I went to the coast today, planning to walk the dogs along Bayocean Spit and then check out some spots in Garibaldi.  Well, that's exactly what I did, but not quite how I planned.

Driving the gravel road to the spit parking area I passed this merganser with a fresh catch:

On the trail along Tillamook Bay I didn't see a ton of birds... There were some nice blooms though...

Then I saw the goats.  Maybe I never walked that far down the path, maybe they weren't always there... Maybe I usually cut down to the beach before reaching them.  Whatever.  There are goats.  Three of them.  In a pen.  The dogs were interested, to say the least.

So I dragged the dogs past the pen and down the trail through the woods.  We kept going and reached a very tall sand dune and climbed up and over and down to the beach.  There was no one around  so I walked the dogs aways down the beach and decided to unleash them.  Ralph ran off to pee on something.  Then ran around a bit and stopped and looked at me.  And then he disappeared over a dune.

Eff me, I thought.  It was only his second time off leash.  Of course he's going to take off.  Then I remembered the goats.  Jake and I took off running back down the beach, back over the sand dune, back through the woods.... Back to the goats.  Ralph came around the corner grinning. 

It took me a few more minutes to catch him because he was still trying to herd the goats, despite them being inside a pen.  I should have been mad but really I was impressed!  The boy is fast and smart and man can he navigate... I just need to find a way to put all those instincts and intelligence to work....

I decided to walk back to the car after that, having had enough excitement for the day.  And it had started to rain.  Some Brant had flown in to the bay while we were gone...

I noticed something big and dead on my way out.  Seal?  Sea lion?  Cow?

Yeah, it's missing an eye.  Gross.

At Garibaldi I visited this dock...

It proved to be a great spot for scoters and some other birds.  Mostly Surf Scoters but also some White-winged:

I checked out a little marina after that- found some more good birds...

Western Grebe

 Horned Grebe

 Common Loon

That was about it for birds at the coast... On my way home I scanned the fields near the Hwy 26/6 interchange for swans and noticed about two dozen just before exit 55.  I made my way back to the area and pulled over to scan for the Mute Swan.  I found it right away through my bins but when I pulled out my camera all the swans had gotten cozy again with their heads tucked in.  Grr.... I was patient though and it paid off....

Awesome!  I've only seen them on the east coast before. 

Good times! 


  1. Ah yes, the goats. You must have freaked when your dog took off.
    There seems to be a lull in birds right now.

  2. Nice blog! I will follow up:)

    Kah Wai

  3. Great looking shots of the merganser and the Grebes!! Love those red eyes-I know what you mean about off leash stuff--Annie puts her nose down and is off and gone...Flossie will stay within 10 feet of me and stick close by...so they dont get a lot off leash---
    Great that the swan stop paid off--

  4. Those Brant are beautiful. Great photos.

  5. You had a busy day. What gull species is that on the top of the brant photo?

  6. @John- Oh geez a pop quiz? Well there were mostly Ring-billed Gulls in that area but it's kinda hard to say for sure.

  7. Wow, those dogs keep you on your toes!

    By the way, I wanted to extend an invitation to join Birdathon, a fundraiser for Audubon Society of Portland. I just registered to be on Laura's team,"Whittemore's Whatsits". It would be so fun if you joined too. We will be birding Stiegerwald on May 1. You can register at Audubon's site:

    It would be great to bird with you!

  8. Great photos! I love Brants, they're fun to watch and walk around with on tidal flats.


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