[birding] Murrelets

Joel Geier jgeier at attglobal.net
Mon Jul 17 17:43:22 PDT 2006

Hello All,

I have not personally seen/heard Marbled Murrelets in the Benton County 
Coast Range but my understanding is that they have been found by 
"merlit" surveyors.

 From descriptions of those who have watched them come in to staked-out 
nests at Valley of the Giants (in the Polk Co. Coast Range), you'd 
better not blink or you could miss them before they head back to sea again.

If I were keen to get them on a Benton Co. list, the place I would try 
would be the Benton Co. slope of Little Grass Mtn. which has some very 
suitable-looking habitat on BLM tracts, and is a lot closer than SW 
Benton Co. I vaguely recall Roy Gerig or someone like that who has done 
merlit surveys mentioning to me in a discussion on Little Grass Mtn., 
that this was a spot they were interested in surveying from a 
conservation standpoint ... was some years ago so I have forgotten the 

Little Grass Mtn., at the triple junction of Polk, Lincoln, and Benton 
Counties, is an interesting site for rare Coast range forbs. The grassy 
& rocky bald on top is a unique place (protected as an Outstanding 
Natural Area), though last time I was up there the brackenfern was 
getting thick over much of the area, kept in check only by the 
aplodontia. It's one of those places where, if you go alone, you tend to 
think more than usual about cougars. Bring some flagging so you can find 
your way back.

Valley of the Giants, by the way, is a place not to be missed. Many of 
these Coast Range places are becoming inordinately hard to get to these 
days, since more and more logging roads are gated off earlier and 
earlier in the summer.

Happy coast-range birding (if you can get to it),

Joel Geier
jgeier at attglobal.net

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