Oregon Coast Officials on Plentiful Crabs, Wildlife, Birds
(Oregon Coast) – This winter has beem anything but wintry along the Oregon coast, but even in normal conditions, this cusp between seasons can bring lots of wildlife viewing. Oregon Department of Fish And Wildlife (ODFW) recently released a hefty amount of tips on what can be spotted now, where, and just how easily. Some kinds of crabs are aplenty, and seals and birds are sure to delight.
While crabbing for Dungeness crab is slow during the winter months – even in this awesome spate of weather – ODFW said red rock crab are plentiful. They are a native species but are not present in all bays of the Oregon coast. Good places to try are off docks in Tillamook Bay, Yaquina Bay at Newport, and Coos Bay. Crabbers fishing for Dungeness in the ocean off the central coast recently have also been bringing in red rock crab.
For some critters along the Oregon coast, it is indeed already spring. ODFW said red-winged blackbirds and hummingbirds are out in force in the marshes, elk are out grazing, and a peregrine falcon was spotted over Newport's Yaquina Bay.
To see more seabirds, including the possibility of a bald eagle, see: Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (the deck behind the lighthouse); Heceta Head State Park (the viewing area in front of the lighthouse); Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint (the north deck by the parking lot); and Ecola State Park (the westernmost viewing platform at Ecola Point overlook).
Newport also shines for bird and wildlife watching at the Yaquina Bay South Jetty Road. ODFW said it's great in all kinds of weather. The area is flat and thus easy for walking, and you'll have a lot of sightings of birds and other wildlife, including harbor seals. Often, you'll initially see a nose or a flipper, and ODFW said they appear to like company and can be just as curious about you.
Bring binoculars or a spotting scope for up-close viewing, however.
A bit farther down the breakwater areas, you could see surf scoters, coots, buffleheads, surf scoters, great blue herons, grebes, and two types of cormorants. Between the first and second breakwaters there are usually buffleheads, grebes and loons. Sometimes harbor seals are resting on the rocks, as well.
Another section can be frequented by brown pelicans, cormorants, among others.
As you walk back towards the bridge, keep an eye out for marsh hawk on the southern edges of the roadway. The marsh hawk can be identified by its tan topside with a white rump patch, and white underneath with black-tipped wings. This bird can hover like a helicopter, and the hawk may be roosting at the top of the small trees, or flying over the grasses.
Mallard ducks are often near the bridge, in the flooded marsh sections.
More on the Oregon coast below, including photos of the places listed. Click on the photos for more on those areas.
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