Oregon Coast Nature News Roundup: Heatwave, Whales, Wild Bugs, Many Birds
(Oregon Coast) – So much is happening on the Oregon coast in the natural world right now it's absolutely mind-boggling. Lots of whales are being seen, dragonflies caused a huge stir recently, some beautiful birds are in abundance and there is some stellar weather happening – providing a respite from the nasty heat of the rest of the state. (Above: Depoe Bay)
The Oregon coast is getting a little of a heatwave as inland Oregon gets hit with a big one. The north and central Oregon coast beaches will be in the upper or mid 70's on Wednesday, but a bit cooler and a tad cloudier the rest of the week. However, only five miles inland from the Oregon coast and you'll run straight into the heavy temps of the mid 90's predicted for most of the rest of Oregon.
The forecast is relevant to Seaside, Manzanita, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Cannon Beach, Pacific City, Newport, Yachats and Depoe Bay, among others. Expect Tillamook and Astoria to be warmer, and the near-coast towns of Wheeler and Nehalem to be substantially hotter.
Another added benefit: lodging prices have started to lower and it is midweek, which will make a trip to the beach even more enticing. (Above: Cannon Beach).
Whale-watching is reportedly excellent in recent weeks, partially due to the warm, calm conditions.
This time of year is still prime viewing for brown pelicans, say Oregon wildlife officials. They show up along the Oregon coast in the early spring and usually leave in October or November.
Along the Oregon coast, you'll find they are superb fishers noted for their spectacular head-first dives to trap unsuspecting fish in their expandable pouches. Of the world’s pelican species, only the brown pelican feeds by this plunge-diving method, which makes them fun to watch. Good viewing spots will be bays like those at Waldport, Yachats, Seaside's estuary, Cannon Beach's Ecola Creek, Nehalem Bay near Manzanita and Netarts, between Oceanside and Pacific City.
Oregon coast estuaries are also host to two impressive birds this time of year: great egrets and great blue herons. Both herons and egrets are wading birds that prowl the shallows looking for fish, crustaceans and amphibians.
ODFW said great blue herons are the largest members of their family in North America with a wing span of more than six feet and standing as tall as 54 inches. Their grey, black and white plumage gives them a formal appearance, like they are wearing morning coats. More on these Oregon coast birds right now.
Last week, much of the Oregon coast was abuzz over huge numbers of dragonflies flitting through the region, an annual migration that seems unusually large this time around. You may still catch a glimpse.
Thousands were seen in Rockaway Beach recently. One report comes from Newport of somewhat sizable numbers. Another report called Yachats “dragonfly city,” and other officials are saying there are reports coming in from Seal Rock, Cannon Beach, Neskowin and more, including southwest Washington.
OSU Press spokesman Tom Booth said these migrations of the dragonfly known as Variegated Meadowhawk are spectacular.
“Timing and numbers vary year to year, but 2013 appears to be a major migration,” Booth said. “At the onset of fall cold fronts, the main species involved, the Variegated Meadowhawk, seems to funnel to the coast and head south. But beyond that, little is known about these fall migrants.” More on this story.
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