Oregon Wildlife Officials Point Out Bird, Animal Highlights on the Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recently released a report on the kinds of animals, including birds, you can spot around the north Oregon coast. It's good news for those who like geese, elk, ducks and some kinds of egrets (above: Elk grazing around Cannon Beach).
Elk have been a highlight at the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area, in the coast range between Cannon Beach and Portland, a ways off Highway 26. ODFW officials say the best viewing times are from 9 a.m. to about noon each day in the Fishhawk Tract area. Larger herds of females with their young can be spotted around the main viewing area, but older bulls are usually found a ways away in the west viewing area.
“Elk are currently being fed a supplemental diet of alfalfa hay on the wildlife area,” ODFW said.”Staff tries to feed close to the viewing areas on weekends to enhance viewing opportunities.”
The organized tours for watching winter feeding of elk have been filled for the season.
Other critters you can catch in the area include songbirds near the viewing area feeders, coyotes in the fields, and bald eagles perched high in trees or soaring along Fishhawk and Beneke creeks.
Elk often come out along the north Oregon coast after rainy periods, especially in the Cannon Beach area, Ecola State Park and the Oswald West State Park corridor between Arch Cape and Manzanita.
In Tillamook County, recent storms are bringing pelagic (offshore) birds closer to Oregon coast shores. Those checking out the storms on headlands may bump into fulmars, shearwaters, petrels and the occasional albatross during the winter months. Smaller species may require the help of a birding expert to identify, but ODFW said albatrosses will be easy to spot with their seven-foot wingspan.
“The Laysan albatross has white underparts, while the black-footed is more uniformly dark,” ODFW said.
At the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, near Pacific City, look for geese. White fronted, Canada geese and Cackling geese will be found, often seen easily off Highway 101, just east of Pacific City. You'll need binoculars. ODFW said some of the geese boast colorful neck collars.
“These correspond to their race, subspecies or distinct population segment,” ODFW said.
Bay City on Tillamook Bay
Large numbers of Great Egrets are being spotted around Tillamook County, including around Tillamook, in Netarts Bay or Tillamook Bay, and some as far south as Cloverdale – often in the dairy fields. Another favorite roosting spot for them is around Hathaway Slough, just south of Bay City.
“Sometimes up to about 80 birds can be seen there at dawn or dusk,” ODFW said.
Great Egrets are large, white birds, not quite as big a great blue heron.
Also in Tillamook Bay and Netarts Bay, diving and sea ducks have been plentiful, while Tillamook Bay has had a lot of dabbling or puddle ducks.
Near the Three Graces rock structure at Garibaldi, ODFW said some Harlequin ducks have been seen.
Bald eagles photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium
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