Showing posts from October, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I finally got my house yesterday!  My first yard bird was officially a Western Scrub-Jay eating some berries, closely followed by a flock of Cackling Geese overhead.  Later on my friend and I were having a beer on my tiny deck and I heard a Killdeer calling.   Not bad. 

My birding adventures will probably slow down quite a bit as I try to move, paint, garden, rip up the ugliest wallpaper ever, etc.  Anyway, hope you have a great Halloween!  Check out my rad pumpkin carving skills I didn't even know I had...

Washington Coast.

By Saturday night I had decided that although I was sick and should be resting, rare birds will not flock to my couch for me to see.  I had to go see them myself.  I set my alarm for early on Sunday and headed to the Washington coast where rare and interesting birds keep turning up. 

First stop: Westhaven State Park in Westport.  A Northern Wheatear had been found on Friday and I was crossing my fingers it was still there.  Imagine the scene from The Big Year with the McKay's Bunting (I think that was the bird) with the birders running all over the place.  That was how the wheatear scene worked.  The bird would fly into some tall grass, then suddenly take off to the jetty, then fly out over the bay to a rocky point- all decent distances apart.  Birders were running with tripods, fully decked in bulky rain gear, looking like complete goons. 

I never saw it sit still (though I hear it sat for a nice long time after I left) but I did catch it in flight...

Yeah, bad photos, but I got …

Dogs and birds.

Yesterday was my dog Jake's 7th birthday.  Despite being sick as hell, the rain and the cold, I took the boys out to Sauvie Island so Jake could do his favorite thing: run around on the beach.

While I lay on the couch consuming a steady diet of Umcka, Airborne, Odwalla Superfood juice, and coffee, I figured I'd take you a trip down memory lane, and show you how Jake is mostly to blame for my birding obsession...

It all started one spring morning in 2006 when I looked on Craigslist and found a "6 month old Jack Russell Terrier" for sale in Camas, WA.   Before I could think about it I was calling the phone number.  Soon I had Jake and his interesting paperwork stating he was actually 5 months old, sold in a Vancouver mall pet store for $500 as a Jack Russell/ Chihuahua mix (he is 42 pounds now and more likely Jack Russell/heeler).  

Jake, April 2006

He was nuts.  He had SO much energy and I had to figure out how to drain it.  I learned quickly that he loved other dogs …

Broughton Beach.

Yesterday morning at Broughton Beach was great- the weather was just unwelcoming enough that I was the only person there for the first hour and a half. 

Geese, crow, heron

I found two Western Meadowlarks right at the beginning of the trail...

Another ten feet or so down the path were three Horned Larks.  One was fully decked in leg bands:

Orange and purple on the right leg, red and white on the left.  This bird has more accessories than me!

On our way back from the Sea Scout Base I saw some shorebirds had joined the gull flock on the beach.  I walked the dogs out there to see what was going on:  a mess of Ring-billeds, Californias, Mews (the first I've seen this fall), a handful of Bonaparte's (!) and a few Dunlin (I think).

Dunlin, yes?  More interesting is the rare Great Unhorned Owl Gull next to them

Anyway, it was a fun and beautiful walk...

Good times!!

Sunday birds.

Thankfully I completely disregarded the weather forecast this morning and went out to look for some birds.  The weather was on my side (all day!) and the dogs and I had a nice walk at Kelley Point Park and then another at Force Lake.  Kelley Point was buzzing with bird activity even though I didn't see that many...  A funny little Bewick's Wren came over to have a chat with me:

Force Lake actually had a greater variety of birds including a pair of Ring-necked Ducks:

A lone Ruddy Duck:

There are always at least a couple Pied-billed Grebes at the lake, but today there was one that looked a little funny...

...because it was NOT actually a Horned Grebe. 

I returned home from my morning of birding to eat lunch and start tackling my to-do list.  I figured I would start with steam-cleaning the spots on my carpet so I took my new steam-cleaner out of the box and looked at the instructions.  Step 1: charge the battery for 12 hours.

I could have easily moved on to some other tasks but …

Rentenaar Road.

I took the dogs to Sauvie Island yesterday afternoon to walk along Rentenaar Road.  The weather was not what I anticipated, starting with mildly irritating mist and ending with straight up pouring rain.  It was still a good walk and the dogs still got tired, and that's what really matters.  Oh, and they were stylin too:

I took what I could get bird-wise, not many sparrows yet and only a few raptors.  The blackbird swarms were awesome though...

After they landed in some trees a Peregrine swooped in and stirred things up again...

The Peregrine didn't get to keep his seat long.  A harrier that had been cruising the fields nearby decided she did not approve of the falcon- she dive bombed him once and he took off.

That was probably the most interesting thing to happen there.  The rain picked up as we walked back up the road.  I was expecting to see fewer sparrows as a result, but instead they all decided to come out and have a bath party in the puddles.  Mostly Golden-crowneds, a W…