This week's birds...

I tried to get out every morning this week to tire the dogs out and hopefully squeeze in some good birds.  At Broughton Beach were a couple American Pipits walking along the river with some Killdeer and crows.

I could rant and rant about the out of control off-leash dog that proceeded to chase off all of the nearby birds, but I'll spare you.   At Force Lake I was psyched to see the return of both Common and Hooded Mergansers...

Along the Frenchman's Bar Trail were some new additions also- Snow Geese!  The first ones I have seen this fall.  I was trying to sort of sneak up on the geese, or at least make it look like I wasn't planning on going near them, but they saw us coming...

Oops.  I walked away for a bit until the birds settled back down.

You can see a Greater White-fronted Goose in the mix also, along with oodles and oodles of Canada and Cackling Geese.

Yesterday my plan was to hit up Smith & Bybee Lakes, Force Lake, and maybe wander down to Mud Slough.  I did none of these things because I stopped at the Columbia Slough Trail and decided to do some exploring.  The trees just before the trail were filled with birds including Bushtits, Bewick's Wrens, chickadees, an Orange-crowned Warbler, Brown Creepers, and this finchy bird:

Its markings looked much more distinct than the House Finches I'm used to seeing, but perhaps that's all it is...  [Purple Finch, it is!]  Along the trail a gull and a Red-tailed Hawk were having a disagreement:

Bad photo.  They eventually headed off in different directions.  A couple of Spotted Sandpipers came flying up the slough and landed on a log down the embankment.

I came across some exposed mud with a bunch of yellowlegs and dowitchers...

I'm guessing these were mostly juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers, but I don't know for sure.

I should mention that this trail is an odd one.  I would call most of the areas surrounding it wastelands, filled with homeless camps and garbage.  But it's also kind of pretty...

I met one really nice homeless man riding his bike who immediately asked me if I was looking for birds.  When I said yes he suggested I cut through the golf course and check out Force Lake.  Then he told me about a trip he took to Alaska where he took hundreds of photos, and about this "old geezer" he saw once run up and touch a sleeping grizzly bear.  He said that's what old geezers do for fun in Alaska.  He said I should never ever play that game.

I ran into him a second time when I was almost back to my car.  He warned me not to go down this one hill where there were tons of homeless camps, and they were mostly druggies and would knock me upside the head to steal my camera.  Then he rode off.

Part of the trail runs alongside the back of Portland International Raceway.  In addition to races, they also host a holiday festival of lights thing every December.  I saw where they store the decorations...

Duh, with the old porta potties.  Good times!


  1. Love the Hooded Merganser photo; never seen one myself. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your finchy bird looks like a female purple finch to me. Nice one!

  3. Thanks Sarah, I was thinking Purple Finch but I never see them anywhere (which I realize sounds crazy) so I was doubting it...

  4. Another great post and birds. I agree with the female purple finch. I enjoy seeing the mergansers, the hooded is my favorite. The huge flock of geese is a cool sighting. I wish I had off work during the weekday mornings to do more birding. Great photos!

  5. Wow, that's a lot of birds! Great shot. Send those hoodeds my way. It's about time for them to show up in Florida.

  6. You sure are adventurous! As I have been travelling with dog in tow the last few days I've been thinking of you. It's tricky packing camera, binos, dog, and dog treats. I've been juggling dog time with bird time and trying to strike a balance. Maggie seems wore out though!

  7. YUK on the porta pottie storage with the candy canes...PUKE
    I think that fellow gave you some good advice about staying away from the camps...
    GREAT BIRDS..omg all those geese...holy cow!
    Never seen an American Pipit so that was really cool to see.
    Have a great week...
    OH and you are right GOOD thing I wasnt on a hill headed toward a lake..LOL


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