Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ridgefield, Fernhill Wetlands

I went up to Ridgefield the other morning to see what was going on.  Nothing new really, besides even more goose babies.  Here the mom or the dad had just chased off another goose and was really pumped...



I saw two pairs of Redheads that morning.


I saw a Lincoln's Sparrow get chased by a Yellow-rumped Warbler.  I don't think I had ever seen a Lincoln's there before.


I had a Myrtle Warbler pose nicely for me...


I never get sick of Cinnamon Teals...


I saw two more sets of goslings that morning...


A Yellow-headed Blackbird actually let me get some decent photos...


That was about it for Ridgefield.  This morning I went over to Fernhill Wetlands for a few hours...  The resident domestic ducks were a bit frisky (the white one in particular).


There were swallows everywhere... Peeking out of nest boxes...


Bringing home new furnishings...


Discussing how to get the new furnishings inside the house...


I was hoping for a better variety of warblers, but I only saw Yellow-rumped, yellowthroats, and a single Orange-crowned.  There were also lots of goose babies.


That was about it for photos... Good times!  And tomorrow is Birdathon!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Those crazy coots...

I went over to Vanport yesterday morning hoping to see the Vermilion Flycatcher that was seen the day before... No luck there so I walked over to Force Lake.  From a distance things seemed pretty calm but right as I walked up two American Coots began a 3-minute long battle royale... It was intense!

At first they just seemed to be dancing...



Then things got fierce.  They were each trying to put their feet on the other's belly to push them down...


A third coot came in at one point mostly just yelling at them...



The third coot retreated to a branch nearby to yell some more.  A pair of Mallards came by to watch for a bit...


I thought this fight was never going to end.  Every time it seemed to slow down it started up again...


At times they were both underwater...


I seriously took about 200 photos of this spectacle... It was so crazy to watch.


Eventually a fourth coot joined the fuss and the third coot returned to yell some more.


The fourth coot is the one on the left in the photo above and below..  He or she jumped in and took care of business...


Soon after his or her arrival, the melee was dispersed and one coot went off to the left, one to the right, and two went off together.  I guess things were settled.  For awhile I thought the coots may have been mating but searching around online taught me it was most likely two males having a territorial dispute.  It just goes to show me that even if I don't find the bird I'm looking for I might just see something crazy anyway!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yard birds.

This morning I went out to check on the progress of the chickadees.  It seems they've done a dandy job excavating and hopefully will be moving in soon, if they haven't already. 


I haven't seen the chickadees near the nest today but they were at the feeders, along with a couple other cool birds:  My White-crowned Sparrow returned today!


Also out there was the first Yellow-rumped Warbler my yard has seen this year... An Audubon's (how appropriate on his birthday).
 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chickadee Nest Excavation

A couple of hours ago I noticed a Black-capped Chickadee digging into the tree directly in front of my kitchen window. 


There are two chickadees out there and they appear to be taking turns excavating. 


I have read in Sibley's and online that the male and female will both work to excavate the nest cavity but then the female actually builds the nest.  It can take up to two weeks to complete.  I haven't noticed these guys working here before so they may have just begun. 


Looks like a lot of work!  I hope they don't change their minds and move to another tree.  It would be awesome to watch this family grow!

Weekend Birds...

It's pouring rain now but this weekend was pretty nice... I hit up a few spots to check out the birds.  Saturday morning I wandered around the Force Lake/Vanport Wetlands area.  At the lake the Redhead pair were out and about:


All of the nest boxes around the area seemed to be occupied.  I saw some Tree Swallows flying in and out of one right on the lake.


I tried for a decent photo of a Rufous Hummingbird, but failed...


Oh well!  There were some turtles catching some rays on a branch...


I had the urge to ID these guys and found a great Oregon Turtle website.  The turtle on the left is a native western painted turtle but the other two are non-native red-eared sliders.  Interesting!

On my walk along the road to Vanport I stopped to look at a bug on a dandelion...


It appears to be a spotted cucumber beetle.  Cute.

On my walk I met a fellow birder named Bruce who informed me his wife, Christie, had been the one to create the Friends of Force Lake group. I was unable to make it to their recent clean-up at the lake but they did an amazing job!  They are removing the invasive Himalayan blackberry bushes and putting up wire guards around the trees to protect them from the beavers.  They also cleaned up tons of trash and are working to repair the stone walls at the parking areas.  If you live in the Portland area and are on Facebook I highly recommend "liking" the group!

At Vanport I walked along the fenceline hoping to see one of the Yellow-headed Blackbirds I was hearing.  I was in luck!


I was amazed at how close he was to the fence, especially since half a dozen dogs were splashing around in the puddle in front of the fence (it's an off-leash dog park).  Also in the wetlands were Ruddy Ducks!


That was a great morning and probably the warmest one we've had yet!  On Sunday I headed up to Woodland Bottoms to look for shorebirds.  There was a big flock of gulls way out in one of the flooded fields... I realized they were mostly Caspian Terns though quite a few other gulls were mixed in.



The only shorebirds I could find were pretty far away.. The Black-bellied Plovers stood out the most.


There were some little peeps near the plovers that I could barely see, let alone identify.  It started to rain so I headed down to Ridgefield for a drive around the auto route.


I saw all the usual suspects... More Barn Swallows than my last visit.  More Yellow-headed Blackbirds.  Common Yellowthroats...


Lots of American Bitterns in wonderful camouflage...


 That was about it...  As Kris posted in a comment on my last posting, people have been soooo inconsiderate of the owlets at Ridgefield.  I don't even stop to look at them now because I feel they are being harassed enough by photographers.  Yesterday while I was looking at the bittern in the water between markers 10 and 11 I could see across to cars parked at the owl nest.  They must have sat there for at least 15 minutes which seems like WAY too long to be that close to a nest.  I really hope the owls make their nest farther away next time....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cooper Mountain Nature Park.

I visited Cooper Mountain today for the first time and boy is my spring fever back!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I made sure the dogs got tired out at work in the morning (one of the many benefits of working at a doggie daycare) so I had my whole afternoon free to look for birds...

From the parking area at the top of the trails is a stunning view of the Tualatin River Valley...


I think I managed to check out all of the trails during my three and a half hours (!) at the park.  The first fifteen minutes or so of walking was nearly bird-free but luckily that changed. White-crowned Sparrows were the first birds I noticed in numbers...


Ruby-crowned Kinglets were by far the most common bird of the day.


I found a pair of beautiful Western Bluebirds flying around a field near the main trail. 



So pretty!  Also pretty were all the little butterfly type things flitting about... Most would not stay still for a photo but this little fella did:


Learning more about butterflies is on my long list of things to do... On the Larkspur Loop trail I was startled to find a Cooper's Hawk perched right next to me. 


I had seen both a juvenile Cooper's and an adult fly overhead earlier on my walk so it was nice to have one actually pose for the camera.


I saw a couple Hermit Thrushes throughout the park...


At the Prairie Overlook I finally found an interesting warbler... My first of the year Black-throated Gray!


Woohoo!  Good birds!  Oh and there were some flowers too... yet another thing I'd like to learn more about... For now I'll just call them pretty: