Posted by: atowhee | August 18, 2008

Fog, rain, wind, mud–this was a summer weekend to please a shorebirder

Two Lesser on the left.  Greater below.  They were sharing the same rocky stream outflow into the main Coquille Estuary.





Together and compared: the larger Greater Yellowlegs with his proportionately longer beak.  While in the foreground the altogether slighter, shorter beaked Lesser.  The Greater, naturally, spent more time in deeper water than the Lesser.  Later I found a few of these tykes, another Oregon lifer:







Semipalmated Plover with a high-steeping Western Sandpeep to its left.






Good size comparison.






With two stripes the Killdeer is a captain of plovers. Guess these Semipalms would then be the lieutenants.  Making the incomplete-ringed birds like Snowy mere warrant officers.  IN Europe they have several species of single-ringed plovers, but no captains.

Here’s young gull of the day.  Any ID suggestions?  I have my own favorite surmise.

Getting a good angle can be very important, it seems:

This is a yound Blue Heron so some of its behavior may not quite measure up to the normally stolid, deadly aim of the adult and mature members of the same species.





One migratory landbird seemed to be just about everywhere, except the mudflats.  Surely we all can recognize this profile:

Audubon’s “cedar bird”







I ended the trip to Bandon with eight Oregon lifers and a state total of 222.  No surprises, but it was good to notch up some of the regular fall shorebird migrants.  Still no phalaropes, Surfbirds and no Ruddy Turnstone.  Our last morning in town we watched over 100 Black Turnstones gleaning the rocks along the Bandon two boat harbor.

Adult White-crowned Sparrow watching the photographer carefully.

The gull above: I’m thinking this was a Thayer’s, though the hint of pale edging on the primaries is faint. It was distinctly smaller than the nearby Westerns and much bigger than the Mew Gulls that floated past.  It never got close enough to another gull for a direct photo comparison. How diagnostic are the sharply defined chevron-shaped brown marks on the feathers?  (My gull books are in storage somewhere).


  1. Hi Harry I agree I think it is a Thayer’s Gull. The wingtips are darker then the body. Smaller bill, dark iris. The only other bird that it resembles is the rare Iceland Gull but is to dark a bird for that plus it is a Eastern species. I checked with Sibley’s guide and Peterson’s western guides and the Sibley’s was the best of help to ID it. I saw one in Indiana along Lake Michigan many years ago. Also there could be hybrids such as HerringxGlaucous-winged gull but I think you have a Thayers Gull a very good find. I birded Bandon a few times when I was in Oregon great birdwatching area. Lots of Black Turnstones and a lot of Surf Scoters, also toward the fall/winter look for the Surfbirds, a rare Rock Sandpiper, I thought I saw one but it flew before I got a good look at it, a very shy bird. I got lucky one fall day and got one Wandering Tattler. good luck in your birding Bandon a very good spot to bird. Good birding–Larry Carter

  2. […] Migration has begun along the Pacific Coast as my recent Bandon visit illustrates.  Here inland the movement is more subtle, reports of Purple Finches and Brown Creepers moving […]

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