Shawneen Finnegan and spent the weekend of 8-10 April birding in and around Pacific City, Tillamoook County. Friday we surveyed the white-cheeked geese in various pastures along the Little Nestucca River and the lower Nestucca River, including the Nestucca Bay NWR. Before heading out to lead trips for the Pacific City Birding and Blues Festival on Saturday morning, we checked Haystack Rock off Cape Kiwanda at the north end of Pacific City. Later in the day we led two short walks at the Whalen Island/Clay Myers State Natural Area at Sand Lake. The weather was pretty bleak when we awoke Sunday. Since we didn't have a walk to lead, we decided to spend some time photographing Aleutian Cackling Geese at Woods County Park/Martella Dairy just n. of Pacific City. These flocks include the entire population of Aleutian Cackling Goose that breed in the Semidi Islands. This flock returns to this pasture each winter, feeding in the pastures by day and roosting on Haystack Rock at night. I hadn't seen these birds before, so it was fun to see them close-up and compare them to the dozens of typical Aleutians that were also present (see photos).

041011

This image shows nice comparison between a Semidi Islands Aleutian Cackling Goose (with green neck collar) and a typical Aleutian Cackling Goose. We noted a few differences that seem to be consistently apparent. The Semidi Island birds generally appeared to have shorter legs, be less scaly looking below and their foreheads were less pronounced. Additionally, they showed much thinner white collars at the base of the black "neck sock" and many presumed Semidis showed no white at all at the base of the neck.


Bird List

Little Nestucca River Rd. Pastures, Tillamook Co.,

Apr 08, 2011

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii 2400 see note
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 6 ---
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1 ---
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 1 ---
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 35 ---
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 1 ---
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris 1 ---
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris 20 ---

041011

The back left bird in this image (with green neck collar) is one of the Aleutian Cackling Geese that breeds on the Semidi Islands. The entire population from these islands winters in a single pasture near Pacific City, Tillamook Co., Oregon. At night they fly just offshore to roost on Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda. The right hand bird is a typical Aleutian Cackling Goose, most of which winter in California's Central Valley. During spring migration, northbound flocks Aleutians stop to feed in in the Nestucca River pasturelands before making an open ocean flight on to the Aleutian Islands. Only a few non-Semidi Aleutians winter in this area. The very pale bird in the foreground has the head shape of a typical Aleutian, but it was paler than most of the regular Aleutians that we saw.


Bird List

Nestucca Bay NWR, Pacific City, Tillamook Co., OR

Apr 08, 2011

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii 200 see note
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 105 see note
Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus 2 ---
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 1 ---
Chestnut-backed Chickadee Poecile rufescens 1 ---
Pacific Wren Troglodytes pacificus 1 ---
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris 1 ---
American Robin Turdus migratorius 4 ---
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata 4 see note
Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus 6 ---

Bird List

Cape Kiwanda/Haystack Rock, Pacific City, OR

Apr 09, 2011

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata 150 ---
White-winged Scoter Melanitta fusca 20 ---
Black Scoter Melanitta americana 1 ---
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata 2 ---
Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica 20 ---
Common Loon Gavia immer 2 ---
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus 8 ---
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 2 ---
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis 6 ---
Brandt's Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus 8 ---
Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus 20 ---
Western Gull Larus occidentalis 50 ---
Common Murre Uria aalge 800 ---
Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba 60 ---
Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus 2 ---
Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata 1 ---
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 4 ---
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys 2 ---
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 6 ---

Bird List

Woods County Pk./Martella Pastures, Woods, OR

Apr 10, 2011

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons 5 ---
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii 364 see note
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 40 ---
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 120 ---
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1 ---
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 6 ---
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 1 see note
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 5 ---
Western Gull Larus occidentalis 25 ---
California Gull Larus californicus 6 ---
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 2 ---
Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri 2 ---
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 7 ---
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 1 ---
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 12 ---
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 1 ---
Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina 10 ---
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris 1 ---
American Robin Turdus migratorius 12 ---
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris 30 ---
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1 ---
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 2 ---
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia 2 ---
Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla 2 ---
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 1 ---
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus 3 ---

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