Lincoln City Green 5MR Birding
By the end of March my work was closed and Jacob had set up a home office in Lincoln City where we have been able to spend most of our time lately. I've been relying heavily on the ultimate distraction, birding, by obsessing over a new motorless/green list. My first real outing was finally walking to the beach, only 1.3 miles away.
This route takes me past the Abe Lincoln statue, that adult store, a store with "lark" in the name but featuring a drawing of a swallow, and a community garden.
As I approached the garden I heard a completely unexpected sound: California Scrub-Jay!
This was a freakin county bird for me! This is a very unreliable bird in the northern part of the county and not one I was expecting to see in my 5MR anytime soon. While I was standing there a city employee came and slapped a Park Closed sign on the garden sign.
These signs have been added to every park in Lincoln City including Open Spaces and beach access spots. I walked to Oceanlake Beach Access where the same city employee was parked, apparently waiting for the police to show up to deal with someone sleeping in the their car. The city fellow was very pleasant and confirmed that while parking areas are closed you are still allowed to walk the beach. Phew!
On this day I got hailed on a bit but also found more quality motorless birds.
It's a mile from the beach access to the D River access and makes for a perfect walk. I've done it several times since then and always find something good.
The kittiwake was a bit stressful because it was a life bird for Jacob who was back home in a work meeting. This meant I had to keep an eye on it for 30 minutes till he could get there and in the meantime there were dogs, a man with a cane walking slowly into the gull flock, attack gulls, and of course the fact that it obviously wasn't doing so well physically.
Then this beautiful and distracting Glaucous Gull appeared, a new 5MR bird:
I lost track of the kititwake just as Jacob texted that he was on his way. Panic was setting in but eventually I turned around and found that the nearest kittiwake was located behind me.
Jacob finally arrived though not before a woman walking two dogs (on leash) flushed it again. Thankfully it didn't fly too far.
The Glaucous Gull stuck around for Jacob also.
More motorless beach birds:
If you follow my IG account (@whatthechukar) then you already know what happened when I crouched down to photograph this Whimbrel:
I heard a voice saying something about not being sure if I needed a time out or a spanking. Yeah. That's a thing weird men do at the beach apparently. I was already booking it away from the guy before I could think of any kind of reply. He carried on down the beach.
One morning I tried a walk to the Grace Hammond Beach Access which is .1 miles closer and there is not a giant hill in the middle of the walk. Much easier. I turned it into a 7 mile walk by going all the way north to the end of Roads End beach.
Caspian Terns were streaming north all morning but only a couple stopped to dive for fish.
The beach birding has been great but I've also enjoyed walking to D River Open Space where the park is closed but the parking lot is open for construction parking. Luckily the parking lot is pretty birdy!
On my walk to Grace Hammond I saw a yellow-shafted Northern Flicker, one of the few pure ones I've ever seen in Oregon.
Lastly, the bread and butter of any good motorless list (or 5MR list) is one's yard list. In 2014 when I did a walking-only motorless list in Portland I was pleased with my 136 species only to have someone email me that they had that many in their yard that year.
Since I initiated a yard challenge in the 5MR group in late March we've had over 40 species in the LC yard, including four new ones: Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Western Gull. My LC yard list now stands at ONE more species than our Vancouver yard (but still seven shy of my old Parkrose, Portland yard).
The yard has been getting birdier and I'm hopeful the second half of April will only get better. My motorless list since the end of March in LC is up to 96 species! I am so grateful I am able to ride out the pandemic in a beautiful place with a harmless obsession.