Shorebird Confusion at the Coast

We no longer live 1 hour from the coast. It’s more like 2 hours now, so we have yet to make the trip since we moved north. In late January, we decided to head to Cannon Beach, the birthplace of our PNW love.

We started (birding of course) at Ecola State Park, which was a new stop for both of us. It was mostly be accident. When we entered the town of Cannon Beach, we turned right at some point, then drove down a very long road through an enchanting forest to Ecola State Park.

This park is breathtaking, and I’m happy that it’s the closest part of the coast to our house.

I need to visit the coast more often because my shorebird ID needs some work. Almost every time I see shorebirds, it’s like I’m starting over in bird ID. I guess that keeps things interesting, and I’m glad I have a decent camera that allows me to bring home bird ID homework.

Surfbirds that I originally thought were Black Turnstones.
But there were a few Black Turnstones! They just were not ALL BLTUs. Compare this individual’s bill colour to the Surfbird’s in the previous photograph. Eh? The Surfbird’s bill has orange at the base. This guy? All black.
Medley of both Black Turnstones and Surfbirds.
I believe these are mostly Surfbirds taking off because they lack the white stripe on their backs (that Black Turnstones have).
Some Surf Scoters getting testy with each other.
Black Oystercatchers looking ridiculous as always
I do love the Oregon Coast.
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.
Harlequin Ducks, always a pleasure.

You Down with PPP (Yea You Know Me)

Go ahead and roll your eyes at me. I’ll give you a few minutes. Don’t run out of eye rolls though, because once I define this marvelous abbreviation for you, you’ll be back at it again.

PPP = the Philomath Poo Ponds, aka the Philomath Sewage Ponds.

Note: Access to these ponds is restricted! You need to have a permit, which is available free of charge from the Philomath Public Works Department.

It’s been several months since I’ve birded the PPP because it’s now more than 2 hours away. But, enter the Willamette Valley Birding Symposium in Corvallis, plus a visit from my birding sister Lindsay, and I’m back down in arguably the best birding area in Oregon (IMHO). The symposium was on the Saturday, and we birded on Sunday. We planned on birding the PPP and Finley, but hitting both in 1 day is difficult when the sun sets at 4:30-ish and you’ve slept in and had a lazy morning birding your AirBNB property.

Views of the Coast Range from the Poo Ponds.
And sometimes, you get a rainbow over the sewage ponds. But … where are all of the birds?
There are six cells (ponds). We found the birds. This cell is boiling over in Northern Shovelers. We counted approximately 930 individual shovelers. No that’s not a typo.
A possible Eurasian x American Wigeon (hybrid)?
An Eared Grebe with a robust dust ruffle!
The cacophony that is the PPP seed pile. Check out my video here, if only just to hear the juncos and their crazy 80s video game-themed calls.
This Lincoln Sparrow was a nice highlight at the seed pile.
A White-crowned Sparrow nestled in a small depression. I’m guessing he’s full of seed.
A Northern Harrier flying in for some afternoon preening. See video here:
Alfred the Greater Sage-Grouse at the Willamette Valley Symposium with pals Lindsay and Linda.
The traditional post-symposium beers and burgers at Squirrels in Corvallis.