2017-09-08 South From Bandon Oregon

Sisters Rock Sunset

As I was finishing my last blog entry from the South Jetty in Bandon, the rocks filled up with Western Sandpipers who had loafing on their minds. It was about an hour before high tide and whatever food was to be had, would have been consumed by now. The birds, nearly 200 in number, needed to sit and rest while digesting their morning meal. I posted the blog, took a few pictures of the sandpipers, then reluctantly left Bandon after a very enjoyable stay. Nice town!

Twenty-seven miles south I stopped to investigate Port Orford Head State Park. I found parking at the Port Orford Lifeguard Station and trails leading into a grove of tall evergreens. I walked for half a mile through the cathedral of trees and found it silent, save for the unseen squirrels chirping and barking above.

Fourteen miles south I found a wide space for parking at Sisters Rocks. Peering over the side of the mountain to admire the spectacle of the Sisters Rocks resting on the shore below, I noticed first winter White-Crowned Sparrows feeding on blackberries down slope. Then I noticed a bird perched on a taller snag extending above the rest of the brush-covered hillside. This bird had a crest. In the strong back-lighting that’s about as much as I could determine on its character. The posture was not unlike a Phainopepla, but I doubted the likelihood of that bird’s presence here. I decided Cedar Waxwing was my bird here.

I dug out my camera gear and settled in for an afternoon with the resident birds. The waxwing moved to a closer perch, and I was able to capture some mediocre images. The sparrows maintained their distance, and I had to settle for some unsatisfying ID quality shots. A Northern Flicker was also down slope, but too far to tempt my lens.

While I was working on the birds downslope and into the sun, I noticed a chickadee fly from the small trees at the roadside. Turning my back to the sun, I carried my gear to a position near these trees and hoped for the best. Eventually I discovered the chickadees here are “Black-Capped” and not the “Mountain” that I’ve been assuming based the calls I’d heard. These curious birds had to investigate me and I managed a decent picture. As a bonus, a Steller’s Jay approached so close I barely was able to get it into the frame.

Come sunset, the ball of fire fell to the horizon right between the two Sisters and demanded I take a picture. I spent the night here and drove south to Gold Beach for breakfast. I booked passage on a jet boat for tomorrow morning and I’ll use today to look for birds in the area.

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