Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Nature Programs Bring Out Best of Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Throughout February and March, as winter slides slowly into spring, the nature programs pick up on the Oregon coast. Loads of coastal fun for everyone is on tap, with nature walks, guided tours, seminars, boat tours and a host of other events that cover everything from birds, whales, turtles to general beach scenery.
In Lincoln City, the Audubon organization has created some field trips for nature lovers. On February 9, it’s a trip to Seal Rock and and Waldport’s Alsea Bay. 7 a.m.
On March 8, the Audubon Field Trip takes you to Siletz Bay. 8 a.m. Call 541-921-4009 for more information on those.
Also on March 8, there’s a “Global Warming Seminar” held at Connie Hansen Garden. 1931 NW 33rd Street, Lincoln City, Oregon. (541) 994-6338.
On March 29, the Great Oregon Spring Beach Cleanup happens again. Here, volunteers meet in every city on the coast to help clean up its entire 362 miles of beaches. They’ll meet in Warrenton, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Oceanside, Neskowin, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, South Beach, Waldport, Seal Rock, Yachats and Florence, as well as cities all the way down to Brookings.10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Contact SOLV to volunteer. 1-800-333-solv. www.solv.org
Of course the granddaddy of all nature events is the Spring Whale Watch Week, March 22 to March 29. This kickstarts spring break for many families around the region.. Watch the great beasts make their way past the Oregon coast during their peak migration time. Trained volunteers at 28 "Whale Watching Spoken Here" sites help visitors spot gray whales. The volunteers are on duty 10 a.m.-1 p.m. to help visitors see the marine animals and offer information about their migration.
On the south central coast you’ll find them at Cape Perpetua Overlook (near Yachats); Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center (near Yachats); Cook's Chasm Turnout (near Yachats); Sea Lion Caves Turnout (north of Florence); large Highway 101 turnout south of tunnel (north of Florence). 541-765-3407. www.whalespoken.org.
On the central coast, you’ll find them at the Inn at Spanish Head Lobby on 10th floor (Lincoln City); Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint (just north of Depoe Bay); The Whale Watching Center/Depoe Bay Sea Wall; Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint (between Newport and Depoe Bay); Cape Foulweather (just north of Newport); Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area (just north of Newport); Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Newport); Don A. Davis City Kiosk (Newport’s Nye Beach); and Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site (Newport).
In Tillamook County you’ll find them at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint; Cape Lookout State Park (2.5 mile hike to site at tip of the Cape); Cape Kiwanda (Pacific City).
In the Manzanita area, you’ll find them at Neahkahnie Mountain Historic Marker Turnout on Highway 101.
On the north Oregon coast, you’ll find them at Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Ilwaco, Washington; Ecola State Park (Cannon Beach). 541-765-3407. www.whalespoken.org.
Newport is for the Birds in February
The Newport area features a couple big events for those interested in checking birds of the coastal region.
Every third Thursday of the month the Yaquina Birders & Naturalists meeting starts at 7:30 PM at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, Education Wing Room 30/32. Please use the staff entrance (not the entrance to the Visitor's Center), follow the signs, and park near the Library. Free.
This time – February 21 – it’s a presentation by bird expert Paul Baicich. “Birders, Conservation, and Refuges - Making Better Connections” is the title of the talk, where Baicich covers the shared history of bird conservation, popular birding and National Wildlife Refuge development.
Ideas addressed will be questions like when were these trends running together, when were they apart, and when did they intersect. Taking the long view of the late 19th century and the 20th century, Baicich will describe the era of preservation, the era of conservation, the era of environmentalism, and the current era facing us today. He also discusses what we can learn about the present-day needs of National Wildlife Refuges and the parallel growing needs of birders looking into the future.
Baicich has organized American Birding Association (ABA) conferences and conventions, edited 14 of their "ABA Birdfinding Guides" and "Birding" (ABA's bi-monthly magazine), and served as ABA's Director of Conservation and Public Policy. He is also on the Waterbird Conservation Council and has worked recently for the National Wildlife Refuge Association, promoting support for Oregon’s unique and valuable Refuge System.
On Saturday, February 23, it’s the "Birds of Newport Area." Paul Reed will lead this Yaquina Birders & Naturalists field trip. Meet at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor's Parking Lot at the Flagpole by 8:30 a.m. The event is expected to last through the morning. Free.
Contact Range Bayer in Newport for information: 541-265-2965.
February 22 – 24, Birding and Blues Festival, Pacific City
It’s a combination of nature and blues music, where dozens of seminars, workshops and nature tours culminate in a host of rousing blues shows. Learn secrets about local nature from highly credentialed naturalists and birders. Meet like-minded nature lovers with field trips at some of the area’s best birding sites. Festival attendees can purchase nature-inspired art and merchandise from vendors, while sampling the fare from local restaurants. Then, when the sun goes down, kick it up and get down with some of the Northwest’s big name blues performers.
Much happens at the Kiawanda Community Center on Cape Kiwanda Dr., but many events happen all over town.
There will be guided field trips, indoor seminars and workshops, “Birding the Three Capes Scenic Drive,” bay by boat tours, raffles of lodging, art, gift baskets and more, Friday night blues benefit with Ty Curtis, and a Saturday night feature concert with Lloyd Jones.
Proceeds from this annual event will be used to produce wildlife viewing literature, maps, trails, naturalist education and signage in South Tillamook County.
Turtles and a Whale of a Time at the Hatfield
In March, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport presents various ways to enjoy your coastal experience more, especially during Whale Watch Week and the beginnings of spring break.
During Whale Watch Week, as hundreds, maybe thousands of whales wander past the Oregon coast, the Hatfield will feature mammal classes, films, whale tales and various displays. This happens March 22 – 29.
On March 15, it’s March Sea Turtle Saturday, which presents an in-depth look at the species which does exist off the Oregon coast, but is rarely seen on the shore itself. It features Dr. Larry McKenna and a talk on the threats to the leatherback sea turtle, a leatherback painting contest for kids, and Dr. Selena Heppell of OSU talking about conservation of turtles.
It all begins at 11:30 a.m. with Dr. Larry McKenna, author of “Almost Gone,” a detailed account of the Leatherback Sea Turtle.
The Leatherback Turtle Seminar will present a summary of the 2007 on the beach activities in extremely remote Papua Barat, Indonesia. Related issues directly involving the survival of this almost extinct specie of sea turtle will be addressed. It will be a review of the human and natural threats to this, the largest turtle in the seas, which if not altered will see this giant disappear faster than any expectation. It forages off the Oregon coast for three to four months a year
At 1:30 a.m. it’s “Trials and Tribulations of Sea Turtle Conservation Around the World,” a talk given by Dr. Selena Heppell, Oregon State University.
At 2:30 p.m., there will be a public necropsy of a loggerhead sea turtle. Staff will be dissecting this four-foot specimen to try to determine cause of death, and to collect tissue and bone samples. The bone sample will be used to determine the turtle’s age.
It all happens March 15 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 Marine Science Dr., Newport, Oregon. 10 a.m.
Admission by suggested donation. 541-867-0100. http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu.