Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oregon vacation: Sunset Bay State Park

Upon arrival at the coast we stopped to view the sand dunes and beach grasses. We did not stay long as we had plans to meet my sister at our campground, but it was neat to see these coastal dunes.

When we arrived at Sunset Bay State Park, where we would camp, no birds seemed more prevalent than the Crows! Here's a juvenile begging for food, perhaps from a sibling.

Certainly more melodious was the sweet, flutelike, breathy "freelia, freelia, freelia" of the ubiquitous Hermit Thrush.

There was a feeder at the campground's nature center, and all sorts of birds came to it in the morning. We spent many hours just enjoying the colorful show. The golden yellow of the American Goldfinch, the blood-red cap of the Cassin's Finch, the yellow and orange of the parrotlike Crossbills, and the bright blue Steller's Jay all made a rainbow of color in the morning light.

Our success at seeing and photographing hummingbirds continued for the year, with these beautiful Rufous Hummingbirds. (As an aside, while I'm typing this blog entry, three Black-chinned Hummingbirds are bickering over the hummingbird feeder outside my window!) We spent a lot of time trying to study the structure of the second tail feather to see if maybe one of these birds was the nearly-identical Allen's Hummingbird. For the record, we found that examining the tiny tail feathers of a hummingbird to be problematic at best.

The coastal geology was fascinating and beautiful. Sedimentary layers of different colors had been eroded by the waves.

This was just one of many canonball-sized orbs appearing out of the sandstone.

Perhaps some ancient civilization left these runes to be deciphered? I could not glean their message.

This was a bit easier to figure out ... fossils! In the relatively recent past, sea creatures left their imprint in this clay which has now turned to stone.

While fossils are cool, the marine mammals hauled out on this offshore rock were cooler! There was quite a mix of sea creatures out there. Though the Steller's Sea Lions were large, the Elephant Seals loomed over all others in the pack. I suppose you'll be wanting to click on this photo to get a better look.

To be continued ...

1 comment:

Idaho Birder said...

I'm lovin' this trip report and all the great photos!