Sandy River Delta & Fernhill Wetlands

I met up with a couple of lovely birder ladies out at the delta yesterday morning to finally track down the reported Indigo Bunting.  We found him right away...

He moved around quite a bit but I never got a very good photo.   Oh well, still cool to see a second one this month.  We were also successful in finding one of the Eastern Kingbirds that nests at the delta...

Swainson's Thrushes were out in full force singing and calling and even popping out on shaded branches occasionally...

Fact: grasshoppers are probably one of the cutest insects ever.

On our way back we came across another birder looking at the Indigo Bunting who pointed out a robin's nest in the parking lot.  One of the parents flew in to feed at least two little open beaks...

It was a very nice morning walk with good people and my new favorite birding pup, Chipper:

Check out Michele's take on our morning walk (and a much better bunting photo) on her blog, Nature Nut Notes!

Now back on Sunday morning I decided to venture out to Fernhill Wetlands to see the amazingly low water levels (and the shorebirds) for myself.

Before I could even find any peeps I found oodles of geese including the funny hybrid family that lives there:

Love them.  The first and most easily identified shorebird I found was a Spotted Sandpiper:

In addition to Least and Western Sandpipers, folks have been reporting Semipalmated Sandpipers.  I was hoping to be able to pick one out of the crowds, but I am not sure I can...

Most birds kept their distance but a small group were close enough for decent looks.  Like these next two that seemed to be providing me with a side by side comparison of... something... Least & Western?   Western and Western?  Smith & Western?

Here are some more that are making my brain hurt...

Seems like mostly Westerns? 

Moving on to other more easily identified shorebirds....

Greater Yellowlegs

 Long-billed Dowitchers

 Green Heron, Red-winged Blackbird

Back to the confusing peeps... I think this one's a Least? 

My camera battery died shortly after this.  My spare was about a mile and a half away in the car.  Safe and sound.  But before it died, I took some photos of this big ole fish:

And that's all... Good times!!


  1. Those shorebirds make my head hurt too. The green heron and blackbird shot is fun! I meant to ask you, were you able to walk all the way around the ponds? Someone had posted that they were closed for maintenance.

    Thanks for a fun morning at the delta!

    1. You can walk all the way around the ponds to the Dabbler's Marsh Trail, but you have to go the long way. The section that's closed is from where the new restrooms are to just before the trail. It's not a big section really- just makes for a longer walk.

  2. Nice outing! I sure would agree that all of your peeps save that last one (Least) are Westerns. But why go to FernHILL when you can go to FernRIDGE? 'Tis the season...get down there!

  3. Nice biodiveristy you've got going on here. It looks to me like you called all your Peeps correctly, for whatever that's worth. I would've thought Western Sandpipers should be gone up north by now, unless they're already heading back down south?

    Love the Swainson's Thrush shot, but no Flycatchers today Jen?

    1. Yep, the shorebirds are moving south now- gotta love July migration. And yes there were tons of flycatchers but only Willows and Wood-Pewees and I am afraid you all have seen enough of those... Wait, can't my kingbird count?

    2. It only counts if it's ambiguous!

  4. YES! SHOREBIRDS! All those peeps (except for the last one) are Westerns. They have considerable/hella variation in bill length.

    I dig the heron/blackbird.

  5. From what Ive read the semipalmated is very much like a western with only subtle differences...I would love to see one!! Great batch of shorebirds, I just usually call them all sanderlings!!
    Glad you bagged your bunting!!


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