Saturday, February 21, 2015

Newport Pelagic: Feb 21,2015

Today, Feb. 21, 2015, I went out with Oregon Pelagic Tours on their pelagic trip out of Newport Oregon.   This is the company that took over for The Bird Guide.  I have a link for their web site over on the right side of the blog page under Birding Sites in Oregon.  The weather was partly cloudy to sunny and the wind was 10-20 knots out of the NE.  Peak gusts may have topped 20 knts.  The seas were rough but not as bad as they could have been for February.

The highlight of the trip was spotting two Parakeet Auklets.  I tried to set a waypoint on my iPhone but the location it shows does not make any sense.  My phone was accurate out to about 20 miles out, then it went crazy.  I think we were about 27 miles offshore, open to being  corrected.

The bird was sitting on very deep blue water.  And the boat was rocking all over the place.  SO this is a picture of it.  (On top of picture)

Thank goodness you can zoom in on photos these days.  You can see the hint of color in the bill.  Through binoculars you could see the white plume and the shape was different than any other alcid. To me it looked long necked and "bill-less".

Another cropped picture.

Just for yucks, I lightened up one of the pictures to see if more color would come into play:

Out of focus , but you can see the white belly and more color to the bill.  I think this was the second one we saw.  Parakeet and Least Auklets have white bellies, Whiskered and Crested do not. 

We chummed on two spots during the trip, both efforts yielded a good variety of birds.   Mostly a variety of gulls (lots of Black-legged Kittiwakes) and Northern Fulmars, Laysan Albatross and Black-footed Albatross.  We saw just one or maybe two Pink-footed Shearwater.  No other shearwater were seen.  Not surprised about the lack of Sooty, most of them are leaving New Zealand now heading this way.  I was hoping for a Short-tailed.  I had a suspected shearwater, but it was too low to the water to be seen well.  It was probably a dark fulmar.  We probably saw about 8 Laysan Albatross, a great day for the species.

Here are a few photos of some that we saw.

Black-footed Albatross were also out there.

Above is a typical view of birds on the ocean.  Black-footed Albatross and what is the bird in between the two?

Black-legged Kittiwake

Northern Fulmars were common:

We did see several jaegars on the trip.  All that I saw were either pestering gulls or were being chased by a ticked off gull.

Below I think is a Pomarine Jaegar.  The boldly streaked uppertail coverts (compared to brown and buff stripes) and dark head point that way. Also the wide wings, wider than tail behind wing is Pomarine as well. I am not sure why I can't see a sharply bi-colored bill.  But it is out of focus.   Its flight style was like a large gull and it bulky shape is good for Pomarine as well.  They are about Ring-billed Gull in size compared to a Mew Gull for Parasitic.

I lightened up the photo to show the double flash of a Pomarine and the underwing bars of a young bird.  Not sure how old it is..

Lots of activity in the channel as well. 

Barrow's Goldeneye with a Greater Scaup behind.

Greater Scaup and Surf Scoter

Common Loons in a variety of different plumage aspects.

Pacific Loon, note lack of white cut on neck and thinner bill.

California Sea Lions

Adorable face of a Harbor Seal 

Only bad part of trip was I was dog tired, feel asleep and woke up sea sick on way home, ucky.  Something that rarely happens to me in any sea state.  I think my problem was I did not eat my normal snacks of crackers and cheese.  Last time I'll make that mistake.  No more cashews topped with chocolate mints.

Great trip, great birds and can't wait until May 17th.

I will add a species list tomorrow.

Thanks to MISTY, the crew, Russ, Tim and Dave.

Birds seen in channel:

Harlequin Duck  
Surf Scoter  
Common Goldeneye
Barrow's Goldeneye
Red-throated Loon  
Pacific Loon  
Common Loon  
Horned Grebe 
Western Grebe  
Brandt's Cormorant  
Double-crested Cormorant  
Pelagic Cormorant  
Brown Pelican 
Common Murre  
Pigeon Guillemot  
Mew Gull  
Western Gull  
California Gull  
Thayer's Gull  
Glaucous-winged Gull  

Near shore:

Surf Scoter  
White-winged Scoter 
Black Scoter  
Red-throated Loon  
Common Loon  
loon sp.  
Brandt's Cormorant 
Pelagic Cormorant  
Common Murre  
Pigeon Guillemot      saw several groups of four or so
Marbled Murrelet  
Ancient Murrelet  
Rhinoceros Auklet  
Mew Gull  
Western Gull  
California Gull  


Laysan Albatross  
Black-footed Albatross  
Pink-footed Shearwater
Northern Fulmar  
Common Murre  
Ancient Murrelet 
Parakeet Auklet      photos taken, will post if I can
Rhinoceros Auklet 
Black-legged Kittiwake 
Western Gull  
California Gull  
Herring Gull  
Thayer's Gull  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bayocean Spit

I went down to the Bayocean Spit in Tillamook County today  Feb 15, 2015.  Nothing great to report. Nice warm day and a nice walk on the beach and dunes.  I did hear a singing Palm Warbler when I walked south along the road  before heading back north out to the jetty.  The bay was empty of normal numbers of birds and the dunes were quiet.

Wrentits vary from red-brown in their northern range to gray in their southern range.  I thought this one was at the bright end of their red-brown spectrum.

