2022-04-02 Reedsport to Waldport

Steller's Sea Lion - Eumetopias jubatus
From the lookout high above Roosevelt Beach, and within view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, I could see a sea lion colony with mostly Steller’s Sea Lions, and some of the youngest Steller’s Sea Lions were still nursing on mom.

Friday night, after driving from Reedsport, I parked south of Waldport at a roadside pullout. I visited several places along the way, including the jetties at the Umpqua River Mouth. South jetties have become a favored destination for me here in Oregon. I’ve been finding interesting subjects while visiting these locations. Sometimes they feature seagoing birds called alcids. These birds are often seen at distances too far for photos, but yesterday I caught glimpses of a Marbled Murrelet, a Tufted Puffin, and a multitude of Pigeon Guillemots.

The reason I like “south” jetties, is that the sun will be behind me when I photograph subjects on the water. When seen from the north side of the channel, there is a problem with subjects silhouetting and with sun-glare off the water. That’s not to say that south jetties don’t have their own challenges. Most frustrating is the distance that many of the subjects keep from me. Fishermen enjoy casting from these jetties, and their activities tend to keep the birds at bay.

Occasionally, one or more of the swimming birds will close the distance a little, and give me the chance to capture an image. Another opportunity for me in these situations is to catch a bird in flight. Sometimes, their trajectory will bring them closer to me than the birds swimming on the surface. Of course these opportunities are random and intermittent, requiring me to keep my head on a swivel, so I can be ready when they get close. It is a challenging task, but if it was easy, everyone would do it.

I’ve also found that boat-launch ramps on the many lakes along the US-101 are worth investigating. I found two such places during my drive Saturday that provided some nice bird encounters. The first was joined with a campground, where among the birds I met were Pacific Wrens. The second stop, further north, gave me my first Black-Capped Chickadees for this trip. I know well these birds are not rarities for those seasoned Oregon birders, but I enjoy meeting these species on their home turf.

This morning (Saturday) I stopped for breakfast in Newport at the “Pig’N Pancake” restaurant, and while it wasn’t one of those “mom-and-pop” places I usually enjoy, it was clean and the service was excellent. After breakfast, I headed down to the “south jetty” (what a surprise!) to catch up with my blogs, and plan my next moves.

By the time I’d finished for the day chasing birds and other wildlife, I’d captured images of Black-Capped Chickadees, Brandt’s Cormorants, Common Murres, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Harbor Seals, Pacific Wrens, Pelagic Cormorants, Red-Necked Grebes, Steller’s Sea Lions, Steller’s Jays, Surf Scoters, Western Grebes, Western Gulls, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

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