Local May birds.

This month has been all about year birds and I'm already way above my highest Clark County year list ever (a measly 146 species).  It's been fun to see what's possible here, though I've had my share of misses too (damn you, Black-necked Stilts).  There is a lot to catch up on, let's go!

The Fazio ponds at the end of Lower River Road near Vancouver Lake was one of best county shorebirding spots this spring.  I missed the stilts and Solitary Sandpiper but did find Dunlin, Least and Western Sandpipers, dowitchers, Spotted Sandpipers, and Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs. 

Lesser/Greater comparison

One afternoon on our way out there I may have yelled a little too excitedly for Jacob to stop the car and turn around as there was a Western Kingbird perched on a post.  I thought it was a county bird for me but alas, I had one in the same area 6 years ago.

Even still it was a solid county year bird and several other folks were able to see it as well. 

I've been trying to vi…

Larch Mountain

There are a few things I miss about Multnomah County birding, like hitting Mount Tabor every morning once migration starts, or hitting my old patch Blue Lake for a solid morning of owls and other birds.  One of my favorite spring rituals was going up to Larch Mountain for year grouse and scenery as soon as the snow is cleared.  Luckily, Clark County has its own Larch Mountain, though I had never seen or heard grouse on it before.

Jacob and I decided to head up there recently to see what scenery, wildflowers and YEAR BIRDS we could find.  We took L-1000 into the forest, stopping for various songs and flowers.  At one point I heard a rustling in the low shrubs and we waited to see the squirrel or towhee or whatever pop out.  Except not this time!  This time it was a Ruffed Grouse!  And he walked right toward us and up to the truck.


He was so close to the truck I couldn't take anything more than a phone photo at first.  Jacob got out to try get some shots and the grouse casua…

Yakima County.

Recently Jacob and I planned a big day trip to Yakima County in central Washington to visit Toppenish NWR so Jacob could finally see some stilts and I could get some state birds.  It was great though the ridiculous number of ticks will be as memorable as the birds.

We brushed off dozens of these buggers in the field but continued to find them in our clothes, in my hair, and in the car for days afterward.  Thankfully Lyme disease is not a big concern out there, but still, ticks are gnarly.  

But there were birds!  We started off the day driving past the headquarters along Pumphouse Road to Old Goldendale Road and Lateral 'C' Road.  Jacob lifered on Black-necked Stilts just as he was supposed to last year at Summer Lake.

 Oh right, then some horses cruised through blocking the stilt view.  It's cool, we had better views later. 

Stilt with a view

A male Northern Harrier was around the whole time we were there, briefly pausing on a fence post. 

Wilson's Snipes do not pause…