Catching Sight of Oregon Coast Wildlife This Season
(Oregon Coast) – The weather may be getting nutty on the Oregon coast, but that's not stopping the wildlife from appearing in awe-inspiring abundance. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently released its wildlife viewing suggestions for the area (above: brown pelican photo courtesy Whale Watch Center, Depoe Bay).
On the southern Oregon coast, you can catch sight of four different kinds of seals and sea lions at Cape Arago. Simpson's Reef is home to as many as 6,000 harbor seals, northern elephant seals, Steller sea lions and California sea lions. This overlook, near Coos Bay, provides awesome views of Shell Island.
ODFW suggests grabbing binoculars so you can see them better.
Other areas on the coast you may be able to watch some of these creatures includes Netarts, near Oceanside; Nehalem Bay (near Manzanita and Rockaway); parts of Tillamook Head and Cape Falcon (near Cannon Beach and Seaside) and the docks of Newport.
ODFW said brown pelicans are in abundance along these beaches. They will soon head south to nest in the Sea of Cortez, but right now there are an estimated 1200 gathered around Bandon and some 6000 near Astoria and Warrenton, at the mouth of the Columbia.
“About 12,800 brown pelicans visit the Oregon coast each year,” ODFW said.
About thirty years ago the birds did not appear in great number before June, and then took off by November. After 1983, they started to arrive earlier and leave later every year.
“Often there are stragglers into December, and occasionally January,” ODFW said.
The agency said various kinds of ducks and geese show up in bays and estuaries this time of year, and these in turn attract bald eagles.
According to ODFW, Oregon coast winter weather is mild enough for Anna's Hummingbirds to stick around quite a bit as well.
Also in the bird category, the Aleutian Cackling Goose is a frequent sight as well. They breed in Alaska but return to the Oregon coast each year, gobbling up grasses and agricultural crops from October through April.
“These birds are considered social or gregarious and provide a good opportunity to watch and photograph many of them at a time,” ODFW said. “Some reliable locations to view them are Nestucca Bay (near Pacific City) and Finley (about 7 miles north of Monroe) National Wildlife Refuges.”
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