Varied Thrush Finally Visits

While it’s not quite as satisfying as three sunny  days on the coast, I was really happy when this Varied Thrush chose to visit my yard.  I’ve been seeing posts from Northwest birds showing Varied Thrushes, but I hadn’t seen one all year.  Heck, I even rack the leaves back onto the raised beds rather than putting them in the yard waste to draw Varied Thrushes.

More often than not Varied Thrushes will fly away as soon as you open the door or point a camera at them, but apparently this bird was finding so much food under last Fall’s leaves that he wasn’t about to be scared away.

He did fly up into the plum tree and look back at me, 

but that just gave me a better chance to get a good shot.

Hopefully they won’t wait so long next year to visit us.

Probably As Close to Heaven as I’ll Ever Get

A sunny day on the Oregon Coast is about as close to Heaven as I expect to get in this lifetime.  I’ve been visiting the coast regularly for over 50 years now; I think I’ve visited every pullout there is in that time and each of them seems special in its own way.  When we drove by the Spouting Horn near Florence

I had to stop for a closer look. The high winds and high tide

made it clear why it’s called Spouting Horn.

Later Leslie needed a restroom break, so I walked down the path to see what I could see from the viewpoint.  I didn’t remember the name of this spot, but I remember spending the day there many years ago with Dawn and Tyson.  

I don’t even remember where I took this shot of the rocky ridges that line the Oregon coast, 

but it’s a characteristic of the Oregon coast that is largely absent on the Washington coast.

We spent our last night Moolack Shores Inn near Agate Beach, a beach I walked for years after a teacher friend bought a motel there.  

It’s a beautiful spot even in the fog.

Day Two at the Coast

We spent the first night of our coastal trip at a delightful motel in Seaside, but decided to drive down to Cannon Beach instead of walking the beach at Seaside.  We were rewarded with an unusual view of Haystack Rock bathed in morning light.

That beautiful light came with a cost, though, as the Northeast winds were intense.  I kept my camera lens covered for fear that it would be sandblasted.  I’ve never seen rooster tails quite like this on breaking waves.

By the time we got to Hecata Head Lighthouse the winds had calmed some or were blocked by the coastal mountains, but the sunshine and blue skies remained.  

The Sea Lions at the Sea Lion Caves near Florence were taking advantage of the sun, sunbathing on the rocks outside the cave rather than hiding from the wind and cold in their caves.

A Longer Trip to the Coast

Since we’ve been unable to fit an extended vacation to Santa Rosa and Fresno between doctor appointments, I leapt at the chance to visit the coast when I read that 70+ temperatures were predicted for five days in a row.  

I debated whether or not to take my birding cameras and lenses because birding was awfully slow on our last trip to the coast. I ended up taking them because I knew I would inevitably see a great shot if I didn’t have them with me.  Of course, the other side of that perspective is that you’re less likely to see great shots if you do have your camera equipment.

As it turned out, birding was even worse than I thought it would be, perhaps because there were so many people on the beach enjoying the sunshine. I did manage to get a few shots at our first stop, Westport.  The Western Grebes that were there on our last visit were still there.

There were remarkably few loons in the marina, but I did spot a single Common Loon that was starting to change into its breeding colors.

Ironically, the best bird pictures of the trip were taken with my the SX 60HS because I wasn’t carrying my camera lens at Agate Beach.  This Black Oystercatcher was so close that I could almost have gotten a shot with my iPhone.

I really liked this shot of the two wading in the surf and they accommodated me by standing still long enough that I could focus on them.