Common Scoter

Common Scoter at Lincoln City, OR
Common Scoter at Lincoln City, OR
Today I finally had enough energy after our return from Kenya to trek to the Oregon coast for the continuing Common Scoter. It is just the second North American record of this species, the first also being south on the coast in California. We had a great group arranged, myself, Ken Brown, Bruce Labar, and Marcus Roening met at the I-5 / Hwy. 512 park and ride and headed south at 6 PM. It was about 4.5 hours drive, going south to Salem, OR and then west on Hwy 22 and 18 to Rte. 101 and then south to the Schooner Creek pull-out just south of Lincoln City. When we got there the tide was fairly high, and the Common Scoter was quite close to shore near the big rock island and easily seen by all. It was with about 4 Black Scoters, a few Surf Scoters, and was easily distingished as we were only 50-100 yards away, in perfect light, and had spotting scopes to view.
Common Scoter with bill lowered to see top of bill
Common Scoter with bill lowered to see top of bill

Black Scoter for comparison
Black Scoter for comparison

We all celebrated a life list click, studied the bird for a bit, and then decided we had time to go about 6 miles south, around the protected Creek mouth, to Boiler Bay State Wayside for a seawatch. This is a beautiful place, on the open ocean, with pounding surf, and a nice high knoll to get out of the spray with our scopes and scan the waters. We had a nice variety of gulls, scoters, cormorants, and loons, and watched a young Peregrine Falcon make maybe 100 swooping passes at a Red Phalarope on the water, with the phalarope ducking underwater to avoid each attacking pass. Finally the falcon gave up and flew away.
After this we decided to go back to eat our lunch while revisiting the Common Scoter and then drive back home. Good company, conversation, and a nice ABA lifer trip. ABC birding meeting tonight was with Jim Watson of WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife talking on his research and experience with Golden Eagles in WA. I nice talk and great finish to the day.

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