Sunday, 12 July 2015

Cannon Beach, Oregon

I took the opportunity for a morning of birding while at beautiful Cannon Beach in Oregon. The first challenge was to see if I could find the Tufted Puffins on Haystack Rock. I've never managed to see puffins in the wild so I was excited about the chance to see them here. Haystack Rock is a 72 metre high stack that stands between the high and low tide marks on the broad expanse of sandy beach. Low tide was early in the morning so by the time there was enough light for reasonable photography, the tide was on its way in so I could not get as close as I would have liked to the rock but did manage to find some puffins flying in and out of nesting sites high up on the rock - not the best shot (heavily cropped) but I got them.

Tufted Puffin, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-5, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/125

Also managed to spot two other first time photographed species, Pelagic Cormorant and Brandt's Cormorant nesting high up on the rock (again not great shots but happy to capture record shots of them).

Pelagic Cormorant, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-5, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/125
Brandt's Cormorant + Common Murre, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-5, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/125

Next stop was the Cannon Beach Sewage Ponds. As I arrived at the entrance to the path that circles the ponds, this Belted Kingfisher flew past. With no time to adjust settings, I could only point and shoot before it was gone. This is the only image close to in focus.

Belted Kingfisher, Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/500

Further around the ponds, this American Goldfinch was displaying just inside the fence and I manage to line up the lens through the gaps in the cyclone wire well enough to get this shot.

American Goldfinch, Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/500

Further along the track the fence was lower and allowed easier photographic access. Canada Geese were swimming around the edges of the ponds and feeding on the grass on the banks between ponds.

Canada Goose, Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/640
Canada Goose, Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/1000

There were several families of Northern Mallard on and around the ponds with ducklings at various stages of growth.

Northern Mallard, Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/500
Northern Mallard, Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/500

This juvenile grebe was cruising around in the middle of one of the ponds. Many grebes are difficult to tell apart in juvenile plumage. The best I can do with this one, at a distance and backlit, is that it is likely to be a Red-necked Grebe.

Red-necked Grebe (juvenile), Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/320

Red-winged Blackbirds were flying around. It is normally the displaying and calling males that can be photographed more easily but it was only this female that sat still long enough to be photographed.

Red-winged Blackbird (female), Sewage Ponds, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/8, 1/800

Late in the afternoon, we drove up to Ecola Point from which you get this magnificent view back over Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach from Ecola Point, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1250

As the sun was setting, storm clouds were coming in from the north west providing this monochromatic view of the lighthouse on Tillamook Rock (so I converted it to black and white).

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse from Ecola Point, Oregon
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/16, 1/250


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