes

This one got a little mouthy.

Western Grebe
Mouthy Western Grebe

Then we zoomed in on the loons and turned to an expert to identify them as adult Common Loons.

Common Loon
Common Loon

They are coming into their breeding plumage.

Common Loon
Common Loon

Another of my favorites is the Surf Scoter.

Surf Scoter
Surf Scoter

I love the contrasting colors on the Surf Scoter’s big bill.

Bird Watching on the Oregon Coast

I saw a pileated woodpecker the other day.  He left before I could get the camera but this little Hairy Woodpecker wasn’t as camera-shy.

Hairy Woodpecker

This hawk knows a good fishing spot when he sees it.

Hawk - Fishing
Hawk – Fishing

I’m not real sure what kind of hawk it is if it’s not a red-tailed.

He had enough patience that he finally went after something.  I think he was actually “fishing” for birds.

Hawk Attack
Hawk Attack

There were a couple Belted Kingfishers working the river too.  These are interesting looking birds.  Their head looks out of proportion to their body.

The Belted Kingfisher is the most common kingfisher in North America and it’s the only one north of Texas and Arizona; according to my bird book.

King Fisher
Belted Kingfisher

Then the mallards flew up river, landed in the river and drifted down.  I counted 14 at one time.

Mallards in Alsea Tidewater
Mallards in Alsea Tidewater

I’ve always admired the iridescent green head of the male mallard.

The Surf Scoter is one of my favorite sea birds.  They have the odd-shaped bill with a little orange on it.

Surf Scoter Gaggle
Surf Scoter Gaggle

They were in the Alsea Bay fishing with everyone else; harbor seals and humans.

Takes My Breath Away

I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to put this into words today but I’ll try.  It was one of those days that I wished I had hours to spend taking photos.  However, our workamping duties took me away from the ocean, for most of the day, to do some training.  By the way, to get the full effect, click on the photo to enlarge it.

The skies cleared and it turned cold overnight.  A sneak down to take a peak at the ocean, before the sun hit the beach, revealed a frothy sea.

Frothy Brew on Tillicum Beach
Frothy Brew on Tillicum Beach

 Another High Surf warning today but the winds died down last evening when the front finally passed over.  High tide, in a couple hours, will be 8.8.  The high surf will make this foam fly up into the campground.  Look at what yesterday’s high seas brought me!

Pacific Ocean Present
Pacific Ocean Present

The Pacific keeps dropping bigger and bigger things on our doorstep.  If the campers can maneuver the boulders to get to the beach, they can get around that root ball.  So I guess I don’t have to try to move it.  I stepped out onto a boulder to gaze for a while.  I saw a guy sitting higher up on the rocks.  We were far enough away that we knew we couldn’t hear each other over the roar of the waves.  So we didn’t try to speak.  I just hoped he knew the tide was coming in and he’d get wet if he didn’t move within the hour.  I saw a big wave coming and thought, briefly, about moving back.  I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t get wet where I was; and I didn’t.  It sure was spooky watching the water wash around the rocks under my feet though.  As soon as the water receded I stepped back onto the stairway.

Wave coming like a freight train!
Wave coming like a freight train!

I enjoyed watching this Surf Scoter diving under the waves.

Nickname - Skunk Duck
Nickname - Skunk Duck

He looks like he’s taking a bubble bath.  Cute nickname, huh?  It’s from the white stripe on his head.

Surf Scoter - about to dive under the wave
Surf Scoter - about to dive under the wave

He’s starting to lunge forward to dive.  He was all alone this morning.  I didn’t see any other wildlife but I only had a few minutes to watch.  My camera did a pretty good job at stopping that wave though, huh?

Self Portrait At Yachats Spout
Self Portrait At Yachats Spout

Since we were headed south, to Sutton and Alder Dune for some training, I dodged onto Yachats Ocean Drive to checkout the spout.  Sometimes, when the tide is high, it doesn’t spout very well.  It did today though.  So I got a shot of it, with Yachats in the background, with my shadow in the foreground. 🙂

Ocean in Full Dress
Ocean in Full Dress

This was taken from the 804 trail just north of the Yachats State Park.

Spectators Watching High Surf at Yachats
Spectators Watching High Surf at Yachats

I think the spectacle is taking the birds breath away too.

We’ve got another high wind warning (65 to 75mph gusts) for tomorrow and flood warnings through Thursday.  YeeHaw Oregon Winters!!!!

Surf birds – Central Oregon Coast

The best place to watch the water birds, on the Central Oregon Coast, is from the South Jetty in Newport.  The Wine & Seafood Festival is this weekend but the jetty wasn’t where the crowds were yesterday.  Again, we drove through Burger King and took our lunch to the jetty.
I’m pretty sure this is a male Bufflehead.  Buffleheads weigh about 13 oz.  They have the distinctive markings of white on the back of the head and a white body with black wings.
Male Bufflehead
Male Bufflehead

Here is a Surf Scoter couple.  These birds weight about 2 pounds so they are over twice the size of the buffleheads.  Suf Scoters are mostly black. The male has a white patch on the back of the head.  They both have a hump on their bill and the male’s bill has a pretty orange pattern on it.

Surf Scoter Couple
Surf Scoter Couple

I think these are a couple young Loons.  They are smaller than the adult Loon and the parent kept a pretty good eye on them.

Young Loons
Young Loons

 The Pacific Loon weighs about 3.7 pounds.  You can see the size difference from the Bufflehead in the picture.

Loon and Bufflehead
Loon and Bufflehead

This is not a bird.  He just wanted his picture taken in front of the boat.

Squirrel at South Jetty
Not a bird