Saturday, September 4, 2010

2 Good Days of Birding in Oregon

I was up and out yesterday morning before 7 to try again for the ruffs that had been seen in Newport starting on Wednesday. I spent an hour checking out the area where they were found. It was a fine morning to be birding. I watched the sun come up over the water, and kept scanning for the ruffs. I found the same marbled godwits, whimbrels, peeps and pectoral sandpipers (top photo above--remember to click on it to enlarge) that I saw on Thursday afternoon, but no ruffs made an appearance. I also saw lots of gulls, and a few terns including an immature forster's tern.

Late on Thursday evening a ruff was reported down in Bandon where I had been on Thursday morning looking for the sharp-tailed sandpiper. When I did not find the ruffs in Newport, I decided to drive back down to Bandon to look for that ruff, and also to walk Bandon Marsh again.

I arrived in Bandon about noon, and went to check out the location where the ruff had been seen. Soon after I pulled up another birder arrived. It turned out he was the person who had found out about the ruff. This ruff was a juvenile seen by someone who photographed it, but did not know what it was. The birder I met had seen the photo and knew that it was a juvie ruff. But it was seen on Wednesday, not Thursday as reported, and by yesterday it had disappeared. To make things even more frustrating for me, he told me that the ruffs in Newport had been seen at 10:30--just a couple of hours after I had left for Bandon.

I went back over to the marsh to see what was happening there. Unlike Thursday, yesterday there was fog coming and going over the marsh. There were several birders scoping the marsh including a very good local birder. He and I joined forces to walk thru the marsh to see what was around, hoping for a sighting of a sharp-tailed sandpiper, or maybe the ruff. Neither of those birds were found, but I was able to study 3 pacific golden plovers with the local birder which was very helpful.

About 2 PM I decided to drive back up to Newport to try one more time for the ruffs. I got there about 5 and spent 90 minutes looking for them, but again came up empty. So I checked into the same motel from the nite before.

This morning dawned sunny, and I was on ruff patrol before 7. Again all the same birds were around, but after 4 hours of seeing no ruffs I threw in the towel, and drove back down to Bandon Marsh. The bottom photo above was taken of the lighthouse at Heceta that I ended up driving by 4 times in 2 days.

When I 1st got to the Bandon Marsh, I found nothing but western and least sandpipers. Apparently a peregrine falcon had flushed all the bigger birds. After a bit I saw off in the marsh the same local birder who had already hiked thru much of the marsh, but had found nothing new. After about 30 minutes the plovers and dowitchers returned. There was only 1 pacific golden plover this afternoon. Also, it was sunny, but a brisk, steady wind was blowing out of the north which made for less than optimal birding conditions. After about an hour of scoping but seeing nothing new, the local birder and I said our farewells.

53 birds were seen during the first 2 days of week #36. I am now back down in California, spending the nite in Arcata to be ready to bird this area tomorrow morning. Maybe something good will show up here. Stay tuned!

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