75 miles to Bandon + 5 kicking around town for 80 total
One of the better views along to road today
Bandon has been championed by many as fantastic spot for shorebirding. I pushed relatively hard to reach the town with ample time to bird the area today. A vicious north wind built over the course of the day, and this helped pushed me into town in good time. By the time I arrive it was blowing steadily at 25 MPH. This made the front beach essentially unbirdable. Not to matter though as I fully expected loads of shorebirds to appear in Bandon Marsh NWR as the tide fell during the late afternoon. However, this never happened; There were ZERO (literally) shorebirds present at Bandon Marsh today. I saw at least 3-4 Peregrine Falcons patrolling the area, so maybe this explains the lack of birds. Maybe the strong north winds encouraged some birds to head south, but who knows? My shorebird tally for the afternoon was 3 Black oystercatchers, 1 Black turnstone, and 2 Red-necked phalaropes. Pathetic and frustrating. The wind is supposed to die down a bit (but not completely) overnight, so I will revisit the same spots tomorrow morning. I really hope something changes in the next twelve hours, or Bandon will be compared to Ryan Leaf as the biggest bust in history.
A northward view from the very windy south jetty at Bandon
A birdless Bandon Marsh
A few people asked about the identification of the Ruff from yesterday. Ruffs can come in a number of different plumages, but for this discussion, I'll limit the scope to the identification of the particular bird I saw yesterday. This Ruff was a juvenile as indicated by its very buffy plumage. It was this buff that immediately gave the bird's identity away. Only one other regularly occurring North American shorebird looks anything like this: the aptly-named Buff-breasted sandpiper. Ruff is much larger (~50% so) and has a longer, slightly down-curved bill. Both species have yellowish legs. However, Ruffs will often feed in belly deep water like a yellowlegs while Buff-breasteds are most often in grassy areas and sometimes beaches. They rarely wade like Ruffs often do. Buff-breasted is a North American bird as it breeds here whereas Ruffs are vagrants form Eurasia - most often on the coasts.
Juvenile Ruff from yesterday
Buff-breasted sandpiper I photographed at
Plum Island, MA a few years ago
Tomorrow I will bird Bandon again in the morning and then head south towards Gold Beach in the afternoon. I should arrive in California in just 3 days!