The beauty of Bandon beaches brings awe to visitors as soon as they exit their vehicles and breathe in the fresh ocean air.
But an element of that beauty could easily slip by unnoticed.
Face Rock off of Bandon's Beach Loop Road is a habitat for puffins. But few who visit the Face Rock viewpoint can say they have seen one of these exemplary sea birds.
“Everybody wants to see a puffin. It's all about the puffins, said Laura Paulson, a volunteer with Shoreline Education for Awareness.
The SEA nonprofit is dedicated to promoting education and awareness of shoreline habitats and wildlife. As part of this mission, SEA volunteers are also helping visitors spot puffins at the Face Rock Viewpoint and Coquille Point.
“We have are having a puffin party here and at Coquille Point to start out the season, looking for birds and letting people know about the interpretive work that we do,” said Jacque Maldonado, a volunteer and new SEA board member.
The nonprofit volunteers said they want to teach visitors how to identify and enjoy wildlife, while also being respectful of local wildlife.
And, maybe, just maybe, they can also spot a puffin.
On Saturday, May 13, the nonprofit groups had several binoculars and scopes set up focused on places upon Face Rock where puffins have been located. The technique was to keep as many pairs of eyes on the rock as possible.
“I think the trick is just to keep looking,” said SEA volunteer Laura Paulson.
“They could be there inside a burrow, so you have to be looking when they come out. Or they could be out to sea fishing,” she said.
One puffin was spotted early in the day, but it hadn't been spotted again later that afternoon.
“That's why we have all these folks with binoculars and scopes because it ups the chance of us being able to spot one. With the naked eye you probably couldn't see one,” Paulson said.
“But if you look at a puffin, it has the big orange bill and the bright orange legs – and it's a stocky, showy bird,” she said.
Volunteers Paulson and Maldonado said they were enjoying learning about puffins and other birds from longtime SEA members.
“It's a really good group of people. They are all nature lovers, and being around them I am becoming a birder myself,” Maldonado said.
“I enjoy learning more about the birds and how to identify them, and I never thought I would do that, but it's a really fun thing to do,” she said.
SEA is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that reaches out to 15,000 to 20,000 visitors annually. During the summer months, SEA sets up wildlife interpretive stations at Coquille Point or Face Rock in Bandon, and at Simpson Reef near Charleston, to view islands which are part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
For more information, visit: www.sea-edu.org.
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