Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I am loving the dike trail in Troutdale lately- the habitat is just a continuation of the Sandy River Delta, with just as many rad birds yet fewer people.  Perfect.  Yesterday morning I spent two hours exploring the area with the dogs.

The most abundant, or at least the most vocal birds were Willow Flycatchers.  I think this is one of 'em:

I was psyched to finally find a Western Kingbird in the area after missing them on my last million visits...

While I was out there my camera's auto focus started going phooey.  It acts like it's trying to focus but ends up vibrating like crazy and making odd noises.  The weird thing is that this happened last time I was out there too.  It's right next to lots of power lines and a substation- could this affect my focus?  Seems like a long shot but curious if others have had this problem.  It's never happened to me anywhere else, ever.

House Wren

I finally (finally!) found my first Rufous Hummingbird of the year.

Lady time:

 Black-headed Grosbeak

Brown-headed Cowbird

Four Turkey Vultures came soaring in at one point...

A Red-tailed Hawk came through at the same time but was promptly attacked by a crow.  One of the vultures also got attacked, though I think it was by a Cooper's Hawk..

It's interesting how the hawk looks like it has a strong dark/light pattern on the wings but I think it's just the sun coming through the outer feathers.  Other photos show it to be more obviously a Cooper's. 

One of my favorite sightings of the morning was a pair of Blue-winged Teals:

My first Oregon ones.  One last flycatcher for ya:

Western Wood-Pewee, I believe...  Other birds around included (finally) a couple Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Bullock's Orioles, Western Tanagers, a Lazuli Bunting, Common Yellowthroats, and other expected stuff.  Good times!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shillapoo & Ridgefield.

I spent a lot of time in Washington this weekend.  Yesterday I decided to explore the Shillapoo Wildlife Area in Vancouver because although I've birded all around it, I had never actually been there.  There are three different sections and I spent my time at the Vancouver Lake unit.  I highly recommend checking it out if you need somewhere new to visit.

A drive down the entrance road produced oodles of goldfinches, Lazuli Buntings, Savannah Sparrows, and a couple of Anna's Hummingbirds chasing each other around.  In the main parking lot a couple of Violet-green Swallows were perched on the fence wire.

I walked the dogs up the gravel road to the next parking area and found a little haven of birds.  It started with this female Black-headed Grosbeak (that I briefly turned into a Varied Thrush):

She flew up to a nearby tree and soon I became aware of the amazing variety of birds in the trees- a pair of Bullock's Orioles defended one treetop, a couple of Townsend's Warblers poked around, a White-breasted Nuthatch zipped right towards my head, a Warbling Vireo sang from a branch, and a Western Tanager peeked through the leaves at me...

Bullock's Oriole

 I found a nice flycatcher too!  Check out this guy:

It's so yellowy it HAS to be a Pacific-slope, right???  Please don't crush my dreams.

The trail was flooded in parts but my boots were able to handle most of it.  We turned around when it got too deep...

See that heron?  Yeah.  He made for a nice distraction while Jake rolled in a big puddle of his poop.

Yum.  I made Jake wade out into the flood so I could rinse it off.  Not sure the smell is any better. 

On the way out of the park I stopped to take a picture of another flycatcher that I am pretty sure is a Western Wood-Pewee.

That was about it for Shillapoo (aka Rollinapoo).  Pretty awesome area, look forward to checking out the other units.

This morning I met up with some other (gasp!) birders to walk the Kiwa Trail at Ridgefield for the first time this year.  You should check out Michele's blog post from our walk too.  We were greeted immediately by a singing Black-headed Grosbeak and this very well camouflaged frog:

We watched a very cooperative pair of Violet-green Swallows perch and then chase each other around.  Funny because I rarely see perched V-G's yet here I am with a blog post full of 'em.

I was psyched to see a Blue-winged Teal from the trail...

He was not psyched to see me. 

While scanning for a mystery raptor flying in the trees, Laura spotted a snoozing owl:

I'm pretty sure this is another pewee:

After the trail we drove through the rest of the refuge.  A lot of birds were preening along the water like this shoveler and blackbird...

And lastly, a little Marsh Wren kept things real in the grass...

It was a fun morning trip!  Thanks to Michele, Laura, and Robin for the good times!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rain. Sun. Thunder.

Yep, it must be spring.  Our weather is all over the place and yesterday evening we even had a thunderstorm, something that many of us transplants dearly miss in the northwest.   They are so rare here that I didn't even realize what was happening during the first rumble (and went flying off the couch thinking a plane was about to crash on my roof).  Birding has been interesting- from cold and wet to hot and sunny.   Here's some recent stuff...

From Kelley Point Park on Thursday morning...

Spotted Towhee

 Young robin

Flycatcher... yep...

Wilson's Warbler

Warbling Vireo

Another young robin

Stick dog

I don't know what this next plant is called but I love it...

 From Force Lake also Thursday morning...

Mallard family
 Anna's Hummingbird

Common Yellowthroat

From Oaks Bottom yesterday afternoon...

Barn Swallow

The cotton in the sky was kind of hypnotizing...

Check out this enormous turtle:

I swear it's the biggest one I've ever seen in Portland.  I didn't have too much luck with birds at Oaks Bottom but it's a really nice place to wander around... Always good for a heron:

And I wouldn't be Flycatcher Jen if I didn't scrounge up at least one mystery bird... who unfortunately turned his head the second I got focused on him (and then flew away).

Eh?  The meadow at the end of the trail had tons of western box elder bugs, many of which liked landing on my arms. 

And that's about it for the last few days... Hope to get out somewhere more exciting this weekend.  Good times!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eagle Creek.

I took the dogs out to Eagle Creek this morning for some wandering in the rain.  I was psyched that there were still plenty of active birds, but not psyched that I could barely get any photos.  At the overlook I finally remembered I had downloaded the app "Autostitch" and made a panorama:

It's not perfect but it was only my second time using the app.  Pretty cool, I highly recommend it.  Also at the overlook were juncos, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Western Tanagers, Townsend's Warblers, and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  But none of those jerks would pose for me so here are some Common Mergansers in the river instead:

Back at Eagle Creek I was hoping for Harlequins but never found any.  Did see one American Dipper...

Also along the creek were Steller's Jays and Wilson's Warblers...

I love walking around this area, even in the rain...  

Oh, one last thing... One of the trees along the creek had this tag on it:

What's the deal?  I tried a quick google search and only came up with places to buy more of these tags...  Tell me what you know!

Good times!!