I headed out to the South Jetty of the Siuslaw River early this afternoon, hoping that last night's high winds might have blown in something exciting . Alas, I didn't find too much, the water between the jetties was very choppy and mostly devoid of birds. Among the most impressive sights were well over 800 Brown Pelicans lined up on the rocks between the channel and the sheltered North Jetty cove. About 5 Red Phalaropes bobbed, circled, and flew up and down in front of the rocks, well out of camera range. Closer in, I noted a few Common Loons and Western Grebes, a couple of Red-necked Grebes, a handful of Red-breasted Mergansers and Buffleheads and a small band of Surf Scoters. At one point 3 Green-winged Teal came zipping by.
Just as I was ready to get back into my car, I noticed a small diving duck directly off the jetty rocks in front of me. It was clearly smaller than a couple of female Surf Scoters nearby, and a quick look through my binos confirmed a female Harlequin Duck! I don't see this species very often between the jetties in Florence (it is more common at some of the pull-outs farther north along the Lane County coast), so I was quite pleased with my find. Not the breath-taking rarity I had secretly hoped for, but a nice bird nonetheless, and it obligingly posed for a few photos.
On my way back home, I swung by the neighborhood were the Tropical Kingbird had been hanging out for the past few days. I didn't see it today (I only spent a few minutes looking, though), just a bunch of starlings and crows on the wires. But at least I was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow that spanned the sky. Let's hope for another good windstorm soon - I could use some alcids or tubenoses!