Date: July 18, 2012
Tonight’s Location: Bullard’s Beach State Park, Bandon, Oregon
Weather: am clouds, pm sun
Temperature: start 57º
Wildlife count: Black-tail Deer,
Birds: Great Egret, Crow, Double-crested Cormorant, Turkey Vulture, American Robin, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Red-wing Blackbird, Great Blue Heron, Steller Jay, Canada Geese, Western and Least Sandpipers, Sanderlings (Peeps), Wrentit, Swainson’s Thrush, Pacific Loon, Pigeon Guillemot
It was a lazy morning, as we had walked so much yesterday. We made huckleberry pancakes, from huckleberries we had picked last year – just the perfect size for pancakes.
We headed north toward the Coos River. On the way to the bridge, a mama Black-tail Deer and her two fawns came down the embankment and onto the road. They ran across the road, and then alongside of us, while we slowed to a crawl to allow them to escape. Mama was obviously frightened. Finally she found a trail up the bluff and led her twins away from danger.
We crossed the Coos River Bridge over to the Great Egret rookery, which overlooks the Coos River. Nests are made of sticks and sit 20 – 40’ up in the trees above the river. We had visited first on April 18, as they were beginning to build their nests, again on May 29, when we saw no chicks, but incubation was in progress. When we visited on June 6, we saw very small chicks.
Egrets lay between three and five pale green-blue eggs, which are incubated for three to four weeks. Both parents feed the chicks until they fledge (are able to fly on their own) in about six weeks. Those chicks we saw today appear ready to fledge. It was a very noisy and restless place – lots of squawking and wing flapping. It won’t be long before the nests are totally empty for the year.
From there, we drove East Bay Drive, which skirts Coos Bay on the east side. There was lots of marshland, which appeared to be good habitat for migratory birds.
A quick Walmart run and we came home and had a snack. We walked to the office to check on a mailing from People’s Bank and then out to the river. We mailed a letter to Jesse, checked Bandon Marsh for birds, finding just one flock of peeps (about 100 birds), and stopped at Ray’s for a baked chicken for the potluck. John started the coals when we got home and I mixed up the Black & Blue Cobbler – it was done just in time for the potluck. We had a great time with all of the other volunteers, and of course the food was outstanding! Paul and Nina had baked a no-flour chocolate cake, which caused a lot of us to OD on chocolate.
After we cleaned up, we HAD to walk – and fast! We power-walked a few loops and then walked out to the river with Ron, Linda and Liz, sitting on our favorite perch to watch the sun going down and talk about Ron and Linda’s Alaskan cruise. We will all sleep well tonight.