Showing posts from February, 2012

Recent birds.

I managed to get out a lot the last few days, not always looking for birds necessarily, but birds are pretty much inevitable, aren't they?  On Sunday my friend and I headed to the gorge to wander around the waterfalls.  They never get old.

Multnomah Falls

Didn't see a lot of birds around, but there were some Chestnut-backed Chickadees lingering around the snack shop at Multnomah Falls.

It's such a pretty area to explore- I wish we hadn't run out of daylight...

Monday morning was cold but sunny and I headed up to Ridgefield.  Some of the geese had frosty backs...

Despite the chill, there were some mighty fine signs that the seasons are changing...  Tree Swallows (and even a couple Violet-greens) are starting to take over.  And the bird I was most surprised to see:

A yellowlegs!  The usual eagles and hawks were around as well...

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Another thing I was psyched about was the Great Horned Owl sitting on her nest...

Can't wait for owlets...   Yesterda…

Yard birds/ Scappoose Bottoms

Things have been tense in the yard this weekend.  The scrub-jays have been fighting.  The crows have been fighting.  And the starlings?  They want to murder each other.  It's made for some good couch birding.

The starling fights usually start off like this:

Then the two birds start fighting in the air until either one breaks away, or they both land on the ground and continue their disagreement.  The latter has happened at least four times this weekend. 

Intense stuff, but all the birds seemed to fly away completely fine.  Yesterday before the starling fights started a crow came by and made me laugh...

Crow fail.

Today the scrub-jays came by for their peanut fix.  One bird decided to just hide the peanuts all around the yard including in this Fred Meyer bag:

Anyway, enough of the yard stuff.  I went up to Scappoose Bottoms yesterday afternoon to see if the Rough-legged Hawks were still around.  I found one perched on a fence post pretty far away, but as some crazy winds picked up he…

Steigerwald Lake NWR

Yesterday afternoon after work I managed to muster up some motivation and headed out to Steigerwald NWR near Washougal.  This was my second attempt to visit after last Friday's (or was it the Friday before?) failure- big winds, rain, and cold all encouraged me to throw in the towel after about fifteen minutes.  This time it was cloudy, with the rain holding off until my walk back to the car.

See that deer?  We stared at each other for a little bit before he (or she) started walking towards me.  I had that fleeting moment of panic that it was going to pounce on me, but came to my senses and figured it just wanted to cross the path I was on.  I stopped and waited and sure enough he ran right in front of me and up the hill to my right. 

The first birds I noticed at the refuge were swallows- lots of them!  My first for the year.  I forgot how freakin loud they are. 

Tree Swallow

 I really should visit this area more often- it's pretty rad.

Along the trail I watched a kestrel catc…


I honestly never thought I'd be the kind of person to get excited over a freakin sparrow.  The fact that I do get psyched on sparrows is still bizarre to me, but whatever, here we are.  I spent the morning looking for the Harris's Sparrow on Sauvie Island- never found it but was actually pretty happy with all the other sparrows around...

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

 White-throated Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

 Lincoln's Sparrow

And these were just the five species I managed to photograph- there were also Song Sparrows, a Fox Sparrow, towhees and juncos... Nine sparrow species, not too shabby.

On the drive to the beach to walk the dogs I stopped to look at a flock of singing Western Meadowlarks.

That was about it..  Good times!

Ridgefield NWR.

It was a pretty typical day at the refuge yesterday- grey and a little rainy, but birdy and entertaining. And there were even some signs of spring...

It was a good day for wrens...

Bewick's Wren

Marsh Wren

Can't go wrong with Sandhill Cranes, especially when practicing kung fu.

I was watching a Peregrine at one point and looked down and found a bittern about six feet in front of me.  I think I actually jumped.

Always lots of harriers around..

One thing that really stood out at the refuge was the complete lack of Tundra Swans.  I saw a few pairs fly overhead and that was it.  Spring is coming, yes?  On the last leg of the route I came across a coyote hunting and was psyched to get some close-up looks (especially after drooling over Michele's recent photos over at Nature Nut Notes!). 

I do wonder sometimes if people who don't have dogs really appreciate coyotes as much as the rest of us... There's just something about watching a wild animal do all the exact same thing…