Best Bird Nerd Bike ride ever!

Just a quick post today. It’s late (OK after 830) and I have to work tomorrow…

What some of you might not know, is that in addition to being a coast kid, a cyclist, and a dead ringer (albeit shorter) for Tom Selleck,

I am, in my wife’s terms, a complete bird nerd! Tonight’s ride was bird nerd classic!

I will show my age here. But when I think of anyone being a true bird watcher, I immediately think of Jane Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies!

I am not QUITE that bad, but I do love spotting birds.

Little did I know that when I became a cyclist, I could easily combine my bird nerd self with my rides. Going slower than a car it’s easier to see things you’d miss at higher speeds. Not being in a metal box means I have a much better field of vision, and it is SO much easier to hear birds from a bike. In short, its a mobile bird spotting platform!

Today I spotted a ton!

After the big climbs Sunday, the calves were a bit sore. Michelle suggested a ride to loosen them up, so I drove to Newport to ride the river road.  Its an out and back along the Yaquina river., 25 miles total.

Its a road with a wide shoulder and very little traffic and pretty darn flat.

As soon as I got east of town, the birds started!

First was a bald eagle flying low and slow heading back toward Newport. I am always surprised at how big they are when they are in flight. That wing span I amazing!

Soon thereafter, an osprey flew about 15 feet overhead heading out to the river. He was chattering up a storm. Must have been dinner time!

As I rounded the next turn, the blue herons were looking for supper as well.

Sadly, I this one was shot  too quickly, so its not as sharp as I hoped for, but this guy caught a fish and it’s still in his mouth.

When they hunt they have their neck out and when the are ready they launch it like a spear! I love seeing them catch a meal!

As it was supper time, next in line was a King Fisher (not this one but not everyone knows what one is)

 

king fisher

They are VERY loud and very timid, its hard to get a photo of them. They was SO much fun to watch though. I saw two of them hovering in mid air. Sadly I didn’t get to see him dive after a fish. That is a sight to see.

Later, the ever present turkey vultures were soaring over head, riding the air currents, while swallows were bobbing and weaving going after bugs.

At one point, 2 killdeers were waling in the mudflat also looking for a meal. I stopped to try for a photo but no dice. They were more skittish than the king fishers.

So let’s do the math, in the 12 miles from Newport to the turnaround, that was 7 different species of birds. add the seagulls and crows that is 9!

At the turn around the ride did get a bit tougher…

As a person I love seeing the rainbow flag fly. As a cyclist I HATE that it is standing straight up and I had to pedal into it for the most part…..

But it was only 12 miles, and the evening was pretty. The wind just made it a harder work out

But the birds weren’t done!

I stopped at my car at the end, and a guy came up to me and pointed toward a tree.

Sure enough, one more bald eagle to round out the ride!

I go out of my way to point out bald eagles to people when I spot them, It was nice of this guy to do the same for me!

A great night for both cycling and bird watching! No wonder I love the Oregon Coast!

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