Oregon Wildlife Officials: Tips on Birds, Sea Lions on the Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Plenty of wildlife is viewable around the Oregon coast right about now, including birds, elk and sea lions,, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is giving out tips. (Above: sea lions at Oceanside.
North coast estuaries, including the lower Columbia River, should be host to a variety of wintering waterfowl and other birds, such as grebes and loons. Upper estuaries are likely to hold geese, puddle and diving ducks, whereas lower reaches, where the salt water influence is stronger, hold more of the sea duck, loons and grebes.
The website for the Oregon Coast Birding Trail (pdf) for the north coast area offers over 40 different trails to find birds on the north coast. The trails include coastal, river and interior routes, so the variety of birds you can see on them is nearly endless. The website also has directions to the trails, tips on birding and lists facilities available along or near the trail.
Along HWY 101, just south of Bay City, great egrets have been roosting in numbers of 50-70 in large trees there. Most, but not all, will likely winter here and can be seen during the day foraging in small groups in local pastures and Netarts and Tillamook bays, returning to roost together in the evening. The numbers of great egrets in Tillamook County seem to be slowly increasing each year.
Steller sea lions are present in good numbers (as usual) at the Three Arch Rocks NWR near Oceanside. This larger cousin to the common California sea lion is federally listed as endangered along the Pacific Coast, but is locally abundant in some areas of the Oregon coast. Although more numerous on the southern Oregon coast, this population is the one stronghold of these sea lions on the north coast.
Elk viewing has been good at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Elk have been visible in the mornings and evenings most days on the Fishawk Tract. There have also been elk visible on the Beneke Tract. Brochures with maps of the area are available at the main viewing area along Hwy 202. Some of the larger bulls have started to shed their antlers. Antler shedding will continue through the months of March and April. Migrant song birds are starting to return to the wildlife area. Look for swallows near view area fence lines and gliding over open meadows.
ODFW said to please remember that areas posted as wildlife refuge are closed to public access. Areas along Beneke Creek posted closed to entry during any Saddle Mountain elk season are open to public access starting March 16. Wildlife Area Parking Permits are now required on the wildlife area (as of Jan. 1, 2014).
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