Friday, August 31, 2012

This week in birds.

I've taken the dogs on lots of long walks around town this week, always hoping for birds but not always finding many.  Here are the ones worthy of sharing...

Great Blue Heron startled by a 21 gun salute at Portland International Raceway

 Belted Kingfisher, Columbia Slough Trail
Warbling Vireo, Wapato Access Loop Trail, Sauvie Island

Black-throated Gray Warbler, Wapato Access Loop Trail, Sauvie Island

 Spotted Towhee, Wapato Access Loop Trail, Sauvie Island

Double-crested Cormorants, planning an attack (or migrating), Broughton Beach

 Osprey, Broughton Beach

 Green Heron, Force Lake

That's about it for me.  Decided not to buy the previously mentioned house this week- too much crap wrong with it that the sellers weren't willing to fix.  Boo.  The next one I find will be awesome, fingers crossed.  Oh and the moon has been pretty rad the last couple mornings...

Good times!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ankeny NWR.

After reading some interesting bird sightings I decided to head down to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge this morning.  I realized upon arrival that I had never visited in the summer before, and never without the dogs.  This meant I could walk trails!  And not worry the dogs were barking at bunnies or children! 

Hmm, but it was raining when I got there.  And the Pintail Marsh parking area was jam-packed with a fine assortment of trucks to assist with the paving of Wintel Road.  Argh.  I started walking the trail anyway...

The truck activity seemed to be keeping most of the shorebirds in the far ponds, but a few yellowlegs and peeps braved the racket.

I decided to head over to Eagle Marsh and see what was going on there.  Turns out, lots of brown ducks.  Pintails.  Shovelers.  Teals.  My brain hurt trying to pick them apart.  I turned to blackberries for solace.

Yummy.  A Cooper's Hawk gave me the stink eye as I walked past...

A Western Grebe was a nice surprise...

One duck had me scratching my head a bit- some kind of wacky eclipse plumaged something or other... Ring-necked?  Scaup?  Eh?

After a nice long walk at Eagle Marsh I went back to Pintail Marsh and walked the boardwalk trail to the blind.  I couldn't see any shorebirds due to the tall grass, but I did get excellent looks at a Red-shouldered Hawk flying by...

After that I went back to the main parking area for Pintail Marsh and met a very nice birder named Roy.  He showed me a Pectoral Sandpiper with his scope (lifer!) while we looked for the Stilt Sandpiper he had found a couple days ago.  I was not much help but eventually Roy found the bird right in the nearest pond!  Still a bit far for a good photo, but here ya go:

If only that leaf were not obscuring it's slightly drooping bill...  Ah well, another lifer!  And so hatches my new plan to follow around people with scopes and shorebird knowledge... Good times!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Timothy Lake.

I went camping with some friends at Timothy Lake this weekend.  It was far from a birding trip but it's kind of hard to ignore the birds (especially when the crows and ravens get in a battle at sunrise right above your tent).  Want to know more about the lake?   Here you go:

Anyway.  It's a pretty lake, the view made more interesting by smoke from the forest fire at Olallie Lake...

In the morning I woke up early due to the birds, but also a squirrel chirping and dropping tree bark onto my tent.  I took a long walk down some random roads, down a random trail, to nowhere in particular.  Birds weren't always easy to see but I heard lots of chickadees, ravens, crows, nuthatches, etc.  Swifts fluttered overhead, an Osprey dove into the lake.  It was pleasant to say the least.

I found some cool fungus in the woods...

Found a nice creepy evil clown-faced spider too.

On my way back to the campsite this cowbird caught a grasshopper thingy right in front of me...

That afternoon a few of us visited Little Crater Lake, a 34 degree bright blue tiny lake about 6 miles from Timothy. 

It's pretty scenic there.  There was a bird flying from tree to tree next to the lake that I am having trouble with- is it a young Yellow-rumped Warbler?

That was about it for birds.  Except for the grouse that ran across the road in front of me on Friday afternoon.  I pulled up right next to her and we had a brief chat (about my camera being locked safely in the trunk) before she walked away.  Still a sweet sighting.  Good times!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ridgefield NWR

I went up to Ridgefield pretty dang early yesterday where I was greeted by this fuzzy little fellow...

Shorebirds are still abundant with yellowlegs being the friendliest of the bunch.  There was a fairly even mix of Greaters and Lessers.

The best shorebird I found was a lone Semipalmated Plover hanging with other peeps (buddies, as Seagull might say). 

This has got to be the best time of year for seeing bitterns... I saw at least three different ones around the refuge.  

Perhaps it is just the best time of year for tadpoles.  There was one tree bustling with birds, mostly young Song Sparrows, but also this lady Black-headed Grosbeak:

There was a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a post near marker 11...

So I wasn't surprised to see a hawk perched on another post farther down the road... Till I realized it was a Red-shouldered Hawk!  The closest I had ever gotten to one actually... And my $%#&!! camera would not focus on it!

One last thing- I saw several people (a couple and one single) walking the refuge roads, nowhere near a car.  I thought this was not allowed??

Ah well... Good times!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Leach Botanical Gardens/The Grotto

As you might recall, last week I had some friends visiting during the brutal Portland heat wave.  To stay cool we took some morning outings to shady higher elevation spots including Leach Botanical Gardens in SE Portland and The Grotto in NE.  The gardens were pretty, though not many flowers blooming...

There were some birds around, mostly chickadees and hummingbirds zipping around, but also some noisy Red-breasted Nuthatches...

Levi's favorite thing in the gardens was this big dinosaur:

Or maybe it was the stick he found later on.  Who knows.  Another morning we headed to the Grotto.  Let me say that I am not a religious person, but this Catholic sanctuary is so bizarre that I have dragged many a friend up the elevator to the gardens there.  Plus there's a sweet view. 

There were birds there too... Steller's Jays were the most conspicuous...

There's a small pond with a mini-waterfall in the gardens that managed to attract a Spotted Sandpiper- a remarkably spotted one at that.

It was awesome having my friends here for so long.  Now if only I could convince them to move here...

Anyway..  It's my birthday so I must go celebrate... And by celebrate I mean get out of my pajamas and go to work.  It's cool, I celebrated yesterday, and perhaps I will celebrate more after work.  Good times!