My new county.

Birding underbirded places has always been the most fun for me, and as it turns out Clark County is kind of underbirded.  I never realized how much so until I moved here.  A quick check of eBird confirms that despite being the 5th most populous county in Washington, Clark is way down at #24 (out of 39 counties) in number of eBird checklists submitted. 

Good thing I'm here to help.  Heh. 

I've been birding a ton since the month began, attempting to reach 100 species in the county in January while also exploring both old and new places. 

My patch, Meadowbrook Marsh, has continued to offer me motorless (and year) birds such as this pleasant Purple Finch blending in perfectly:

Intergrade flickers seem to be as common as pure flickers in these parts.

On that day I also had a Red-breasted Sapsucker at the park, which was the first one reported in the county in 2018.  When I noticed that is when I realized that this county is not as heavily birded as I had thought. 

One day Jacob an…

New year, new lists.

For New Year's Day, Jacob had the idea to drive up Larch Mountain (the Clark County one) to watch the first sunrise of the year.  Though we dipped on owls the sunrise more than made up for it.

The view we picked was perfect and well over 3000 feet in elevation.  First bird of the year?  Common Raven.

My new county ain't so bad.

I also decided to kickstart my new motorless list this week with a walk to Meadowbrook Marsh Park, aka my new patch.  It was a frosty grey morning but the birds were out in force.

Chilly Pac Wren

 Chilly towhee

Common birds were all showing up as they should and even some uncommon ones decided to make appearances.

Merlin!  Never reliable. 

Tundra Swans!  Biggest surprise of the day. 

The clouds got weird.

I walked to where I decided the westernmost side of the park is at NE Andresen Road and remembered that there was another pond to check.  I picked up Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Gadwall, and Great Egret here, plus Marsh Wren in the cattails next doo…

End of 2017 adventure.

Jacob and I had a grand plan for our days off together this week, a plan that involved driving east to track down a Snowy Owl and tons of other birds.  This was Plan A.  But icy weather in the gorge and all the way to Walla Walla made us reconsider and implement Plan B instead.  Plan B began with warmer and wet driving up to the Tacoma area to look for a Gyrfalcon.

It was exactly where it was supposed to be at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  Easy peasy.  We set off on our next quest in Seattle where a flock of Common Redpolls had been hanging out at Green Lake.  Again.  I had looked for these birds with Audrey back in February 2016 and dipped.  This time we got out of the car and walked the dogs over to the nearest birch trees and there they were.  Easy peasy.

Also, life bird!  Most likely my last lifer of 2017.  Views were not amazing but we were going to walk the dogs around and then return.  Before we could do anything a Bald Eagle showed up and tried to nab a coot. 

C'mere lil cooti…