Sunday, March 15, 2009
Newport Birds and Beers
This weekend, we drove to the central coast for a volunteer seabird monitor get-together at the Rogue Brewery in Newport. We spent Friday night in the wonderful little town of Yachats, south of Newport. Our plan was to spend Saturday tidepooling and birding before an early dinner at the Rogue.
The seas were stormy and the tides were high, but we found some nice pools on top of the rocks.
A group of black oystercatchers did some tidepooling of their own on a nearby boulder.
As we drove north , the rain picked up and it felt like real winter weather on the coast. By the time we reached Newport, we could not leave the car without being drenched.
We took a quick walk along the Bayfront and spotted a few common loons in newly molted breeding plumage.
Driving along the south jetty, we admired the Yaquina Bay Bridge and looked for more birds.
We found a group of gulls and watched them from the car. The group included herring gulls, western gulls, glaucous-winged gulls, and a Thayer's gull. As I scanned the gulls, I noticed an especially pale bird towards the back of the group.
Judging by the white primaries and pink-and-black bill, it was a juvenile glaucous gull, a life bird for both of us! For the last three years, I have been scanning groups of gulls looking for this species, so I was pretty psyched to finally see one.
We spotted some more birds in the bay, but the pounding rain and wind made it feel like we were birding in a car wash.
After some great food and drink, we took another walk along the bay and spotted a male harlequin duck, a great note on which to end the birding day. We drove north to Pacific City and enjoyed spending most of Sunday indoors.