NatureLog - My Nature & Nature Travel Blog
Animals Through My Traveling Lens
As I noted in the first Cannon Beach blog, I had traveled to this little coastal town to see the object of my affection: the puffins. Birdwatching in Cannon Beach had been a high priority for me.
Look up: Wow - Oh No!!!!
While admiring all of the birds nesting on the massive rock, I was (at least momentarily) happy to see a Bald Eagle fly over to the Rock as well….until I realized why. Yes, as you may have guessed, it was raiding the Rock for food. I’m not a "Nat Geo" or "Nature" channel kind of girl - I don’t opt for a front seat for harsh fights for survival. So you will appreciate that seeing an innocent chick being swept away from its parents as a meal for someone else isn’t high on my list of “must sees”. And then there were four more Bald Eagles who decided to do the same. What I was entertained to see were the brave seagulls trying to defend the colony against the raiders. Small seagull vs. big Bald Eagle with very long talons. As you can see, at one point the Eagle was literally rolled over to defend itself against one of the many seagulls giving chase. I was impressed at their bravery, even if for naught.
So if you plan to do some Birdwatching in Cannon Beach this time of year, just be aware of *all* of the possible birdwatching "opportunities" awaiting you.
Look out: Harlequin Ducks
Arriving at the Rock early in the morning had a great payoff. I was delighted to discover a group of gorgeous Harlequin ducks bobbing on the water’s surface. I’ve only seen them one other time – out on the islands in some pretty rough water near the San Juan Islands of WA. To see them here, and so close to shore, was thrilling. I sat and watched these gorgeous ducks for quite some time. I was so great grateful for such a special opportunity.
Look down: Tidepools
Not far from where I watched the Harlequins, I joined others to walk through the tidepools formed at low tide across the beach side of the Rock. As I do with all tidepools, I enjoyed watching the little life crawling and swimming amongst them. It’s another great way to get your kids close to nature – and a great way to appreciate just how tiny our world can be as you watch the smallest of fish swim, crabs crawl, and sea urchins survive in the tiny “pools” of water left behind.
Wastewater Treatment Pond – really? Yes!!!
Elsewhere in town, and not very well known, is a lovely birding area around the sewage treatment plant. You may laugh at the thought of birding here (no, it doesn’t have an odor) but it is rich with birdlife. Many years ago, some thoughtful town citizens had placards erected around the ponds, reflecting on the variety of wildlife and birds calling the area home. I was pleasantly surprised to see a rich variety of birds around the ponds – and met many friendly locals who stopped to chat and find out what birds I had discovered. I spent quite some time at the ponds watching the birds and chatting with the locals. It was another highlight of my trip. In addition to the Canada Geese and Mallards, there were several varieties of Swallows raising their young, as well as Cedar Waxwings, Robins, and a few other species. I did add a new bird to my life list here: the Northern Rough-winged Swallow. And a few rabbits added to the enjoyable mix of life in this area.
Roosevelt Elk? Maybe ….
Much to my dismay, I didn’t actually find any of the local Roosevelt Elk this visit. But with all of the summer visitors, I wasn’t sure that I would. To be fair, I didn’t spend any time at Ecola State Park, one of the likelier places to see them in the area. But I did start my day very early and drive around at dusk as well, just in case. Better luck next trip!
Bird-friendly locals and wildlife rescue-friendly shopping
I also wanted to point out the town locals, Erik and Hannah, host a regular Birding podcast series called “Hannah & Erik Go Birding”. I met Erik over at the ponds and enjoyed chatting with him for quite some time about the birds of the area. And one of my now favorite shops, The Good Life, is kind enough to give a portion of their profits to help local wildlife rescue. Those of you who read my blog know how important wildlife rescue is to me. I was elated to discover this shop’s efforts to support them and really appreciated the opportunity to seek the visiting public’s help in rescue.
All in all, a great birdwatching trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon - an area rich in birds and other wildlife. If you’re planning a trip and are interested in more insights, here are some great resources:
And please remember, if you discover an animal in need, please call the closest Wildlife rehabilitator.
I hope my collections, from Oregon and beyond, inspire you with nature’s beauty:
Whether you are a nature lover or not, you can probably relate. Do you ever get caught up in your mind’s obsessions about work, an argument you had with your significant other, a family issue, etc.? The impact these ruminations have on our psyche is not good. That’s where mindfulness comes in. As you open yourself up to be in the present moment, esp outside in nature – notice the fragrance in the air, the bird in the tree, the sensation of your foot steps on a pebble or the dirt. Doing so, you begin to separate from the drama, the “stuck” feeling, frustration or other negative emotion of your thoughts. You broaden your perspective and open up to the newfound energy from your immediate experience here and now - the awareness of just “what is” all around you. Just like you’ve been missing out on what’s in nature, you’re probably missing out on what’s happening to the loved ones in your life. Your nephew or niece, son or daughter, or grandchild has a new toy they want to share with you. Your loved one wants to seek your advice on a work issue. Your friend needs your shoulder ….. The more we open to the present moment, the more we experience what’s truly important. When you come back to your earlier rumination, it feels a lot less “dense” or heavy, less significant, or of less importance overall. In fact, you may have discovered an entirely new approach to the problem you hadn’t had the “room” to discover before.
Yesterday, I was out walking my dogs between rainstorms. I committed to being present for them– knowing they would enjoy this time after being cooped up in the house during the storms. Rather than rushing their joy because I had another agenda, I just let them be dogs – taking in every scent they could along the way. As we walked, enjoying the present moment, I began to get a “feeling” that something was about to happen in nature. As I walked, I could hear Cedar Waxwings nearby. We circled the block and on the sidewalk before me, in front of house after house, was berry “debris”. Still listening for the Waxwings, I wondered “Do Robins and Waxwings eat the same berries? Do they ever forage together?” And nature responded. One or two houses down, amidst the quiet of this day, I could hear the fluttering that could only be birds – LOTS of them - softly flying among leaves around the tree. I looked up to see an entire flock of Robins flying in and out, grabbing berries, arguing between themselves. I stood for the longest while, enjoying this moment with nature – Robins doing what they need to do to survive, eating as many berries as possible until they were satiated and grew quiet and still. And there among them? Cedar Waxwings of course! I was elated! I decided to take advantage of their current “food coma” pause after the big meal to run the dogs home, grab the camera and get back to the scene. And when I returned, there they still sat – looking plump and content. What beautiful birds….
Had I been ruminating, had I not been in the present moment with the dogs, I likely wouldn’t have noticed these beautiful birds. Lifted by their beauty and these precious moments with them, I felt ‘lighter’, grateful for nature’s beauty and the opportunity to experience it. The rain may be coming back but the dogs and I had had our moments in the fresh air – and returned home refreshed.
What might you be missing in your life? Take a moment to be in the present moment - wherever you are. Breath in the fresh air. Listen for birdsong. Walk the dogs. Do whatever it is that lifts your heart. Whether you are already a nature lover or are starting to see the many benefits nature can bring to you, you can learn more about mindfulness and the benefits of the present moment from Oprah and Jon Kabat-Zinn here.
And if you should see a Cedar Waxwing or Robin in distress this time of year, please call your local wildlife rehabilitator or facility. Often these birds ingest fermented berries and as you can appreciate, “drinking and flying” don’t mix well. Working in wildlife rehab, I have encountered “drunk” Cedar Waxwings who just needed some time to ‘sober up’ and safely fly again. As always, thank you for caring for your local wildlife …. and enjoy the beauty of the winter season and all of its surprises!
Pamela, Eyes4Nature's proprietor, enjoying life out in the field among the animals and the peacefulness of nature.