I first visited this relatively new wildlife area shortly after it opened three years ago just 15 minutes south of Newport. They had a special tour for Migratory Bird Day that looked like it would be a fun early morning bird walk (I should say hike because we hiked about five miles with a fair amount of climbing thrown in for good measure.) We did see plenty of birds, but because we didn’t get started until 9:00 we were really too late to get much out of the flycatchers and warblers that frequent the area in spring.
|We found over two dozen species just walking around the parking lot|
What really impressed me however, was what is right there at the visitor center. The center is on a hill overlooking Beaver Creek with a view of the Coast Range in the distance. An osprey nest perches on a tower in the distance. A short easy trail leads down to the creek and several bird feeders hang close to the center’s deck. Half a dozen swallow nest boxes are fully utilized by the tree swallows. This year our annual week at the beach again coincided with Migratory Bird Day. This year all the area’s birding sites hosted something related to the day. Beaver Creek again offered a bird walk and this year it started at 7:00 so we would be early enough to get the morning birds.
|Mom and Dad finishing the nest.|
We hung out at the visitor center for the first 45 minutes because that area was so productive. Counting the Osprey parent and chicks on the distant tower, the Mallard family on the creek, and the Cackling Geese flying overhead we saw 27 species without leaving the parking lot.
|Osprey in the distance|
Two of these were big rarities for me: the Swainson’s Thrush and the Hermit Warbler. Other birds I haven’t seen very often include Wrentit, Purple Finch and Western Tanager. Other notables include Band-tailed Pigeon, Black-headed Grosbeak, Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds, and Marsh Wren.
Once we had exhausted the area around the visitor center, we walked down the road to the creek where we walked a short way on the trail that leads up into the hills. Without rubber boots we were not able to go far, but we did see several birds there as well including the Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s Warbler and Marsh Wren. The Wilson’s Warbler accommodated us very nicely by posing on the telephone wire along the road. We also heard a Virginia Rail.
Since I had not brought my long lens for the walk, I returned two days later. The center doesn’t open until noon, but I was able to park at the creek and walk up to the visitor center and take pictures. The sun cooperated nicely. This is an excellent spot for some morning pictures. While I did not see all the same birds, I was able to add Evening Grosbeak and Cedar Waxwing to the list from Saturday’s viewing.
Birds Seen: Cackling Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron,Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Virginia Rail, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Anna's Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Steller's Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, wallow, Marsh Wren, Wrentit, Swainson's Thrush, American Robin, Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hermit Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Cedar Waxwing, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Western Tanager, Evening Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch