2022-03-13 Crescent City to the Collier Tunnel

Tricolored Blackbird - Agelaius tricolor
I met these endangered Tricolored Blackbirds by Flat Rock near the sea-wall that shelters the Crescent City harbor from the wrath of stormy seas, in a mixed flock of blackbirds posing nicely.
Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus
This Hermit Thrush was one of only two birds I found on this visit to the Collier Tunnel Rest Area on US-199 south of the California-Oregon border.

Citizens Dock and the boat basin in Crescent City’s harbor have provided me with many productive bird meetings in my past travels through this region. During my past visits to the sheltered waters of the inner harbor, I’ve met Common Murres, Common Loons, Great Blue Herons, Black Turnstones, Belted Kingfishers, Wandering Tattlers, Western Grebes, and Common Mergansers. Today, all I saw here were distant Surf Scoters, scaup species, Common Loons and Common Mergansers.

Along the sandy northwestern shore of the bay and around to Flat Rock near the sea-wall that shelters the harbor from the wrath of stormy seas, is another worthwhile site for explorations. On past visits to this area, I’ve found Surf Scoters, Harlequin Ducks. Short-Billed Dowitchers, Black-Bellied Plovers, Pacific Loons, Great Egrets, nesting Black Oystercatchers, and Western Sandpipers. Today’s best meetings came from the area near Flat Rock. There, I found a mixed flock of blackbirds. There were a few Red-Winged Blackbirds, quite a few Brewer’s Blackbirds, some Brown-Headed Cowbirds, and a lot of Tricolored Blackbirds which gave me some lovely opportunities for pictures.

At Battery Point, on the ocean shore near the lighthouse, I’ve captured images of Orange-Crowned Warblers and Black-Capped Chickadees. Today I saw no birds, but I heard a Song Sparrow call from a hidden location.

When I said my goodbyes to Crescent City, I left the coast route and drove north along the Smith River to spend time with relatives in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley. I stopped at the Collier Tunnel Rest Area to see what birds I might encounter at the 2200 foot elevation. There wasn’t much activity, and I knew it was likely because of the timing of my visit. Late in the afternoon, I noticed a Hermit Thrush, and a single Savannah Sparrow working the grass and up-slope understory near my parking place. I captured those images they would offer and spent the night working on the day’s images. I scouted the area the next morning, but all was still and silent.

When I finished with all my image captures between Crescent City and the Collier Tunnel, it ended the California leg of this expedition. Between the two stops, I met the following species: Alpenrose, Brewer’s Blackbird, Brown-Headed Cowbird, California Sea Lion, Common Loon, Common Merganser, Hermit Thrush, Red-Winged Blackbird, Savannah Sparrow, and Tricolored Blackbird.

I’m planning no birding in the next week so I can concentrate on a few last-minute updates and revisions to my RV. I left southern California before all updates were complete, knowing I could finish those few tasks during a stay with my relatives. During my drive north, I discovered a few additional projects crying for my attention. I ordered parts and devices on Amazon and had them sent ahead. I’ll be busy, but just not chasing birds until I get back on the road. Then I’ll head back to the coast and continue on my way to the Olympic Peninsula.

Click map markers to reveal further information