The Trouble with Surfperch of a Certain Size

This driftline scene is on the unusual side, not super unusual, but unusual enough to get you thinking. If it’s not clear what’s going on, a double-crested cormorant nabbed a barred surfperch a tad too large. It illustrates that minor mistakes in the everyday choices faced by predators can turn fatal. The thing about surfperch…

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A Brant’s Shadow

In Oregon, we think about flocks of Brant wintering on the estuaries, especially those that support rich eelgrass beds, but there are always a few brant summering singly or in small groups on the exposed outer coast. I came across this one and its shadow on a late June morning. Brant that summer in Oregon get…

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Surfbirds Live Up to Their Name on the Winter Range

Ah, those little surfbirds, how they they love a low tide. Low water exposes their winter feeding grounds. This flock seemed oblivious to anything but feeding. The rocks had a fresh growth of algae and apparently hosted lots of prey. Wintering on rocky surf-swept shores, the surfbirds’s dark plumage blends in nicely. Is it camouflage?…

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Waiting Out High Tide With an Olympic Gull

Waiting for the tide to turn takes patience. My companion on the wait for a high tide last November was this large gull. I thought my patient partner was a herring gull, but I took a closer look and changed my mind. The subject of my weight(less) contribution has intermediate traits – a dark but…

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Brandt’s Cormorant Doesn’t Survive Attempt to Swallow Barred Surfperch

Have you ever taken too big a bite? This Brandt’s cormorant did, presumably, and paid the ultimate price. A group of my friends, and my sis too, decided to spend New Year’s morning with their dogs on off-leash Carmel Beach, California. There, they made this curious discovery in the drift line. The slim neck of…

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