North Oregon Coast Bird Viewing Hot This Winter
(Astoria, Oregon) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently released some suggestions for birdwatching along the north coast – and it's really good news if you like owls, swans, waterfowl, egrets and many other kinds of species. (Bald eagle photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)
For Pelagic seabirds, ODFW said you can see them aplenty along the north coast beaches and estuaries after strong sou'westers. Look for shearwaters, petrels, storm petrels and maybe albatrosses.
Various waterfowl, both resident and migrant, are being spotted along estuaries like the lower Columbia River, Nehalem Bay and Tillamook Bay. These have included mallards, pintails, wigeon and Canada geese, ODFW said.
“Look for them along the shorelines, feeding in shallow water or on mud flats,” the agency said in a press release. “Netarts Bay has small populations of sea ducks, such as scoters for viewing. On Cape Meares Lake, canvasbacks continue to be seen.”
Around Fort Stevens State Park, ODFW said several snowy owls had been seen in the area. A number of them usually migrate down from the north to spend limited and sporadic time there, often along the south jetty of the Columbia River.
“Remember to bring your binoculars and/or spotting scope for best viewing,” ODFW said.
ODFW said to look for Great Egrets in Tillamook County about now. They can be seen along the edges of Netarts and Tillamook Bays and in adjacent farm fields. These elegant white birds are related to great blue herons, but are slightly smaller. They can sometimes been seen in groups of 15 or more.
The Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located southeast of Pacific City is home to several varieties of wintering Cackling and Canada Geese. The refuge tract immediately west of Highway 101 has fields that are favored by the geese for grazing. Viewing is easy right off of the highway, and binoculars are suggested for optimal viewing. Occasionally, individual birds will have colored neck collars, marking the alpha numeric symbols. A spotting scope is best for reading those collars.
ODFW also said the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary just east of Astoria has more than eagles happening. During the winter, the marsh area of Wolf Bay is alive with waterfowl, including tundra swans. The Sanctuary is located just off of Highway 30, east of Astoria.
Fort Stevens State Park
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