Nature & Energy Insights
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:
Meanwhile, if you're feeling down and not able to live life to its fullest, you don't have to travel even this far. Try just getting out into nature if only a few footsteps from your door. If you can, take off your shoes, feel the earth and breath in her beauty. You can find more tips here.
As I mentioned in part 1 of this blog series, I’m a big fan of the gift of time together. So whether you take one of these ideas or simply use them to inspire your own, the important thing is to just go have fun together! And don’t forget, it’s always lovely to give the gift of a donation to one of the causes that your Valentine supports. The non-profit can always use your support, and it’s a wonderful feeling.
Here are my TOP 10 ideas of the perfect day spent with your nature-, bird-, or animal-loving Valentine. There’s likely so much to explore together in your local area.
Idea #1: Plan a picnic in a local park or at the beach. You can even create a picnic theme – maybe it’s a typical lunch, or perhaps it’s just dessert. Either way, YUM!! (Too cold? Grab some blankets, hot cocoa and picnic in your car in a nice setting!)
Idea #2: Are you near a rocky shoreline? Tidepooling is a fun activity that gives you the benefit of that salt air, and satisfies the need for new experiences – no two tidepools are alike. Explore the creatures you find within...
Idea #3: Fancy a hike? There are typically ample parks around your area. Ground covered in snow? How about bundling up and snowshoeing (rent them if you don't have them already) out amidst nature...
Idea #4: Enjoy being out on the water? How about a guided kayak tour, a sailboat excursion, a whale watch, or even Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) lessons
Idea #5: Plan a trip to the local Botanical Gardens – explore what’s in bloom, what birds are visiting, and just generally enjoy being together among the beauty
Too cold for outdoor activities where you live? No problem! Here are a few for indoors:
Idea #6: Take a walk through an Arboretum enjoying what's growing inside
Idea #7: Find an IMAX, library, local Audubon Society or related gathering or MeetUp of birdwatchers, nature lovers, and others to enjoy a special program on nature
Idea #8: Visit a museum celebrating some aspect of nature, or rent a movie (Netflix, Redbox, or elsewhere) to explore a nature topic of interest together.
Idea #9: Visit a winery in which you can look out onto gardens even during winter, while snuggling over a nice glass of wine
Idea #10: If all else fails, plan for a drive in nature, complete with snacks for the ride(!), exploring a new location and enjoying the scenery. The important thing is that you’re together doing it. So make the most of this special time -
Other things to notice when planning your activity:
Are there migrating birds, whales, seals, or other animals in your area this time of year? You will see different birds in your area, depending upon the season. Some are there only a short time, others year-round. Are any of the animals changing in some way this time of year?
Now, some of you are bound to be thinking, “I want to go bigger”. Good for you! You’re definitely into planning and if you’re going to plan it by this Valentine’s Day, I would suggest you need to start working on it ASAP. Otherwise, certainly a “promise note” of surprise this Valentine’s Day for a future trip is just as exciting – and allows the two of you to plan it together. See part 3 of my Valentine’s blog for some "big" ideas based on my own personal experiences.
Meanwhile, if you’re sticking closer to home, enjoy planning your day! Relax and unwind in nature together. And enjoy the inspiration from my own nature experiences featured in my Valentine’s cards, products, and photographs for this and many other occasions.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, here’s wishing you and your special 'nature lover' someone a wonderful Valentine’s Day…
Pamela, Eyes4Nature's proprietor, enjoying life out in the field among the animals and the peacefulness of nature.