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)

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