Every spring, Upper Newport Bay becomes a destination for weary travelers from the Arctic. These tourists take in the weather, socialize, dine and bask in the comfort and protection of the Bay. Welcome our feathered friends – birds.
After enduring a trip of over 3,000 miles on the Pacific Flyaway, the highway in the sky, some birds rest here and others continue to other destinations farther south. With wetland environments disappearing rapidly, the Bay is important oasis – over 200 species! Exhausting nearly 50% of their body weight during migration, the lush resources of the Bay helps them to re-energize.
February is the time to grab binoculars and get to know some of these visitors. Identify low tide locals and check out marbled godwits and longbilled curlews, probing into the mud or the osprey hunting for fish. Migratory birds to look for include the dowitcher, western sandpiper and the bufflehead as well as many other wetland ducks.
There are plenty of opportunities for all ages this month to view the nearly 30,000 expected birds from land and from the water. Don’t wait too long as many birds will continue on or return to the great north starting in March.