Date: 7/21/17 5:36 pm From: Nelson, Kim <kim.nelson...> Subject: [obol] Re: Marbled Murrelets in the heart of the coast range, an hour from Salem 7/21/2017
What an awesome morning you had! I was in the Yachats area doing a Marbled Murrelet citizen science workshop on Thursday morning and we had 18 detections at Cape Perpetua. Everyone got to see and hear murrelets which was fantastic.
The higher pitched keer call is not heard often and it is usually heard in association with a nesting site. We heard one bird giving this call during our Cape Perpetua survey. We don't know what the call means, but I have only heard it in areas with occupied behaviors and known nesting. I would expect murrelets are nesting somewhere near where you were standing. There are known occupied/nesting sites along Stillwell Creek and the Little Nestucca.
Michelle Dragoo and her crew were with me at the workshop. I am sure she will love getting out to see murrelets again, especially in such a beautiful spot. Enjoy!
Happy birding, Kim
From: <obol-bounce...> [<obol-bounce...>] on behalf of Roy Gerig [<roygerig...>]
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 2:56 PM
Subject: [obol] Marbled Murrelets in the heart of the coast range, an hour from Salem 7/21/2017
I had a near religious experience this morning 0530-0600 (to clarify, I am a left wing Christian, I don't attend any church regularly and my favorite place of worship is an Old-Growth Forest with Marbled Murrelets in it during the hours around sunrise).
The most accessible spot for MARBLED MURRELET from the Salem area is 50 miles west of here between Hwys 18 and 22, the spot that is the closest to a faux Four Corners where Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk and Lincoln Counties almost touch each other, just into Tillamook County. I camped there last night, waking a little before 5 AM by several VARIED THRUSHES in wondrous ethereal song, soon joined by just as many SWAINSON'S THRUSHES in song and call. Just when PACIFIC WREN and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER joined in the marvelous dawn chorus, at 0533 I heard what sounded like 1 or 2 MARBLED MURRELETS calling standard Keers as they seemed to be flying down Stillwell Creek about a mile from where it flows into the Little Nestucca River. I often visited this site as part of some jobs for agencies and an environmental group in the old days, but I had not been there for awhile. It was gratifying that it still seems to work for MAMU.
At 0543 I heard 3 higher, thinner Keer calls. They may been stationary calls. If Kim Nelson is watching and feels so inclined, she can tell you what this higher Keer might mean, and any other thing I say here. At 0545 a single MAMU flew directly overhead, lower than the high canopy of the tall very large trees in this strip of mixed Old-growth - Doulgas fir, Sitka Spruce, Western Redcedar and Western Hemlock, broken topped with massive examples of each with thick mossy limbs, easy to get to from a Murrelets perspective as they fly along Stillwell Creek with its completely inaccessible to humans steep and unstable canyon sides below the road. 0549 I heard a burst of many Keers, almost all at the same time, like when a MAMU rejoins the group it flew in from the ocean with just before they head back out to sea for more fish. Sounded like a large group, in situations like that where I've had visuals I have seen 6 of these seabirds or more. Companion birds to the one visiting a nest fly in giant circles around the nest tree until the mate of the nester comes out and rejoins them, being sociable they talk excitedly when regrouping for the trip to the ocean. Around 0600 I heard a very faint Keer, and just before that I saw a dark bird of the right size dive into where a good looking MAMU tree is, but I had a brief glimpse and cannot say it was not a STELLER'S JAY, which was in the area.
The chorus around sunrise led by the many VARIED and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES is at least as good as any church organ, and until you've been in a place like this, you don't know how abundant these 2 species are as nesters in our mountains. The warblers have stopped singing by now, past mid-July. I heard only 1 HERMIT and 1 WILSON'S WARBLER both abundant and certainly still here for another month or more, and 1 BLACK-THROATED GRAY, and saw 2 ORANGE CROWNED. All of the Warblers were detected along FS 2280, 3 miles from the MAMU site on the way back down, no warblers were detected during the MAMU visit.
There was quite a lot of mostly dried and faded, with some recent, Cougar scat along the road where I wanted to start this morning. I had chicken along to eat and thought it prudent to back my car up into a very small unused road that nobody had been on for a month or more, overgrown with soft Thimbleberry and Salmonberry crowding in from the sides but where there was no Bear or Cougar sign. This morning I spent the 2 hours around sunrise walking slow trying to watch the best looking wildlife trees between two openings in front of and behind where I camped. I watched a Chickaree climbing up a 7' dbh Doug fir into a witches' broom a hundred feet straight up where it seemed to have a nest hole
I plan to go back on Sunday, so that Monday morning I can share this with USFS biologist in Hebo, and look at some relief maps, I shared data with them 10 and 20 years ago and they are aware of this magnificent site. If anyone wants to join me, let me know, I'll plan on leaving Salem Sunday mid-afternoon, and be finished with the Murrelet visit and back out to pavement near Dolph Jct by mid-Monday
The location is not a secret, but you won't remember how to get to it anyway because 1) it is hard to find and 2) you will be required to drink wine or some other ritual designed to make you forget how you got there, on Sunday evening
Thank you for reading this opposite of a rant, it is just that I am so stoked. I haven't done a MAMU visit in a few years and haven't been to this site in nearly 10, and was not at all sure the site would still host Murrelets
Roy Gerig, Salem OR