Date: April 16, 2012
Tonight’s Location: Bullard’s Beach State Park, Bandon, Oregon
Weather: rain till 2pm. sunshine
Temperature: start 51º
Wildlife count: Aleutian Cackling Geese, Sanderlings, Brown Pelicans, Gulls, Robins, Crows, Pelagic Cormorants, Double-crested Cormorants, Osprey, Western Grebe, White-crowned Sparrow, Mallard, Red-winged Blackbird, Greater Scaups, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Bald Eagle, Turkey Vulture, Pigeon Guillemot, Greater Yellowlegs, Harbor Seal, Rabbit
We joined other volunteers for breakfast at The Station and then headed to China Creek for Plover work. We sat in the truck for the first few hours, as the rain was pelting the car. However, we kept hearing geese, and as the rain slowed, we were able to get out of the truck to see flock after flock of Aleutian Cackling Geese. We learned that they stage beginning several miles south of us down to the California coast and then fly north to the tundra to nest. We were just so fortunate to be able to see the huge flocks following the coast – there must have been thousands and thousands of them. At one point, we saw a flock south of us that had to be ¼ mile wide – what amazing sights and sound!
When we got home around 3:30 without having had lunch, we were hungry, so we prepared dinner – grilled chicken, grilled asparagus and a piece of garlic bread – what a treat. As the sun was shining, we left the dishes and walked out to the river, seeing lots of birds.
On the way back, there were several more flocks of the Aleutian Cackling Geese going over, so we decided to go look for where they might spend the night. First we checked the Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh, and saw only a few Canada Geese. On the way out, we found a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk, crossed the bridge and stopped at the Bandon Marsh, where we saw a Bald Eagle and several Greater Yellowlegs. Next stop was the harbor in old town Bandon. The harbor contained Harbor Seals, White-winged and Surf Scoters, and two beautiful bright red-eyed Western Grebes. What a delight to see!
The evening lighting on the harbor was magical and we enjoyed the overlooks, the statues and the docks that were completely deserted. And yes, when we got home, we did the dishes and had dessert. Life is good.