Return to the South Coast

As our lack of recent posts indicates, Sarah and I have been doing a lot of non-birding work. That changed last weekend when we visited the always-stunning South Coast to take part in the 28th annual Oregon Shorebird Festival. It had been several years since we'd birded the area, so we could hardly wait for the trip to begin.

The organizers put us up in a lovely guest house at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, where Sarah had worked and taken classes in her undergrad days. In return, we spoke about our book on Friday night and led some day-long field trips on Saturday and Sunday. This hectic schedule left us little time for photography, but we managed a few iPhone photos.

We arrived at OIMB on Friday afternoon and spent a few hours exploring the beach before our presentation. We found some sandy green anemones

and some big volcano barnacles in the tide pools near the house.

The guest house provided a wonderful view of Coos Bay, which was busy with fishing boats, Pacific Loons, and Elegant Terns.

In the mornings, we picked up our scopes and visited several sites around the town of Bandon.

Though it was hot in most of Oregon, it was much cooler at the coast. We did our best to identify the shorebirds lurking in the foggy distance at Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.

It was much easier to see the Black Turnstones and Wandering Tattlers that were roosting on this old boat ramp at high tide. This is a popular spot with local birders and the local Peregrine Falcon, the later of which grabbed a tattler for lunch as we were leaving the site on Saturday.

We ended each trip with a search for Snowy Plovers at the China Creek beach access. We hiked less than a mile to the south and found a few of the threatened but adorable birds on Saturday. On Sunday we hiked twice as far but couldn't turn up any. Oh well, batting .500 isn't bad.

We returned to Portland on Sunday night thoroughly wiped out from all the public speaking and trip leading. It was an excellent weekend nonetheless. In addition to shorebirds, we saw loads of seabirds and waterfowl in the ocean and bays and there were flocks of migrant songbirds in the trees. This is the perfect time of year to bird the south coast, so be sure to mark next year's festival in your calendar!


  1. Awesome! I'm hoping to get down that way soon- I've never birded (or even been to) most of the south coast. Love the sea anemone photo, and those rocky cliffs are gorgeous.

  2. I've never been down that way either....must change that situation! Thanks for the great overview. I'd love to go to the festival some year.


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