Bundles of Wildlife to be Seen on North, Central Oregon Coast
(Newport, Oregon) – Right now is a prime time to spot a lot of different kinds of wildlife along the north and central Oregon coast, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Especially Newport, however, has some interesting sights to offer.
ODFW said large numbers of great egrets are now in many fields and estuaries in Tillamook County, especially just slightly inland around Hebo and Tillamook. These large white birds are easy to spot as they usually provide a strong contrast to their surroundings, and can often be seen foraging in close proximity to great blue herons.
Another area good for spotting Canada geese is the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, just east of Pacific City, along Hwy 101.
Newport, on the central Oregon coast, is the recipient of massive amounts of wildlife attention right now. ODFW said great places to view seabirds and perhaps a bald eagle are Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (the deck behind the lighthouse). Also good for this: Heceta Head State Park (the viewing area in front of the lighthouse); Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint near Oceanside (the north deck by the parking lot); and Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park (the westernmost viewing platform at Ecola Point overlook).
ODW said bird and wildlife watching is quite good right now on the Yaquina Bay South Jetty Road in Newport. Bring binoculars, they say. You'll find it next to South Beach State Park and just beyond the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
If the rocks near the jetty are visible (low to mid tide), you could see surf scoters, coots, buffleheads, great blue herons, grebes, and two types of cormorants. Between the first and second breakwaters there are usually buffleheads, grebes and loons. Sometimes harbor seals are resting on the rocks, as well.
Another area just west of there is a good fishing spot, ODFW said, and more of those birds can be seen as well.
Just beyond there – what is called the third breakwater – is frequented by brown pelicans. Sea lions may be spotted here as well.
“As you make your way back toward the bridge, look for the marsh hawk on the south side of the roadway,” ODFW said. “The marsh hawk can be identified by its tan topside with a white rump patch, and white underneath with black-tipped wings. This bird can hover like a helicopter. The hawk may be roosting at the top of the small trees, or flying over the grasses. Just past the first breakwater, look in the flooded area within the grasses for mallards. Many are there now, and the males are chasing each other to be alone with the females.”
The agency added the nearby the trails of South Beach State Park are awesome right now for bicyclists and other more blood-pumping forms of recreation. Raptors and small wildlife abound.
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