Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sept 6 (Day 249) - Wrentit makes appearance, plans for Mountain quail hunt

I was hoping to do a bit of sea watching this morning before my ride inland. Thick fog made this impossible. I tried to wait the fog out, but come 10am I decided to get rolling. I had 60 miles to cover from Newport, OR to Corvallis, OR, and, although the air temp was 45F when I woke up on the coast, the forecast for my destination was calling for highs of 97F in the late afternoon. If I wanted to avoid cooking en route, then I needed to get moving. I stayed at the Best Western Plus Agate Inn last night. The place was right on the beach and had a spectacular view!

Photo taken through my window yesterday evening.
The beach was covered in large undulations like I've never seen.

Here is essentially the same view from this morning.
This was taken from the back porch a few stories lower.

I did think that the scrubby habitat along the beach looked particularly good for Wrentit. While I was waiting for the fog to potentially clear, I took a short walk to try to add this bird to the year's list. I needed literally walk only 30 feet beyond the hotel to hear the "bouncing ball" song being uttered from inside the dunes thicket. A quick pish brought the bird into view for year bird #546. He bounced around for a bit before returning to the confines of a tangle of vines. What else do you expect from a Wrentit though?

Once finally initiated, the ride from Newport to Corvallis was very uneventful. Although it was very foggy on the ocean side of the coastal mountains, the clouds gave way to bright sunshine as I climbed eastward. By the time I reached Corvallis, the predicted 95F temps had become a reality. Good thing there was a Dairy Queen at roadside during the hottest stretch of the transit!

I am going to use Corvallis and Philomath as bases to explore Mary's Peak tomorrow and possibly the next day as well. This spot has been suggested by several people as a good place to chase Mountain quail (eBird confirms this). I am going to make a very early start to reach it to the productive birding spots/elevations before others head in the same direction. Like Sooty grouse, I want to avoid all other people. My best chance for the bird might be at the roadside, and if a few cars flush the birds before I get to them, then the whole day could be washed out. Tomorrow is Sunday so there will probably be other people out and about. I could also try on Monday if tomorrow does not work out. 

Its 7:30pm right now and I am wiped out. I am hoping my energy levels return to where they have been previously. Maybe I am just dreading the potential 4000' climb over ~15 miles tomorrow. It will be so good to have these mountain birds finished once the quail is ticked. I am really sick of big climbs to look for birds. The other thing I have noticed is that the weight of the spotting scope and tripod, ~8 lbs, really makes a big difference. The bike now feels as though it is anchored at the bottom of hills. This has made climbing exceptionally strenuous the last few days. 

OK, that's it. I am exhausted so I am going to shut it down.

1 comment:

  1. No worries. You should be over your ice-cream lunch hangover by today. Good luck with the quail hunt.