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Oregon Coast Wildlife Now: Looking for Whales, Sea Lions, Birds

Published 12/14/2018 at 5:09 PM PDT - Updated 12/14/2018 at 5:10 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Wildlife on Oregon Coast Now: Looking for Whales, Sea Lions, Birds

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(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has some suggestions for wildlife viewing on the Oregon coast right now – although you’ll have to wait until the storms pass this week. (Photo above by Ram Pampish).

In Tillamook County, Oceanside is a hotspot for Stellar sea lions, ODFW said. Three Arch Rocks – an actual wildlife reserve – is pretty reliable for these sightings, though you’ll need a spotting scope or binoculars.

Stellar sea lions are the larger, lighter colored cousin to the more common California sea lion.

Just two miles south at Netarts, the bay at low tide is an excellent place to view tall wading birds.

“Great blue herons and great egrets typically abound there at low tides, wading the shallows for fish and other prey,” ODFW said. “Look for them to be most plentiful across the bay up against the western shoreline.”

Farther up the north Oregon coast, Fort Stevens State Park has bundles of sections with habitats for birds, and thus plenty of birdwatching to be done. These include inter-dunal lakes, ocean beaches, forested trails and Trestle Bay along the Lower Columbia River.

“Stop by the viewing platform at Parking Lot C for a look at seabirds such as brown pelicans and various types of gulls,” ODFW said.

Fort Stevens is hosting a First Day Hike on January 1, starting at 10 a.m.

Whale watching is heating up, although it’s been quite slow lately because of stormy conditions – which hide them from view. Luke Parsons, head of the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, said the migration has begun along the Oregon coast, but the peak won’t happen until the end of the year when state officials hold the Whale Spoken Here program during the last week of December. Then, some 18,000 whales are expected to lumber past these beaches.

Once the current weather systems calm down, you should start to see a good uptick in whale numbers along the length of the Oregon coast.

Some hotels to stay at while spotting these:

Clementine's Bed and Breakfast - Astoria. An engaging historic experience featuring fine foods. There's even a vacation rental available next door. A stately Victorian where each room is stylishly decorated in a mix of Asian and European furnishings, with flowers from their private garden. All rooms private baths, luxury linens, some with fireplaces or Jacuzzi tubs. Views of Columbia River, mountains or city. Free wi-fi, cable TV. Large open gourmet kitchen area where breakfast is a multi-course event. 847 Exchange Street. Astoria, Oregon. 503-325-2005. Website.

Inn at the Prom. Right on the Prom and one of the few truly oceanfront lodgings in Seaside, this historic beauty has a regal feel surrounding it. Part beach cottage and part upscale hotel (but without the high price), All rooms w/ jetted tub for two, fireplace, kitchens, presidential style pillow-top beds, flatscreen TVs, and free wi-fi. Free DVD collection, beach toys and beach chairs for frolicking in the sand. Rooms sleep two to six. You’ll find a barbecue outside as well. Some rooms have a private patio. Large suites for bigger families. 341 S Prom. Seaside, Oregon. 800-507-2714. Inn at the Prom Website Here.

Idyllic Beach Houses. Two lovely pet friendly vacation rental homes, close to beach. Both w/ free WiFi, DVD, eclectic libraries, DVDs, games. Guardenia Street House: nestled at edge of forest. Hardwood interiors, skylights, vaulted ceilings. Enormous wrap-around deck. Kids' Bunkhouse. Spacious, fully equipped kitchen. Fireplace; BBQ. Sleeps 9. Pier Street House: Vaulted ceilings, second-story balcony, natural wood. DVD/Blu-Ray. Wood stove, BBQ. Deck, fenced backyard. Sleeps 10. Tierra Del Mar, Oregon (5 miles north of Pacific City). 503-662-5420. Details at www.IdyllicBeachHouse.com

Seashore Inn. Oceanfront hotel right on Seaside's Promenade. Beautifully outfitted at affordable prices. Complimentary light continental breakfast, heated indoor pool, hot tub, saunafitness room. 60 North Promenade, Seaside, Oregon. 503.738.6368. 888.738.6368. www.seashoreinnor.com/

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