I heart terns.

To celebrate having a Friday off, as well as Jake's mystery lump turning out to be a benign cyst, I headed west with the dogs to hunt down the Elegant Terns that have been peppering the Oregon coast this week.  Before heading to the Hammond Boat Basin, where the terns have been the last couple of days, I stopped by Seaside Cove to get my rockpiper fix.

A Black Turnstone turns away from the awkward sword-crossing of a Surfbird and an oystercatcher

 Black Oystercatchers are never this accommodating

 Busted Heermann's Gulls everywhere today...

That's a good place for a tongue.

Our next stop was Hammond, where another Heermann's Gulls was looking funky...

I don't even know what is going on there.  Here's a nice regular sexy Heermann's to help you erase the previous monstrosities from your mind:

Ok, that's enough of that.  On to the terns!  Right here:

You see them right???  These rocks were just smothered with birds, but thankfully mostly grey birds making white terns and gulls stand out rather easily.  I managed to find an Elegant Tern standing in front of a Caspian another Elegant, later joined by a second third Elegant.

Life bird!  With the Elegant Tern under my belt I took the dogs over to Fort Stevens State Park for some running around and whatnot. 

Everyone loves a pelican

Jake and Ralph have very different ideas about hole-digging.  Ralph has two well-crafted holes in the backyard, perfectly round and smooth, ideal for curling up in.  Jake digs holes and puts his two front legs in them and then lays down in an awkward position.

After the jetty we headed up to parking lot D for a quick walk around the beach.  We came across five dowitchers.  Now who wants to share with me their top secret way to separate silent Long-billed from Short-billed?!

A couple of feisty Caspian Terns came tearing through and put on a lovely show for us...

I sure do heart terns.

I stopped at a couple of roadsides on the way home- Camp 18 and the Sunset Highway rest area, and was able to add a couple more birds to my Clatsop county list.  I had no idea (til I saw the eBird report) that there are American Dippers lurking in the creek behind the rest stop!  I'll spare you the terrible photos, but wanted to share the info.  Good times!!


  1. sooo many good thing happening on this post, but the crossing of swords is killing me!

  2. Wonderful photos. As for the dowitchers, I am leaning toward Short-billed. Short-billeds are much more likely to be in salt/brackish water, and Short-billeds tend to have flatter backs while feeding. Long-billeds look very hunchbacked when feeding. These are just tendencies, not sure-fire traits. If you can find juveniles, then it is easy (Long-billeds have solid tertials, while short-billeds have tiger stripes on theirs.)
    John Rakestraw (Blogger refuses to recognize me)

    1. So now it does recognize me. I hate Blogger

    2. Ah, juveniles are the key! Thanks for the tips, I will try to remember this.

  3. We did the same trip, but at the not-morning-person time. Those Elegant Terns were lifers for me too! Very cool. Your Caspian Tern pic is awesome! Thank God John piped in on the dowitchers, I am going to try to remember all that.

    1. Ha, yeah I wake up ridiculously early. Will there be a Must-see post about this in the future?!

  4. What a great day. Good news about your Jake! Some of my favorite shots are of your cute dogs and the last couple of tern shots. Awesome! Happy Birding!

  5. haha love those C. tern shots...they are amazing!! CONGRATS on another lifer!!! LOL at Jake Cooling his legs in his hole...thats just too cute.

  6. Love the tern pics. And the dog pics too of course. What a couple of characters.

  7. I have to learn the word for the condition of the misplaced tongue. So weird. I like the normal HEEG, they usually don't have eyes that pale.

    The first picture of Jake is hilar.


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