Yesterday I decided to wake up at a ridiculous hour and drive up to Mount St. Helens to do my first proper hike on the mountain. Well. I had actually planned a short improper hike for flowers, but it turned proper when I ended up at the top of Harry's Ridge, four miles from the Johnston Ridge parking lot.
My first stop was one of many viewpoints on the road to Johnston Ridge.
Varied Thrushes were calling, bats were swooping out of the sky, and a creature unseen was rustling around in the bushes. Perfect.
I began my hike on the Boundary Trail at 5:30 a.m. in the company of nighthawks and Willow Flycatchers.
The flowers were spectacular as I had hoped, though this was definitely a case of quantity over diversity.
Around 6:30 I heard a coyote give a quick howl and a bark so I stopped to scan for it. I never located the source, but he or she erupted in full blown howls with coyotes in several directions responding. It was lovely.
The coyotes quit howling after awhile and I began…
As you may have heard, a Common Scoterwas found last weekend on the Oregon coast, a mere 2.5 hours from Portland. Thanks to text alerts from Steve I was aware of this bird immediately, giving me extra time to build anxious excitement for the next few days while stuck at work. I left early yesterday morning, joined at the last minute by my fellow bird nerd friend Eric, and made it to Siletz Bay by about 8:30. It was fairly dark and raining and cold, but the bird was there. Sleeping. Way out there.
Black Scoter, Western Grebe, Common Scoter, more grebes
This was not ideal. What was ideal was the little gazebo that was keeping us dry, so we stood around for about an hour hoping the dude would wake up. This happened once for a second, then again for about three seconds. Just long enough to see the bill through the scope. While we waited we listened to a couple of women discussing what I think were their respective big years- one woman had traveled there from Ohio, and an…