Living in the desert makes me yearn to be near the ocean when I have the opportunity. I guess I was also chasing Rock Sandpipers along the Oregon coast near Tillamook even if it was a little early for their arrival. It was more about enjoying the cold ocean wind. Autumn colors. Ocean. Coffee. And birds.
Tillamook is relatively close to Portland. It's an hour and something drive through beautiful misty coastal rain forest to the rocky Oregon shoreline. Between the rain and dark conditions, it was a challenge to find birds.
|Beautiful Portland from on top of a dormant volcano|
|Varied Thrush are absolutely beautiful but you would never know it from the dark conditions they like inhabit|
I hit the peak time of autumn and everything around me was full of color. Leaves were falling. And I felt very happy.
At one location, I enjoyed watching sandpipers huddle together. The wind was so loud that the birds were not spooked by my movement. I enjoyed long looks at these birds until a Peregrine Falcon flew over and caused chaos.
|Two slightly larger Western Sandpipers sandwich a Least Sandpiper|
A bird that I don't often get to see, the Black Turnstone, was a thrill to observe.
And who doesn't love a cool looking Surfbird? I hadn't been expecting this species up in Oregon. For some reason, I think of them as a Southern California/Mexico bird, but their range extends from the top of North American to the southern tip of South America. That's pretty amazing.
The rain began to fall and the waves were now crashing against the shore and getting me wet. At one point, I put the camera away and tried to not get pushed around by the strong winds.
The highway back to Portland is absolutely beautiful. There's also a chance for birders to spy Mountain Quail and Sooty Grouse. My last lifer for the trip was the sneaky Mountain Quail.
|Mountain Quail refused to pose for the camera.|