Eagle Creek & Whitaker Ponds

I've been using eBird a lot lately- still trying get all my old bird lists entered, but also exploring the rest of the site.  I signed up for daily alerts informing me what birds I have not yet seen this year in my county that others have seen (the alerts include when and where the birds were seen).  I don't county list or anything like that but I do like the inspiration to bird closer to home.  So yesterday I headed out to Eagle Creek to look for American Dippers. 

Success!  I found two along the creek.  I walked the dogs around for awhile, checking out the area.  A couple of Common Mergansers came swimming by at one point...

In a tree near the restrooms were three Red-breasted Sapsuckers, rather close together.

I've never seen three in one tree.  There was also a chipmunk in the area, which kept the dogs entertained...

We walked over to the nearby fish hatchery and watched a crow snatch a little fishy thing out of one of the ponds.  The netting above the ponds seemed to frustrate him as he made many attempts to fly away.  I was worried for a second, but he finally squeezed through a spot and flew off with his prize.

Nearby at the mouth of the creek is Eagle Creek Overlook.  There's a trail that leads to the top of a hill with views of the Columbia River and the Bonneville Dam.

There were lots of birds at the top including at Pileated Woodpecker.  I forced the dogs to pose on one of the stone walls along the trail.

This morning I rode my bike out to Whitaker Ponds in hopes of adding some birds to my motorless list.  Failed on that account, but saw lots of great birds anyhow.  First off, ducks in trees!

Not just Wood Ducks either- there was a Mallard up in a tree too..

I find ducks in trees pretty amusing.  I startled a couple of Hooded Mergansers out of a drainage pipe, and they seemed to swim away into the, uh, sunrise...

The best part of my visit to the park was finally finding the owl nest.  I spotted two lumps in trees from across the pond and realized they were two owlets!  I made my way over to the area and found those two owlets, plus mom on the nest with a third owlet.  Score.

This owl appears to be the oldest of the three:

This next one is probably the middle child:

So awesome!!  Good times!


  1. Super cool! Good to hear you didn't dip on the Dipper. It seems quite amazing to have 3 Sapsuckers all sapsuckin' right next to each other. They may have been polymerizing into a Three Toed Woodpecker--pretty sure that's how science works.

    Are you so skilled as a birder that you can age owlets just by expressions!? Pretty cool. The oldest one, looking tall and confident, and the sniveling middle owlet looking eager to please but bereft of attention.

    Awesome post. You shouldn't have, but thanks.

  2. Although I ended up with a bad experience over at ebird they didnt chase me away IM Still using it..
    AWESOME that you found your dipper...I've never been able to get a shot of one they can run so fast amazing!! AND the 3 sapsucker shot is a goodie for sure, and like you I wonder how ducks grasp a limb well enough with their webbed feet----
    and you getting everything in 3's now OWLETS so cute I WANT one although I think he would scratch my eyes out if given a chance---your doggies look very cool on the rock wall...

    1. I'm sorry eBird is being a jerk to you! I am fortunate in that all my birding has been in the last few years making it much easier to verify rare stuff..

  3. Those Dippers are so neat to see. Jake? (blond) doesn't look amused with your posing him. His ears look pulled back and he looks annoyed. Ha ha!

    1. Jake was soo not pleased with this situation- Ralph kind of sat down on top of him.

  4. Aww the owlets are growing up fast! Great shots of them!

  5. Lots of waterfowl in trees here, too. Canada Geese, if you can believe it. I'm envious of the photo of the male Common Merg-- I never seem to be able to get the balance between the dark head and white flank right.

  6. I took my sister and nephews out to Eagle Creek a few Octobers ago and it was right in the middle of salmon spawning so the creek was full up with fish and the dippers were going crazy over fish eggs. I'd never been there before so it was a real treat for all of us. I just love dippers and know I'm in a pretty great place when one is around. I just wish I could hear their pretty song more clearly but it's always obscured by fast rushing water! Thanks for the great photos, as ever.

  7. Wow! Amazing spotting and very nice photos! The owls are incredible! Good work, Jen!

  8. Wow, Jen! Cool sighting of the owlets. I love the owls photos and all the birds your saw. What a great collection of birds, from the Dipper to the Wood duck to the mergansers and the owls. And I love the dogs too. A great birding day! HAPPY Birding!


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