Last weekend Jacob and I decided to head north to southern Tillamook County to check out some areas I had only driven by before. Our first destination was supposed to be a forest road I found on the map but it was unfortunately gated on what seemed like private property. Just up 101 from there is the Neskowin fire station with a little driveway that offers views of the Neskowin Beach Golf Course which has excellent bird habitat.
scanning for a bit we continued on north to another area I was curious
about, a boat ramp on the Little Nestucca River. Unfortunately that was
closed for the coronavirus. We went north over the river and turned
right on Little Nestucca River Road, much of which is part of Nestucca
National Wildlife Refuge. This road is an eBird hotspot so I hoped it
might be birdy.
stopped at a couple of pull-outs to scan for birds and quickly found my
county Purple Martins visiting some nest boxes by the river.
bit further east we saw a small gravel parking area with a sign that
said River Access and no signs saying closed. Very promising!
We walked down the muddy trail till the mud got a little too muddy and then we turned around.
turned out that the trees by the parking area was where all the action
was anyway. Hermit and MacGillivray's Warblers were singing, Rufous
Hummingbirds were fighting, Bushtits were going in and out of a nest,
and Evening Grosbeaks were calling loudly from the low branches of some
spent a long time walking back and forth along the trees and shrubs to
the west of the parking area trying to make sure we didn't miss
anything. Eventually we got back in the car and continued east along
more fields, stopping when we got to this barn and cows:
A Black Phoebe was catching insects and bringing them inside the barn where it is probably hopefully nesting.
Our complete eBird checklist from this spot here. I definitely recommend this little drive if you're in the area!
continued east along the river as the habitat changed from farms and
fields to typical coastal forest. We stopped so Jacob could take some
river photos and I poked around checking the roadside wildflowers.
a bit we headed back to 101 and stopped on a small road next to the
bridge over the Little Nestucca. A crow was pissing off a bunch of Barn
Swallows under the bridge while Brewer's Blackbirds collected snacks.
on 101 driving south we pulled off at the Winema Overlook, another
eBird hotspot that was new to me. There is a nice view of the ocean and
a lake below.
the trees close to the parking area were plenty of birds including
Bushtits, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Swainson's
Thrushes, Yellow and Wilson's Warblers, a Wrentit, and Rufous
Every year I wonder if this will be the year I start obsessing over odes (dragonflies and damselflies) as it seems inevitable.
on the beach we could barely make out a couple of Whimbrels and a bunch
of gulls. It seems like a nice quick birding spot and it's not heavily
birded (Jacob and I are now #4 and #5 for the hotspot behind Max Smith)
so I will try to add it to my regular rotation.
last stop wasn't so much a stop as a drive through the town of
Neskowin, the area we had viewed from the fire station earlier. This is
a very small beach town with very little going on aside from the golf
course and the Neskowin Trading Company (coffee/ice
cream/groceries/bistro). The houses are crammed together and rather
pricey. We drove the road that borders the golf course to get better
views of the water and were rewarded with a pair of Blue-winged Teals
and a calling Sora.
town is a popular eBird hotspot, maybe due to people renting the houses
here for beach weekends, or maybe because it's easy to drive around
quickly and right off 101. Either way, now I know this nice little spot
exists just ten miles north of us.
After that we
headed back south to Lincoln City. It was a great way to spend a grey
and drizzly morning with the bonus of 9 new Tillamook County birds for
me and 29 for Jacob. Looking forward to spending more time up there.