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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon Shorebird Festival’

“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often find uncertainty fascinating.” – Carl von Clausewitz.

Marbled murrelet — Wikimedia photo by Gus van Vliet

Drifting Among the Waves

During the first year of living in my home on wheels, I headed to the West Coast, letting

The simple whims of the moment dictate my journey’s path. I was in Northern Idaho, when I met a couple of birders who told me about Oregon’s Shorebird Festival they had attended a few years earlier.

Marbled murrelet chick. — Photo by Alaska Fish and Game

It sounded interesting, so when I learned the year’s upcoming festival, which has been held yearly now for over 30 years, was just a week away, I recalculated my driving plans so I would arrive in the Coos Bay area in time to attend. It was a great decision as I added 12 new birds to my life list.

One of the new birds that truly excited me was the marbled murrelet, a plump seabird about the size of a robin. I was especially pleased about the sighting because, serendipitously,  I had just learned about the murrelet’s breeding habits, a mystery that had stumped ornithologists for years. And then, in the early 1970s. a tree climbing maintenance worker in Big Basin State Park, finally discovered the answer for them. He found a murrelet nest high in an inland redwood tree – and I had been standing in a majestic redwood grove when I learned the story.

The female marbled murrelet lays a single egg on a mossy branch in old growth trees. The egg is incubated for a month, then fed by both parents until it is about 40 days old, when it flies off to sea and feeds itself.

Because of logging practices and loss of habitat, the marbled murrelet is on the endangered species list, which is another reason I was excited to see one.

I made the sighting during a rainy day. The bird was on the water, with waves playing peek-a-boo with us, but a strong scope and patience finally gave me good view.

Bean Pat: Texas Tweeties  https://bobzeller.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/shooting-from-a-blind-or-in-the-wild/

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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