Monday, October 30, 2017

October Outings

I have not posted much recently, not that I have not been birding.  I was hoping 5 pelagic trips this fall would provide some exciting reports, but no such luck.  My efforts to get  a great photo of a Buller's Shearwater was a disaster, proof in the photo below.  This one was on a Newport pelagic in early October.

I did see a few South Polar Skuas, and lots of jaegers to study. I could not get over the size of the claws on this skua. Nasty.

Humpback Whales put on a great show on all the trips out of Westport and Newport.

The main reason for this report is to point out a great spot to bird in Tillamook.  Kilchis Point Reserve.  See map below.

This Great Egret was poking around the wetlands at the reserve on Sat Oct 28th.

There is a nice trail through the woods which ends at a view point along the bay.  It was high tide this morning, lots of ducks were just offshore.  Northern Pintail and Mallard. For shorebirds, perhaps best to visit when tide is a tad lower.

Large flocks of peeps were flying around just out of range but these four Greater Yellowlegs were working the shoreline.

View of the high tide mark.  Low tide has all this water gone and mudflats out in front of you.

Looking out to Bayocean Spit.  For the ducks, you might want to pack a scope.

It is about a mile walk from car to viewing area along bay.  Fox Sparrows were the main bird seen here on Saturday.  There just has to be something good hiding in here.

Dogs are welcome. Huck loves this trail.  Lots of informational signs are placed along the walk.

After the reserve I went out to a foggy Bayocean and walked to the south jetty and back. Least Sandpipers, a Dunlin and Ring-billed Gulls in the fog.

A Eurasian Wigeon in the fog.

Always a reliable group of  Least Sandpipers live out on the beach for the winter, nothing rare spotted on Saturday.

Black Turnstones were on the rocks.

Yesterday (Sunday 10-29-17) I did my annual late fall hike in the area north of FR 44 in the Mt Hood forest. I go there in search of American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers and Northern Pygmy-Owls and to see if any lingering summer birds are around. Failed on all efforts on Sunday, but enough other birds to keep it fun.

This old clear-cut (see star above) is a reliable spot for calling in Northern Pygmy-Owls.  I usually can whistle in what I assume are a young family. I have had up to three at the same time, I was very disappointed to have zero responses the entire day.  Only birds I could find here yesterday were two Golden-crowned Sparrows.

The highlight of this hike for me is visiting Fivemile Butte.  There is a nice clearing on top.  During the summer, Mountain Bluebirds and Rufous Hummingbirds use the area,  I have looked for Fox Sparrows nesting up here, but have yet to find any.  Below is pic showing Mt Hood and the shrubs on top of butte.

You can rent the fire tower on Fivemile Butte.  Not sure what season, but I think it is $50 per night.  Someone had rented it Saturday night.  The tower is tucked in the trees to the right of center. right between the two taller trees in the background.

Most of the trail had Chestnut-backed Chickadees in the trees.  It always amazes me what a sharp elevation line Mountain Chickadees adhere to, you see none until bam you cross an elevation line and there they are, yesterday it was 4600 feet, a typical elevation for them.

It is a good time of the year to count Larch trees in the forest.

Both the Bottle Prairie Trail and the Fivemile Trail are set up for mountain bikers.  They go along the trail at high speeds but are always very polite and slow down when they see Huck and me.  Often they are slamming on the brakes because they think they are about to hit a bear.

That is it.  Check out Kilchis Reserve next time you visit Tillamook.  Great spot.  Thanks for the visit.

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