I’d like to share with you a little secret that I found just this week! Well… it was more like Sandy who found it! Sandy helps out at Yaquina Head by managing the garden and pulling out invasive plants from the natural area. She let us know that on one of her walks across the park, she decided to hike Communications Hill, or “Comm’s Hill” for short. She claimed to have found a hummingbird’s nest just a bit off the the end of the trail. Upon hearing this wonderful news, I asked her to guide me to the spot she found the nest. As we walked, Sandy took the time to talk to me about the different plants that were growing all over Yaquina Head and it baffled me that she could know so much about identifying different plants! I suppose its no different than being in awe by a birder who can recognize calls or identify birds by their silhouettes alone. I realized there was so much more to appreciate the park for: not only for the history of the lighthouse, or the birds, marine life and geography of the land but also the diverse flora that brings color to our natural area!
It had also been a while since I’d hiked up to Comm’s Hill myself. What is about half a mile of a hike feels somewhat more with the steady incline. It’s a small price to pay for the beauty and seclusion of the trail. This trail is unlike any other part of the park. Most of Yaquina Head is surrounded with the coastline and the environment comes with it. In Comm’s Hill, it feels like traversing through some neck of the woods farther inland. The creaking and swaying of the trees, along with the sunlight breaking through the leaves and canopies is something to take in. Comm’s Hill is also the area of the park with the least amount of foot traffic, unfortunately. I say that because while many of us seek hidden trails to find solace and bask in the nature, I wish that many more of our guests could experience the same.
As we neared the apex of the trail, we remained quiet so as to not scare the hummingbird close by. Sandy pointed out the nest to me and I was in amazement to see the hummingbird still sitting in its nest with us as company. It was so small that I don’t think I could’ve found it myself! I managed to take out my binoculars and use my phone with them for some photos to show the staff. We’ve identified it as a female Rufous hummingbird! It made me happy to see that along with our cormorants, gulls, and Peregrine falcons, we have a new feathery family to take residence at Yaquina Head!