Sunday, November 29, 2009

the coast.

yesterday i drove out to the coast with jake to check out cape meares and look for birds.   i walked jake along the bayocean spit and saw some buffleheads as well as some hunters.  it was pretty.

next we headed to the cape meares scenic viewpoint to check out the wildlife refuge (ie the rocks in the water).

it turned out to be a pretty nice day..  without binoculars it was hard to see the birds on the further rock..

signs suggest there are a variety of cormorants, pigeon guillemots, common murres, and puffins... i'm not quite sure what i can see in this photo...

next we stopped at a little wildlife area i had visited once before.. i forget the name, but there is this big watefall and a rocky beach...
a rocky ledge with some gulls..

an oystercatcher.

a dead pelican..

next i drove further down the road towards netarts and came across a couple of mule deer:

they didn't seem to mind me taking pictures or even jake barking like crazy... another car came up behind me and they wandered out of the road up a hill, then stopped to watch me and jake barking.  usually jake scares deer off if i don't so it was interesting that they stayed close by.

as i kept driving i caught sight of the water again, with all these birds:
brown pelicans!  though most aren't showing much brown at all now that it's almost winter..  it took a few wrong turns but i figured out how to get down to this beach in netarts.

jake sat so patiently while i took a hundred pictures of them...
look at that wingspan!  my bird book says it's about 6 1/2 feet!
so great to watch!

finally i let jake tear around the beach...
he was happy.
on the way back to the car i snapped another quick one of the pelicans:

we kept driving towards cape lookout...

a crow..

at cape lookout i don't recall seeing any birds... i didn't have time to do any of the hikes so i just took jake down to the beach for a bit.
he was freaked out by this foam.  what you can't tell in the picture is that it is slowly moving towards him.

that was it for the coast.. a great trip overall!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

nisqually nwr

yesterday i decided to head up to the nisqually national wildlife refuge just north of olympia, washington.   i got distracted for a bit near the cowlitz river... a tree full of chickadees was fun to watch...

i finally arrived at the refuge,  and i was really afraid it was going to be terrible because it was practically on the highway and there were a million people milling around.. i made my way up the first trail i came across.. and this guy popped up about 30 feet in front of me to cross a main trail:

i don't remember ever being this close to a coyote outside of my car... that was pretty cool.

the gravel trail winds around a corner past two old barns (the twin barns) and the landscape opens up.  i spotted this guy close to the barns:

a third year bald eagle!

further up the trail a mother and her son (maybe 12 years old) were setting up a scope and camera.. the boy was scanning for maybe 30 seconds when he found this scene:
towards the right is a great blue heron and to the left sitting up on some moss is an owl!  even the mom was like "how the heck did you find that??"   here's another zoomed-in picture:

so cool.  probably a short-eared owl! (thanks, laura!)

i was leaning on a fence taking pictures until a little kid ran up and jumped on the fence and yelled "spider!" i looked down and they were everywhere! oops.

looks like some brown-headed cowbirds.

a red-tailed hawk.  there were a few of these guys flying around- unfortunately it was pretty far away and my pictures are mostly blurry....
red-tailed hawk in the tree, and a northern harrier in flight.

oh and of course there were a bunch of canada geese...

a spotted towhee...

i believe this is the same eagle i had photographed earlier...

this one is super blurry (it was only 3:00 but the clouds made it seem like twilight) but you can see the head markings pretty well...

 i loved my visit to this place despite the masses of people and children running and yelling (thanks for scaring off the river otter, kids, thanks a lot).   i took tons more pictures of just scenery- the clouds and sun were just perfect that day.

thanks to nicole for the recommendation!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ankeny nwr

this morning i headed down to the ankeny national wildlife refuge just south of salem.  it turned out to be a great time despite a couple downpours and some crazy wind.

right away i spotted this guy:
a peregrine falcon!

then i pulled off the road to check out the "rail trail" which is an extremely slippery wooden bridge-type walkway over some wetlands to a viewing blind.  it was like walking on ice, and the rain that started falling did not help.

i managed a picture of a spotted towhee:

looks like a winter wren to me!

and then there was this guy....

i watched him from the car for a long time- he was right in front of the walkway i had JUST been on... the whole time i was watching, jake was whining like he wanted to go play with him.  right.  ok one more picture of this fat cutie....

next i took the much shorter slippery wooden walkway to the viewing blind at pintail and egret marshes... rain started to dump on me and the wind really picked up causing the shutters on the blind swing open and shut... it was kind of creepy and i could not see much through the rain...

a bufflehead duck.

up the road a bit was this guy:
an american kestrel!

love 'em or hate 'em, giant flocks of starlings are cool to watch...

this guy was watching those starlings... i am not sure if it's another peregrine falcon or something else.

yeah, this woulda been a great picture of a belted kingfisher... but then it dove.

and lastly, some tundra swans just outside of the wildlife refuge.....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

tualatin river nwr

i spent some time at the tualatin river national wildlife refuge this afternoon.. what a great place!  i don't think i've ever seen so many birds in one place.  i started with the overlook by the refuge headquarters..

mostly canada geese and ducks and that one white and grey goose... i'm not actually sure what it is- snow goose?  here's a zoomed in pic:
wish i knew what it was...

a bunch of canada geese.

damn that's a lot of birds.

here are a billion ducks. mostly northern pintails but at least one mallard in there...

flying geese.

a dark-eyed junco:

luckily a nice fellow pointed out this western screech owl to me!  wow!  i never would have noticed the little guy... he said he's been hanging out there for a few weeks now.

and that was pretty much all i saw... well, i saw an eagle but it swooped down and out of sight before i could get a good picture.