Birds this week.

Yep, I've done a bunch of birding this week and have yet to share anything with y'all.  So here we go... First off from Ridgefield NWR:

Northern Harrier

 Black Phoebe

River otters

The other day my neighbors tossed a pile of walnuts into my yard.  Not sure why they didn't leave them in their own yard, but whatever.  This crow was perplexed:


 Yesterday morning I walked the dogs along the Frenchman's Bar Trail and found lots of good birds have returned, starting with Golden-crowned Sparrows...


 There were a few geese around...


 Only Cackling and Canada Geese, have yet to see any Greater White-fronteds or Snows.  Also saw this guy flying over the Columbia River:


This afternoon I stopped by Smith & Bybee Lakes.  I avoided the Smith Lake boat launch area due to the avian botulism outbreak, but instead headed for the Bybee Lake blind.  A Red-shouldered Hawk was calling loudly right behind me but out of sight.  This Orange-crowned Warbler came by to peek at me:


 Along the paved trail I found an interesting crime scene.  Feathers everywhere.  An owl pellet.  Some owl poop.  Using my keen detective skills I determined that an owl had taken a bird and eaten it on this broken limb:


 Here are some of the feathers that were scattered:


In the above photo there's that big area that appears black but it was actually blue.  Any thoughts on what bird this was?


 And onto the owl pellet... I did what any normal person would do- I carried it all the way back to the parking area picnic tables and dissected it.  It appeared to be rodent fur and bones, no big surprises. 


And that's about it for the week.  Got some good adventures planned for this weekend as long as I can figure out how to put some new bulbs in my headlights!  Good times!

Comments

  1. Those feathers are really pretty. I'll be curious to see what your readers think they are. Cool river otters!!

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  2. And yet another entertaining post, Jen. Great observations, documentation and humor.

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  3. My guess for the Owl prey is Green-winged Teal. Anybody else?

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    Replies
    1. Not a bad guess given the area, but I'm starting to think Biobabbler was on the right track..

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    2. Sounds like you were right! I definitely need some feather ID practice...

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    3. Yay! Credit to my smarty husband.

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  4. Love the River Otters; they are always so entertaining to watch! Have fun on your adventures this weekend!

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  5. Great collection of birds, Jen! I love the river otters, cool sighting. The feather are pretty, no guesses here though. Have a great weekend and Happy birding!

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  6. I am SUPER not a feather person but I WANT to say northern flicker. However, I don't think that accounts for the 2nd batch of feathers--can't find a photo with those in it. But if I DIDN'T make this harebrained guess, my own (hare)brain would harass me no end. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Hmm I had thought flicker at the time also, but probably because one was calling nearby.. That would be make those first feathers from its chest area. Very interesting!

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  7. I'm gonna guess some kind of grouse (no idea really). "Normal person" eh? Hmmmm

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    Replies
    1. Grouse would be awesome but they don't really hang out where I found them...

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  8. Sure looks like Green-winged Teal to me. The tricky part is that there are no size references in the photos.

    I'm confused by the owl's involvement though. When was the last time you saw a large owl eat any other bird besides a small owl, much less a duck...that it would take off the water? I suppose Great Horneds are capable of anything, but I'm just not sure about this. I don't believe owls often eat other birds, particularly ducks. Is it possible that an Eagle, a Peregrine, or even a mammal brought this kill to land and an owl happened to stop by and check out the scene the same evening?

    If you don't have "Bird Feathers" by Scott and McFarland, it's an absolute must. You can find the Green-winged Teal feathers on p.82. Yours appear to be breast and flank feathers.

    Get that book - it's awesome!

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    Replies
    1. Ah, yes, I had suspected the owl may have been framed. I have seen the GHO's at Ridgefield eat unidentifiable birds before so it didn't occur to me that owls are not the most likely predator. Hmm.. Haven't seen an eagle around Smith & Bybee yet this fall so perhaps hawk or falcon. There were feathers stuck in the branch (about 15-20 feet high) so not a coyote.

      Thanks for the book tip- this scene definitely made think I needed a feather guide!

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    2. I agree, that book is awesome. Audubon Nature Store sells it.

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