Local February birds.

It's February, a month of taking what you can get birding-wise.  For whatever reason, being in a new county makes me want to bird a little bit harder so I've been trying more than usual to get county year birds.  It's been fun.  It's also been a little easier now that I get texts from some of the local birders when they find cool shit, like this Western Screech-Owl tucked in a potential nest cavity:

This was probably a county bird for me, as my only previous sighting was a sketchy backlit bird at Ridgefield my first year of birding.

On a sunny day earlier this month I walked to Meadowbrook Marsh Park to work on my motorless list, adding only Green-winged Teal and Pied-billed Grebe, but also my first motorless rough-skinned newt!

Local birders had seen a Black Phoebe around Vancouver Lake Park recently and I tried for it a couple times unsuccessfully.  There are plenty of birds to entertain there though.

Steller's Jay

 White-throated Year Bird

Eurasian Wigeons


Owls and stuff.

Last weekend Jacob and I met up with Audrey in eastern Washington to track down some owls.  We stocked up on snacks at a gas station in Burbank, then Audrey led us to our first owl stop, a rocky wall with a few small holes filled with Barn Owls. 

Next we headed out to the area where a Snowy Owl had been seen all winter.  Jacob and Audrey had both tried for this bird before and dipped, so the pressure was on. 

We finally drove far enough down a side road and crested a small hill when it appeared below us perched on some farm equipment, as it was supposed to be.

Lifer for both Jacob and Audrey! 

We decided not to push our luck and get any closer and we left the bird in the same spot we found it in.  With the most important bird under our belt we decided to go for the next hardest one, the Long-eared Owl.  There is a well-known road in the area where piles of Long-eareds roost, though they are notoriously difficult to see through branches and such. 

It continued to get darker with clouds…

January birds.

This month has been packed with birding for me, much more than normal.  It's been great.  Let's catch up on all the birds I haven't yet blogged about. 

Clark County

I've been hitting all the hotspots as well as the not-so-hot spots trying to get my county year list over 100.  Success and then some.  One morning I planned to walk the trails at the Ridgefield NWR Carty Unit but as I drove into Ridgefield it started pouring.  The auto tour sounded far more appealing in the bad weather and it turned out to be a good choice.

First bittern of 2018

In the forested section of the loop I heard a chip note I couldn't identify and drove myself nuts trying to locate the bird.  Finally I got my bins on a Swamp Sparrow, only my second time seeing one in Clark County.

I had another banded Cackling Goose on that day also.

And the gentleman's info:

One day I took Jake for a walk at Lacamas Lake for my year American Dipper with a bonus confiding Varied Thrush.

A chilly walk at Ste…