Turns out my camera took these two picture .2 seconds apart.  In case anyone wants to know how fast a Wrentits eye adjusts to the light.

And my search for anything non-Least Sandpiper continues..I don't know why, but looking at over 100 sandpipers to be sure they all are Least Sandpipers is fun.

I promise no more Least Sandpipers for awhile.

Pelagic Cormorant, this shows the snaky look to the bird.  The head is about the same size as the neck.  No bulb look as on Brandt's. 

Anna's Hummingbird

The only alcid I saw on the ocean.  Winter plumage Common Murre.  Looks like it is slowly going to breeding plumage  with that little line of dark feathers across the front.

My list

Cackling Goose  9
American Wigeon  200
Mallard  4
Northern Pintail  35
Green-winged Teal  39
Surf Scoter  7
Black Scoter  1
scoter sp.  20
Bufflehead  18
Common Goldeneye  1
Ruddy Duck  32
Pacific Loon  1
Eared Grebe  5
Western Grebe  40
Brandt's Cormorant  3
Double-crested Cormorant  7
Pelagic Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  2
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  60
Least Sandpiper  100
Common Murre  1
Mew Gull  5
Ring-billed Gull  8
Western Gull  6
Western/Glaucous-winged Gull  10
California Gull  4
gull sp.  40
Anna's Hummingbird  1
Rufous Hummingbird  1     appeared to be female
Northern Flicker  6
American Crow  12
Common Raven  6
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Brown Creeper  3
Pacific Wren  3
Marsh Wren  2
Bewick's Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  9
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  7
Wrentit  4
American Robin  6
Varied Thrush  2
Palm Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  12
Spotted Towhee  3
Fox Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  12
Golden-crowned Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  4
Red Crossbill  7

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Waiting for some good weather

I was hoping to be blogging about the first pelagic trip of the year out of Newport, Oregon.  I guess 40 knots of wind and 20 foot seas were considered too rough.  The trip was cancelled for yesterday and moved to the 21st of February.  Just as well, I figure if the Magnificent Frigatebird will drift south just about 6 miles per day, that should put it right off Newport on the 21st.  I am counting on it.

So as a replacement to an excellent pelagic blog , I am giving you a few out-and-about's the last few weeks.

Today, Feb 8, 2015 I went to Sauvie Island to try out my new camera body after my other one died and was more expensive to fix than it was worth.  I now have a Canon T5i.

A few thousand Snow Geese jumped into the air out at the observation deck.  I love to hear the concussions of their wings against the air. 

This leucistic Golden-crowned Sparrow has been spending the winters along  Rentenaar Rd for a number of years.

White-crowned Sparrow (pugetensis) black and light brown back stripes, pale tip to bill, upward bend to post ocular stripe

White-crowned Sparrow (gambelii) light dirt colored rump, brown and white stripes on back, orange bill, wide white stripe on side of head (from Tygh Valley CBC)

Dusky Canada Goose looking over at a female Ring-necked Duck at the Wapato Access , Sauvie Island.

Rorschach Test, I see some sort of monkey in a long coat riding a broom.

On the 31st I went down to Seaside to bird, it just so happens that there is a Black-headed Gull over in Astoria. I am not a chaser, but I decided to wander over anyway. The gull was found, thanks to Dave I.  Technical issues and my clod of dirt for a brain prohibits me from showing you any photos of the bird.  Around Seaside I went out to Parking Lot C and hit the cove before heading home.

There are five species of pinnipeds normally found in Oregon.  From largest to smallest they are  the Northern Elephant Seal, Steller Sea Lion, California Sea Lion , Northern Fur Seal and the Harbor Seal.  California Sea Lions bark like dogs and have a narrower snout than the Steller Sea Lion.  Steller's  have a bear like face and grunt more than bark.  I think these are all California Sea Lions.  They were playing in the surf on the outside of the south jetty.  They kept their eye on me even though I was ashore and up on the deck.  Oddly enough there were no alcids, grebes or loons out with the seals.  

 A close-up showing the snout, and I think you can see why Sea Lions are "eared seals".

Other than Parking Lot C my favorite spot near Seaside is the cove.  I like walking out the rocky beach towards Tillamook Head.  My dog, Huck, does not like walking on the large round stones. It is a tough walk, but well worth it to see what is out on the water.  Rock pipers are always a possibility.  

Surfbird and Black Turnstone.

Bird quiz time.  There were 6 of these out in the water.

Harlequin Duck (female)

A few other things from back in the CBC time of year:

I brought this point up two years ago about Hairy Woodpeckers.  Sibley mentioned HERE that many , if not all,  Hairy Woodpeckers have a black bar dividing the red on the back of the head.  Downy's lack this mark.  It was mentioned the Hairy's seen on the east side of the Cascades do not have this black bar (or the red covers it up until it wears off).  All the Hairy I have seen on the west side of the Cascades have had this black bar.  Here is a Hairy from the Tygh Valley CBC  (east side of Cascades) that does not have the mark or it has yet to appear from under the red. 

An American Tree Sparrow along Dix Road, Wasco County.  

Another view of Harlequin Duck.  I called it female as compared to first winter male by dark bill and overall brown plumage.

Thank you for visiting.
Harlequin Duck (female)