Cape Arago Audubon Society will be bringing both advanced and beginning birders alike to the Southern Oregon coast on September 20 to 22 to see and hear award-winning presentations on Red Knots and Black Oystercatchers at the 33rd Oregon Shorebird Festival. The festival is a celebration of Oregon shorebirds and an educational experience, with field trips, talks, bird watching, and shared meals.
Janet Essley will present on one of the furthest migrating species in the world, the Red Knot. She will take us on a journey with the Red Knot species of the Americas, roselaari and rufa, from their breeding grounds to non-breeding sites and back again, dipping into amazing sandpiper physiology related to their ability to migrate such long distances. Through the Cultural Cartography, Essley will guide us with incredible works of art through the science and conservation of this impressive shorebird.
The Blackoystercatcher is a charismatic and conspicuous shorebird of the west coast and currently is classified as a “species of high conservation concern”. Their health and reproductive success are being closely monitored by the Oregon Blackoystercatcher Project, co-led by Audubon Society of Portland staff scientist Joe Liebezeit. Liebezeit will present on the monitoring project aiming to provide new information about this species’ biology to better inform methods of protection.
This year’s field trips will include a pelagic trip off-shore and land-based trips to both Bandon and the Bay Area as well as a sea watch.
Oregon Pelagic Tours will host a five-hour pelagic trip on Sunday to give participants a sense of what a day-long pelagic trip is like. Potential sightings include Black-footed albatross, Parasitic Jaeger, Sabine’s Gull, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, Northern Fulmar, Pomarine Jaeger, Red-necked Phalarope, Cassin’s Auklet and more! Onboard expert guides will identify birds and other marine life and describe their natural history.
Field trips to the Bandon Marsh and Bandon Beach, the best bird watching spots in Bandon where participants can see fall migrating shorebirds including Black-bellied Plover, Dunlin, and sandpipers as well as Surfbird, Wandering Tattler, and Black and Ruddy Turnstones. For a bit of an extra walk, you can see the Western Snowy Plover which is federally listed as a threatened species. The Coos Bay field trips is also available both days where you can visit all the hot birding spots around the Bay Area. See the Pacific Loon, Marbled Godwits, Bald Eagles, Great Egrets and more.
Two other highlights of the weekend begin with a walk to the Charleston Marine Life Center. Aquaria highlighting different coastal ecosystems, a tidepool touch tank, whale and sea lion skeletons, underwater video from deep reefs and undersea volcanoes, and a variety of specimens reveal the remarkable diversity of life off Oregon. Drive out to Simpson Reef Overlook on the Cape Arago Highway to view the sea lions and seals as well as Harlequin Duck and Surf Scoters.
The weekend kicks off with registration at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) cafeteria in Charleston on Friday at 4 PM. OIMB is located at 63466 Boat Basin Road. OIMB, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Shoreline Education for Awareness, South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Oregon Pelagic Tours and South Coast Tours are partnering with Cape Arago Audubon Society in sponsoring this year’s Festival.
Information about the festival as well as registration details can be found at www.oregonshorebirdfestival.org. Contact Harv Schubothe at (541) 297-2342 for more information.