Coastal Oregon

Growing up within a few miles of the ocean, I have fond memories of the coastal shoreline, the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shoreline and the birds flying about, the smell of the salt air, the winds blowing across my face, the feel of sand between my toes, and watching the sun rise (or fall) across the horizon of the ocean.  I wondered if I would miss it once I became “landlocked” in Colorado.  To my surprise, I didn’t miss it all that much.  It seemed that I traded it with mountains, red rock canyons and landscapes, more varied wildlife, less crowds, and more quiet.

Fast forward to a trip to the coastal town of Cannon Beach, Oregon.  Having visited there before while living in Florida, we found ourselves wanting to return … and so we did.  Immediately, the smell of the salt air and the winds blowing in my face brought back memories that I recognized this year over past visits.

IMG_7380I was fascinated by the lines in the groomed sand.  It was a bit chilly so I passed on the sand in the toes thing … besides which sand in my toes wasn’t always a pleasant memory for me.  LOLIMG_7381We took the opportunity to re-visit Ecola State Park nearby … off the Tillamook Head.  We found that while the views were just as beautiful, the landscape of the seaside slope had changed quite a bit and places that we had explored in the past were now too unstable to safely pursue.  We learned that last winter storms had caused the deterioration by heavy and high seas.850_4005-Edit-EditWhile we search for various shorebirds … I really was on a quest for 2 in particular … black oystercatchers and tufted puffins.  Of course, that didn’t stop me from photographing this lovely whimbrel.500_1979So off I went to Cannon Beach again … towards Haystack Rock.850_3965Close attention must be paid to the tidal tables, so that one can get close to the nesting colonies of birds.  After some time and patience, I finally spotted a black oystercatcher.500_2356Contrary to the American oystercatcher found in coastal Florida (as well as other select areas), the black oystercatcher is just that … black plumaged (as opposed to the black and white plumage).500_2180I was quite excited to see the mated pair of black oystercatchers too.  They are known to the area and have bred successfully in that locale.  They are year-round residents on the Pacific coast.500_2237I found myself quite fascinated with their brightly colored beaks and their bright yellow eyes with that notable bright orange ring around it.  500_2312This pair was getting ready for their breeding season.  They build their nest among rocks or grass on inaccessible areas of cliffs or islands … just above the high tide lines.500_2401I found this one in a quite interesting position in the rocks.  Must have been signaling that it was ready for action.  😉500_2341They would fly in and out, though always returning to the same general area.500_2422They would spend some of their day preening themselves, as well as searching for food.500_2425Of course, the rock formation was home to many other birds as well, such as the cormorants.  I could be wrong, but I believe this one to be a pelagic cormorant.500_2128Then I saw these birds flutting around in a fast and furious manner … though from the backside of the rocks.  At first, I really didn’t pay it much attention at all, then I decided to take a closer look through my binoculars.  To my surprise, and delight, they were tufted puffins!500_2479Again, being nested on the other side (i.e. inaccessible) of the rock, I couldn’t get very amazing shots by any stretch, but I did manage a few fun ones.  Yep, they were speedy ones for sure.500_2508All of a sudden, I heard major squaking and commotion going on.  A pair of gulls seemed to be having a great time on the cliff.500_2607Apparently she had enough and reached back to bite the neck of the male.500_2624Meanwhile getting back to the black oystercatchers foraging around on the tidal floor of the water moist rocks searching for mussels and limpets.500_2697500_2677-EditSuch beautiful birds and I was tinkled pink that I found them.500_2655A coastal storm started rolling in, so we called our time just a little bit short of what the tide would have mandated.  Back to our cabin along the coast … grabbing some images along the way.IMG_7377There were so many beautiful blooms around town as well.  I turned into an iphone photographer at that point on my way to dinner.  LOLIMG_7402IMG_7410IMG_7409Before we entered the restaurant, we took one more long glance at the setting sun … gosh it was so beautiful and the perfect way to end our stay.850_3990Well what a beautiful sunset … and a wonderful Citrus Mule to seal the deal!  Until the next time ….IMG_7398

Next Up:  On top of the Mesa!

© 2018  TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com                 http://www.tnwaphotography.wordpress.com

 

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A Little Birding By The Lake

One of our local Colorado State Parks is a favorite destination for us to get outdoors, with limited time, and get in some wildlife viewing and photography.  Most times, in the spring, that means birding.

In Florida, we have a year round abundance of osprey.  I was worried that I would miss these beautiful birds, but I haven’t found that to be the case … except of course for the quantities.  In fact, the osprey both spend the summers here in western Colorado and also nest and raise their young here.  Furthermore, the osprey can be found in 49 of the  50 US states!  I really had no idea.500_8139Another bird that is found in almost all states, but here they’re primarily spending their winters, is the merlin.  Interestingly, we found this one in the spring, but with the mild winter that we had perhaps there wasn’t much of a signal that it was time to move on. :-O This one was so beautiful and quite cooperative for the lens.500_9270One of our year-long residents is the American kestrel.  Being one of the smallest raptors (other than several species of owls), the kestrel can often be seen on power lines and poles throughout our neighborhood.  They hunt in the rural fields and nest here as well.500_8282Around the shores of the lake, you can always count on the killdeer.  Easy to spot because of their running around, seemingly at a frantic pace, and also their calling out … also franctic.  LOL.  So beautiful with the red ring in the eye and their lovely markings.500_8451A whole host of other shorebirds share the shoreline with them.500_8640One of my favorite sightings locally this late spring was that of a few eared grebes.  500_8091Fully dressed in their breeding plumage, these two followed each other around the lake, often times mixing it up with the coots and a few western grebes.  The eared grebe is the most abundant grebe in the world.  Another amazing fact about the eared grebes is that they spend 9-10 months of the year essentially flightless … the longest of any bird that has the ability to fly!500_8044That amazing red eye is undeniable … your eye and that of the camera lens gravitates right to it.  Splash in those organge feathers contrasting with it and … oh wow!  With eared grebes, the sexes appear similar.  In the winter, they are much more drab looking.  Lucky for all of us, they emerge into this amazing plumage.500_7890Right behind them in their beauty are the American avocets.  Their grace in flight is unmatched … well, except by perhaps the black-necked stilts.  500_8412These long-legged shorebirds possess that thin, long. slightly upturned beak with black and white feathers patterned on their back and sides, as illustrated above.  The images ahred here are those which are adults in breeding plumage.500_9064They feed in the waters on insects, crustaceans, and invertebrates.  I just love it when they feed or drink in the water, especially when the droplets of water coming from their beaks is captured through the lens.500_9112-Edit-EditWhen we photographed them wading in the shallow waters, some were sleeping, some simply resting otherwise, and then one was just showing off for the lens.  LOL.  I loved the symmetry of this image. ❤500_8342-EditOf course, where there are birds and smaller wildlife … there might also be foxes.  Lucky for us, we spotted this beautiful red fox exploring its surroundings … probably looking for a quick meal.500_9324Yep it’s such a wonderful place to get out and explore and the best part is … you NEVER know what you’re going to find!

Next up:  Let’s go a bit NE of our home … and see what we find.  🙂

© 2018  TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com              www.tnwaphotography.wordpress.com