Oregon Coast Officials: Latest on Finding Birds and Amphibians
(Oregon Coast) – Birds have been doing some interesting things lately because of storms and now is a good time to go looking for some amphibians in coastal forests.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said many pelagic sea birds have wandered more inland recently because of the large storms on the north Oregon coast. You'll be able to spot many of them quite a few miles from the beaches, the agency said.
North coast estuaries, including the lower Columbia River, will likely be hosting a variety of wintering waterfowl and other birds, such as grebes and loons. Those estuaries farther from the beaches - such as the upper Columbia region, closer to Portland - are likely to hold geese, puddle and diving ducks. The lower reaches of the river, where the salt water influence is stronger, hold more of the sea duck, loons and grebes.
You can find much more at the state's Oregon Coast Birding Trail, a pdf file. Look to the north Oregon coast coverage area, which offers over 40 different trails to find birds in areas like Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and more. The trails include coastal, river and interior routes, so the variety of birds you can see on them is nearly endless. The website also has directions to the trails, tips on birding and lists facilities available along or near the trail.
Other birds news: Tundra swans are wandering around Tillamook County lately. Trumpeter swans are being seen as well, ODFW said. Look just north of Bay City to find great egrets too.
In the Newport area, Common murres start staging right about now, where thousands gather together to re-establish pair bonds and find nesting sites. Between 8,000 and 9,000 murres gather around Yaquina Head most years.
Also look for amphibians on the Oregon coast this month. Watch for rough-skinned newts, Pacific giant salamanders, red-legged frogs and other Oregon coast amphibians as they cross fields, lawns, roads and paths to find appropriate ponds and other still bodies of water to lay their eggs. Look just below the surface of the water at wetlands for clusters of eggs. A close inspection will reveal the embryo developing and often moving in the transparent egg.
However, ODFW warns to look and not touch as many newts produce toxins to avoid predation. The Oregon rough-skinned newt is particularly potent and possibly deadly. One thirtieth of the toxin present in the skin of an average adult rough-skinned newt is sufficient to kill a healthy adult human. Toxicity is generally experienced only if the newt is ingested, although there are reports that some individuals experience skin irritation after handling the newt.
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