Yesterday I feared a similar failure but drove to Newport for the reported plover anyway. I parked by the restrooms at South Beach State Park, walked up the trail over the dune and back down the other side, and boom! The first bird I saw was the Mountain Plover. The second through ninth birds seen were all Snowy Plovers.
Most of the time the Mountain Plover was hunkered down, not a bad idea with the steady rain and wind. The Snowy Plovers were a bit more active, running around doing plover stuff.
After laying in the wet sand with these birds for awhile I walked north up the beach to see what could be found. I only recorded four live species on this beach (counting "gull sp." as a species) but there were some fantastic dead birds ripe for poking. The recent storms have brought a lot of birds close to shore that aren't often seen from land, many of them meeting their maker on the beach.
I had been assuming that the blue-legged dead alcids I was finding were Cassin's Auklets since they had been reported quite a bit, but that seems like too much white on the underside. Though, on this old blog post about an alcid wreck Mike Patterson mentioned the white can be variable. Is there a dead alcid ID chart? The next one appears to be an auklet with the pale base to the bill and there's a white spot where the eye should be...
Fulmar bills fascinate me and I played with this one for a long time.
View from the jetty of the Yaquina Bay Bridge:
The northbound walk had been pleasant-ish since the rain and wind were blowing north also. Walking back south was not pleasant. Mental note: next time bring rain pants.
I cranked the heat and headed over to the South Jetty, hoping a a kittiwake would be waiting for me at the gull puddle. No luck there.
From Newport I drove north to Boiler Bay where the waves were impressive and a whale was spouting in the distance. eBird says I picked up my year Black Oystercatcher here. eBird is full of lies.
Overall it was a successful day at the coast! One life bird plus several year birds, leaving me at a nagging 399 for the year. Perhaps I will go fix that today... Good times!!