Saturday, July 14, 2018

OBA Field Trip to Haystack Rock and Ecola Forest Preserve

We had near-perfect conditions for viewing Tufted Puffins at Haystack Rock starting at 7am this morning, with sunshine, almost no wind, and one of the lowest tides of the year. Up to 10 Tufted Puffins could be spotted sitting out in the grass on the upper north side of Haystack Rock at any one time, while others flew out over the ocean and back.

On the south side of Haystack we got nice views of Pigeon Guillemots, 2 Black Oystercatchers, and Western Gulls with fuzzy spotted babies. About a dozen Harlequin Ducks were swimming among the rocks south of Haystack, with at least one male still in breeding plumage. Brown Pelicans glided low over the waves. There were many Common Murres and Pelagic Cormorants.

Brandt's Cormorants with their bright blue chins were sitting on nests on the south side of Haystack and on one of the Needles.

Ecola Forest Preserve was the next stop for the 16 Oregon Birding Association members participating in the field trip. Swainson's Thrushes were singing and "weep"-ing all around us. We kept trying to see one of the many, vocal Pacific-slope Flycatchers and finally succeeded. We heard one Hermit Warbler - the OBA logo bird! Band-tailed Pigeons were displaying. We saw Western Tanagers and Black-headed Grosbeaks. We heard and then saw 2 Wrentits, a highlight for everyone to see.

Thanks to Ken Chamberlain for setting up this field trip!
Here is the description of the trip from the OBA website:


TRIP LEADERS: Diana Byrne & Ken Chamberlain

WHEN: 7 am - 12 noon, Saturday July 14, 2018

WHERE: This trip will be based in Cannon Beach, Oregon. We will meet at the mid-town public parking lot located S. Hemlock and Gower Ave at 7 am. We will first bird Haystack Rock (part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge), followed by birding several sites in Cannon Beach and nearby.

BIRDS AND SITE CONDITIONS: The primary target species of this trip is the Tufted Puffin. We will be visiting during a 2 ft. minus tide allowing relatively close viewing. There will be emphasis on slow birding and bird photography during this portion of the trip. We should have good photographic opportunities for the puffins and other seabirds, both perched and especially in flight.

Other species found at Haystack Rock include Harlequin Duck, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Black Oystercatchers, our three species of Cormorants, and nesting Western Gulls.

We will follow up with birding for passerine species at upland sites around town and nearby. We will wrap up at noon.

Public restrooms are located near the SW corner of the parking lot, on the west side of Hemlock St. We will walk about 1/2 mile from the parking lot and along the beach to reach Haystack Rock.

Walking at other birding locations will include gravel roads and paths that are level or slightly sloped, with distances up to 2 miles. Coffee will not be available at 7am in Cannon Beach, so please bring your own.

HOW TO REGISTER: This trip is limited to 16 Oregon Birding Association members. If you are not a current member, you can join online here. There is no fee for this field trip; however, preregistration is required.