Weekend birds.

I didn't have much success with the birds this weekend.  On Saturday I walked the dogs along the Frenchman's Bar Trail and was surprised to find this:

I thought it was a dead heron at first because its head and neck were tucked below the body.  I have trouble leaving dead stuff alone so I rolled it over with my foot (to the delight of my dogs) and discovered it was a Sandhill Crane.

It really bummed me out...  I couldn't figure out how it met its end.  Possibly hit by a car but that seems super weird.  Maybe a dumbass hunter shot it by accident and dumped it here.  Who knows.  I couldn't resist touching its beak- I popped it open and saw its tongue.

The park was tame bird-wise but a couple of Spotted Towhees were hopping around.

Sunday morning I headed down the valley to somewhere south of Corvallis to look for the Gyrfalcon that had been present for three days prior.  It was not there.  It was a disappointment, but I did get to gaze at an amazing display by a male Northern Harrier.  I found a website that suggests what I saw was a courtship display called skydancing.  It was mesmerizing and by the time I thought to take a photo it was over.

I tried to make the day better by stopping at Ankeny NWR on my way back north.  The Rail Trail was closed (flooding?) but I sat and watched some eagles by Pintail Marsh (I may have just made that name up).  There were five sitting in one tree, and a sixth in a nearby tree kept an eye on them. 

Three flew off together at one point and I got to see a split second of talon-locking!

I stopped at the viewing gazebo on Buena Vista Rd and was happy to find a Black Phoebe flycatching with the Yellow-rumped Warblers.  The first time I've seen one there.

This gnarly fella was hanging out there too:

 I got back to Portland just in time for a hail storm followed by snow.  This morning when I woke up there was a nice dusting of snow too.  WTF.  This afternoon I dragged my non-birding friend up to Mt Tabor, assuring him that the weatherman said it would be dry all day.  The weatherman was seriously misguided.

This Anna's Hummingbird did not approve of the wintry mix coming down...

We found a nice big flock of Varied Thrushes- at least twenty birds.  It was awesome.

A handsome Red-tailed Hawk flew right over our heads and landed in a tree in front of us.

This Steller's Jay was pissed about the rain/snow too:

Ah well, it was fun despite the weather.  Birding with non-birders is pretty funny- they always get real excited to point out birds to me (as they should).  Good times!


  1. FANTASTIC pictures -well except for the dead bird, that bummed me out... You should check out my facebook page to see some of my pics..I would appreciate your feedback on them. Adelaide McMillan.

  2. Pretty rich birding. Weird about the Sandhill Crane, but hey if that was the sacrifice the birding gods demanded for 6 eagles and displaying Harriers...

    At any rate I think I might have nightmares about that beaver thing. Those teeth are crazy orange, like he's been gnawing down nothing but cheetoh trees for 467 years.

  3. I saw that skydancing show last fall at Steigerwald with a group and we were completely mesmerized. Like a buoyant roller coaster....I forget if there were vocalizations too. I'd never seen anything like it - truly impressive.

  4. Cool collection of birds and photos, Jen! The eagles with the talons locking is great and I love the YRW, Varied Thrush and the pretty hummer. Happy Birding!

  5. Wow, what variety! I love that sad portrait of the Anna's Hummingbird. The weather here has also been strange and unpredictable... more fog today.

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  7. So sad about the crane, Jen! Neat finds with the Black Phoebe and the Varied Thrush. You saw a lot more at Tabor than I did my last trip! Good stuff!

  8. Great pics Jen. Got to get out to Oregon someday for some great birding.

  9. Hi there - what a strange bird to find dead - although I suppose even the most exotic birds have to die somewhere!

    And a great set of other bird pictures as well.

    Stewart M - Australia


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