Fernhill Wetlands.

So the problem with me joining the Portland bird group on google is that now I get all this info about interesting birds, and then I feel the need to go find them.  This afternoon when I got off work I just had to take Jake to Fernhill to look for the Pacific Loon, the Red-breasted Merganser, and the Mew Gulls.

The sky was a bit ominous when we arrived but it did not rain a single drop!

The Pacific Loon was actually pretty easy for me to find...

Apparently it's a juvenile, with the white scaling on its back.

Quite a handsome fella!  (or pretty lady?)

 I also found what I think is a Lesser Goldfinch but I am having trouble figuring it out...

All the American Goldfinches around him were so much duller that it must be a Lesser, right?

I took a few random gull photos but most of the gulls were too far away for me to even try to ID...

I would love to call this a Mew Gull with the yellow legs, dark iris, faint ring on the bill, and the brown around the neck...

Hmm.  The big white spots on the wings would also indicate Mew Gull.  I am thinking that's what it is.

One last photo from the afternoon... This kestrel looked so freaking adorable all fluffed up like a stuffed penguin:

Good trip!


  1. Whoa, that heron shot is epic. Definitely a MEGU.

  2. Wonderful photos. It is easy to get drawn in to chasing isn't it?

  3. I was going to head over there yesterday too, but i live on the east side and the drive over and back is just killer in the afternoon. I hope it stays around.

    Looks like a Mew gull to me -- i'll have to take your word on the yellow legs. Only other yellow legged, dark eyed gull is the California and this bird's roundish head and bill are much smaller than what i think would present on the California.

    I also agree with the Lesser Goldfinch -- probably a juvenile male from the black feathers in the crown. An adult would be all black head. Also you can see the white in the primaries just below the primary coverts. And the belly is yellow through-out. But hey -- i'm no expert....

    On gulls -- i left information in your Westmoreland post -- but i'll repeat it here just in case you don't get back there: the Portland Audubon Soc. is having Harry Nehls give a class on PNW gull identification and distribution. In case you're interested.

    I find gulls to be fun but frustrating and i usually leave them for last and then only go after the adults. Someone recently sent me a great one page synopsis that i carry into the field with me. You can find a copy of that here:


  4. Lovely pictures as always. Mew Gulls have a round pigeon-like head, tiny bill, and large white mirrors on the outer primaries. Don't be afraid of gulls, they just need a little time to become familiar. On the goldfinches, it seems to me that American Goldfinches have a warm golden brown color, while Lessers have a cold greenish cast. I know warm and cold are totally subjective, but it works for me.

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  6. I'll second the color difference for lesser vs. American Goldfinch. It's a nice diagnostic because it works in any stage of molt, regardless of confusing patterns. I would call the bird in your photo an American, it has a subtle black forehead cap, and the colors look warm enough, although that could just be the lighting or computer monitor.


  7. The first photo with the GBHE is simply a good photo - atmospheric, wonderful composure.

  8. Nice job Jen! I wish I lived close enough to Fernhill that I could make a trip out there on the week days. Nice Great Blue image!


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