Monday, January 24, 2011

Columbia River.

This afternoon was sooooo gorgeous out I just had to take the dogs for a long walk... I figured the path along Marine Drive would do just fine for that.  Turned out to be another good bird day too!

I saw my first Red-throated Loon!


I love its speckled back...


Cool bird.  I couldn't help scanning the scaup rafts in hopes of finding the Tufted Duck... Lucky for me, one of those big Tidewater barge things came through and sent most of them really close to shore.  I didn't find the Tufted but I did find the Tufted hybrid!


I was pretty happy to have found him even though I didn't find the "real" Tufted...


I love a good hybrid.  Lastly, perched on a telephone pole near the Sea Scout Base was a Bald Eagle, possibly a 2nd year?


Good birds!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Morning bird action.

I wanted to spend the morning doing some local-ish birding so I headed to Harrington Road first.  It exceeded all of my expectations!

The first thing I found were some Acorn Woodpeckers mixed in with a flock of blackbirds... I lost them in the sea of birds, but quickly relocated them on a telephone pole.  There were 3 total.


Also near the woodpeckers were a couple of Eurasian Collared-Doves!  A first for me...


After half an hour of driving around the area I decided to take one last drive down the gravel part of Harrington Road... And that's where I found the Prairie Falcon!


Woohoo!  I was so thrilled to finally see him (her?)...


After my victory there I figured I would stop by Vanport before heading home... I am still a bit traumatized from my coyote encounter there so I was worried about walking the dogs down there again.  But when I arrived I saw the road from the golf course to PIR was actually open so I just drove in and parked on the gravel.  I checked the slough first and found just Mallards and one male Common Merganser.  Then I turned around....


Woohoo again!  I knew there was a Great Horned Owl nest somewhere but didn't know how I'd ever find it... Ha.

I walked the dogs down the road and easily found the Canvasbacks in the slough. 


Not bad for just a couple hours of birding this morning!

Ocean Shores, WA.

I decided to head to the beach again this weekend in hopes of new birds and much better weather than last week... I was a bit disappointed bird-wise, but the dogs had a lot of fun and definitely slept well last night!

My first stop was the beach behind the Quinault casino...  Sanderlings were flocking to one part of the beach...


Once we were quite a distance away from them I threw a stick for Jake for a bit...



Ralph is definitely not ready for freedom... So he just watched.  Our next stop was Damon Point where the waves are pretty crazy.  This Pelagic Cormorant didn't seem to mind them:


Most of the shorebirds I saw were more Sanderlings...


I did find one Dunlin wandering around a little pond....



In the ocean were loons.  LOTS of loons.  Also some Surf and White-winged Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers, and gulls, but mostly loons.

I think they were all Common Loons...



Red-breasted Merganser

My next stop was the North Jetty... I didn't see the expected birds, but there were some Killdeer in the grass:


On our way home I drove the Brady Loop off Highway 12.  It wasn't super birdy but I did see a field of swans, mostly Trumpeter!



While I was looking at the swans, a Peregrine Falcon flew overhead and swooped down into another field upsetting a bunch of other birds... Never saw where it went after that, but it brought my January species total to 84!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ridgefield NWR 01-20-11

I had a mighty fine morning at Ridgefield yesterday.. It was cold but dry and there were quite a few birds out, some that I had not seen yet this year...

Red-winged Blackbird (female)

                           Great Blue Heron


Golden-crowned Kinglet


White-breasted Nuthatch


Song Sparrow


American Bittern

It was a very typical trip to Ridgefield with quite a few eagles, hawks, harriers also..  After that trip my January total was brought up to 80 birds!   Hopefully I can add to that this weekend!
 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Newport, etc.

I took a trip to the coast this weekend despite the forecast: 100% chance of rain.   It seriously poured the entire time I was there except briefly Saturday morning where it was just light rain.  I still managed to see some good birds though!

During the brief spell of light rain I walked the HMSC Nature Trail... My favorite bird of the trip was one of the first birds I saw... I've seen lots of Surf Scoters but never has one seemed so interested in me:




From the little covered picnic table I watched some Brant and pintails...



I visited the South Jetty several times over the weekend... Lots of good birds there!  These are from both Saturday and Sunday...


Western Meadowlark

 Common Loon

Red-breasted Mergansers, Surf Scoter

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

Red-breasted Mergansers (female)

 Surf Scoter (female)

Harlequin Ducks!

Of course there were tons of gulls around... I suppose I'll attempt at least a couple of ID's.... Lemme know if you disagree with any!

California Gull

 Glaucous-winged Gull

 Western Gull

 This last one is from the HMSC parking lot.. I thought Herring Gull because of the light eye but the black on the beak doesn't fit and it's not very streaky on the neck... Any thoughts?



 Back to the jetty, there was a lone Sanderling poking around in the gull lot.


I saw him both days, never with any friends. 

And lastly, no trip to the coast is complete without some adorable seal faces....



That was it for Newport..  I stopped at the Boiler Bay wayside Sunday morning to check out the amazing waves...


Taking cover under a picnic table were some Black Turnstones.   It was kinda dark and had to use the flash...




On Saturday I stopped by the little pullout just north of Schooner Creek in Lincoln City.  There were a handful of White-winged Scoters swimming below.


These were the last of the birds from my rainy weekend... It feels so good to not be wearing soaking wet jeans!  The good news is that the rain/wind combo somehow made the dogs super fluffy!  I can't stop petting them because they're soo soft now.   Best grooming job ever.

Oh, and this trip brings my January bird total to 75... Woohoo!  I didn't really have a goal for the month, but it would awesome to hit 100.  Fingers crossed!