Latest Reports on Oregon Coast Whales, Clams, Birds
(Oregon Coast) – While it is currently the chilly and stormy season along the Oregon coast, there is still much in the way of recreational possibilities – and the weather is often warmer there than inland when it starts to chill below 35 degrees. (Above: Cape Meares viewing platform).
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) just released a note about the various opportunities for wildlife watching, which includes bundles about birds, whales and clams.
When it comes to clamming in the bays, ODFW said this time of year is still quite good and some surprises lurk. You'll find most low tides in the evenings, but it doesn't have to get very low to yield good clamming results. Even low tides in the plus one to two-foot range still allow for decent catches of purple varnish clams, cockles, gapers and butter clams.
Popular sites include Tillamook Bay, Netarts Bay near Oceanside, Siletz Bay at Lincoln City, Newport's Yaquina Bay, Waldport's Alsea Bay, Coos Bay and several other locations along the coast.
If you're looking for migratory birds, ODFW said they have been roaming the north Oregon coast in great numbers in recent weeks. Among them are a wide variety of geese and ducks around north coast estuaries, including the lower Columbia River.
In the pastures around Tillamook, you can also spot plenty of snow geese, which are somehwat unusual for the region.
ODFW said storms along the coast and just inland will bring in even more birds.
Also around Tillamook: great egrets are a common sight there, especially in the farm fields of the area and its estuaries. These large white birds are easy to spot as they usually provide a strong contrast to their surroundings, and can often be seen foraging in close proximity to great blue herons.
For seabirds, ODFW said there are plenty to be seen along the coast as well. Even bald eagles are not that uncommon. Great viewing spots for such fowl include Newport's Yaquina Head, Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoint near Oceanside (the northern viewing deck is best), Heceta Head near Florence and Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park.
Deeper in the waters, clear weather and calm conditions can yield some good whale watching, the agency said. Any elevated viewing spot is good for this. You'll often get treated to a front row seat of a good whale spout or two.
While the Winter Whale Week is coming up at the end of December, whale migrations will begin to reach a peak soon.
More about these areas below and at the virtual tours at right.
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