Monthly Archives: June 2016

Our Exclusive Gated Community

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Killdeer preening his feathers on the beach near Elephant Rock in Bandon, OR.

Killdeer preening his feathers on the beach near Elephant Rock in Bandon, OR.

We’re having a great and relaxing time since we arrived in Bandon a month ago.  Traveling every week or two can be stressful. The simplest of chores like finding a grocery store or figuring out how to maneuver the motorhome into an unfamiliar gas station can get old. In the past month, we’ve found our favorite pizza joint, memorized the aisles in the grocery store and even have a PO Box and library card. We feel like one of the locals!

A free RV site with full hookups is one of the benefits of volunteering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

A free RV site with full hookups is one of the benefits of volunteering with SEA. Our home for the summer, along with 2 other volunteers, is within this “Exclusive Gated Community”.

We work Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 2 PM. During our shift, we train our spotting scopes on nesting birds just off the coast and invite visitors to have a look. We explain the birds’ migratory and nesting habits and do our best to answer questions. At the end of each work day, we head back to the motorhome for a long nap. I don’t think we could ever go back to a “real” job.

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Being on our feet for 4 hours straight combined with the cold wind can wear us out. Even so, it beats working in an office all day.

Many of the rocky islands off the beach are named after their appearance. First-time tourists hear about these and often ask “Where is Elephant Rock?” or “Where is Face Rock?”.  The kids see the resemblance right away but often the adults do not.

"Elephant Rock" is one of two sites where we volunteer. Can you see the elephant?

“Elephant Rock” is one of two sites where we volunteer. Can you see the elephant?

"Face Rock" - Can you see this one?

“Face Rock”  is the other site where we volunteer. Do you see the face?

Cindy and I come here even on our days off. We’ve gotten to know the few nesting black oystercatchers and their newly hatched chicks. We feel it’s our duty to check on them every day.

I'm still waiting patiently for this black oystercatcher to hatch his/her chick(s).

I’m still waiting patiently for this black oystercatcher to hatch his/her chick(s). The others we watch are too far away to photograph.

They're around 140  steps from our volunteer post down to the beach. On our days off, we hike down with  T&E and let them run on the beach.

They’re around 140 steps from our volunteer post down to the beach. On our days off, we hike down with T&E and let them run on the beach.

The most popular bird with the tourists and locals is the tufted puffin.  We usually see one or two during our work days but they’re too far away to photograph. I found this picture on the internet which illustrates their appeal:

The feather tufts distinguish the tufted puffin from it's Atlantic cousin.

The feather tufts atop its head distinguish the tufted puffin from its cousins, the Atlantic and Horned puffins.

Even though I haven’t been able to photograph a puffin up close, I have found other interesting birds to photograph.

I took over a hundred photos of this killdeer before getting this interesting shot. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

I took over a hundred photos of this killdeer before getting this interesting shot and the one at the start of this post. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

A lot of the tourists come to see the seals. While we concentrate on the birds, our fellow volunteers down on the beach focus on seals and wildlife in the tidal pools.

Harbor seals, like this one,  are the most common seals we see around Bandon.  We've also seen California sea lions, Steller sea lions and the massive elephant seals.

Harbor seals, like this one, are the most common seals we see around Bandon. We’ve also seen California sea lions, Steller sea lions and massive elephant seals weighing upwards of 5,000 pounds..

 

 

 

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