Posts

Showing posts from September, 2010

Ridgefield NWR 09-23-10

Image
I had an awesome trip up to Ridgefield yesterday afternoon, just as the rain was ending...

First off, there were a bunch of nutria babies!  Too cute...



Near the nutria were some Gadwalls swimming...


Next I stopped to look at some ducks farther away... I looked down and noticed a bittern right in front of me..


I was happy enough just watch him for a bit... but then he yanked a little rodent out of nowhere and ate it!  I had never seen a bittern eat anything so I was super excited....


He would shake the rodent then plunge it (squeaking!) into the water and then yank it out of the water and shake it some more.  I suppose he was drowning it as well as breaking its neck?


I don't know what I was expecting, but I was surprised to watch him swallow the rodent whole...



Note the tail hanging out of his mouth... ew!


And then it was gone!  I swear he burped after he swallowed it...

Shortly after watching the bittern I saw my first Sandhill Cranes of the season pass by overhead...


Then what I …

Swift Watch 2010.

Image
I finally made it over to Chapman School in NW Portland last night to see all the swifts!  Every year thousands of Vaux's Swifts use the chimney at the school for roosting and it is quite a sight to see....

I got there around 6:00 and there were already some swifts gathering overhead...  The sky was a bit ominous but we managed to not get rained on..


More and more swifts joined the others and flew in huge circles above the school...


It was really cool to watch... They eventually began to enter the chimney...




I am really curious how many were there.. Or even how the heck people are able to count them!


I'm so glad I finally got to see them!

Ridgefield NWR 09-18-10

Image
I actually went up to Ridgefield on Friday afternoon AND Saturday morning... Friday was pretty rainy and I didn't see much, so I decided to try again in the morning. 

The first thing I noticed was the Red-winged Blackbirds were back...

It's nice to have a bird you can count on to sit still.

The waxwings were still chowing down on berries... Blackberries this time.

Yummy.

I walked part of the Kiwa Trail and found some cooperative Bewick's Wrens...



Several Greater Yellowlegs were wading in the water...


In the fields were some Canada Geese and these Greater White-fronted Geese...



And that was about it for Ridgefield...

Ridgefield NWR 09-10-10

Image
I headed to Ridgefield yesterday afternoon with low expectations... Afternoons are always hit or miss with me.  Sometimes I end up with 20 pictures of blurry hawks and herons, and sometimes I find a ton of amazing birds.  Yesterday was somewhere in between. 

It was snack time for the Cedar Waxwings...


Some young ones were begging loudly...



A few little warblers shared the tree with the noisy waxwings...


Further up the road I found the bird I had been looking for... A Green Heron:


I wish he had been closer, but I take what I can get...



There were tons of nutria everywhere I looked so I almost overlooked this guy:

A muskrat!  I suppose it's not that exciting but I hadn't seen one at Ridgefield before...


There were quite a few Wood Ducks around... mostly youngins...



And lastly, a Great Blue Heron flew into a pond right in front me...


Not bad for a dreary grey afternoon!

Steens Mountain.

Image
My last morning in Southeastern Oregon I drove up Steens Mountain.. There are warnings in some guides and websites that you need a "high-clearance vehicle" to do the Steens Mountain Loop drive.  Though it's true you need one for the southern portion of the route, from Frenchglen to the summit is no worse than any other refuge gravel road. 


The beginning of the drive slowly gains elevation through open fields with hawks perched in almost every tree...

I assume this is just a Red-tailed Hawk, though I'm not familiar with this exact coloring/pattern. 




A kestrel perched on a rock...


A tree full of meadowlarks...  They're a bit hard to see without zooming in...



I have heard that Steens Mountain's summit is THE place to find Black Rosy-Finches in Oregon.  I did not find any, but I found this fella:


Cassin's Finch?


Here's a little White-crowned Sparrow with a berry in its mouth...


My first stop on the mountain was Kiger Gorge... It was absolutely beautiful…