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Showing posts from March, 2012

Ridgefield NWR.

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It's been raining.  Them weather folks have been calling this the wettest March on record.  Awesome.  Because of the rain I figured the Ridgefield auto route would be by best birding choice yesterday afternoon.  I even dragged along a non-birding friend to torture. 

Yellow-rumped Warblers were out and about in their fancy breeding outfits...


Snipe were prancing around like regular shorebirds:


Pied-billed Grebes have been rather frisky on my last couple visits, especially yesterday.  No bird porn to share, just lots of chasing and splashing.



And another pair in a different part of the refuge:



Fun stuff.  Back in the woods I showed my friend the Great Horned Owl nest, still occupied by mama owl though we didn't see the two new owlets seen by others.  Another owl, probably papa, was perched in a tree across the slough from the nest.


As we drove away from the owls my friend actually said, "See ya later, owligator."  Guess you don't have to be a birder to be a compl…

Osprey.

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Like many others in the northwest, I saw my first Osprey of the year yesterday.  A pair actually, sitting on the nest on Rentenaar Road. 



They took off soaring in the wind and disappeared out of sight...  Looking foward to more showing up soon!

Eagle Creek & Whitaker Ponds

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I've been using eBird a lot lately- still trying get all my old bird lists entered, but also exploring the rest of the site.  I signed up for daily alerts informing me what birds I have not yet seen this year in my county that others have seen (the alerts include when and where the birds were seen).  I don't county list or anything like that but I do like the inspiration to bird closer to home.  So yesterday I headed out to Eagle Creek to look for American Dippers. 


Success!  I found two along the creek.  I walked the dogs around for awhile, checking out the area.  A couple of Common Mergansers came swimming by at one point...



In a tree near the restrooms were three Red-breasted Sapsuckers, rather close together.


I've never seen three in one tree.  There was also a chipmunk in the area, which kept the dogs entertained...


We walked over to the nearby fish hatchery and watched a crow snatch a little fishy thing out of one of the ponds.  The netting above the ponds seemed to…

Ridgefield NWR

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Yesterday was a lovely (and I don't use that term lightly) return to spring for the northwest.  The snow had melted and the swallows had emerged from wherever they disappeared to on Thursday.  After work I drove up to Ridgefield to enjoy the sunshine.  The first thing I noticed was the return of the turtle!


My first trip around was kind of disappointing, though a few regulars showed me their good sides...

Great Blue Heron


Northern Shovelers

 Ruddy Ducks


I decided to go around the refuge a second time and found a bit of a traffic jam apparently caused by two American Bitterns.  Thankfully most people moved on and I was able to see that one of the bitterns was in a tug-of-war with a snake!


His method for snake-eating seemed to be to smash the head, then work his way down the body smashing as he went.  


As you can kind of see, the tail was knotted around some grass.  The bittern just kept smashing and moving down the body, eventually freeing the knotted tail.


Finally he sort of flung t…

Happy spring!

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The rain was pretty brutal yesterday so I was happy to wake up to snow instead.  About an inch in my neighborhood, but I wanted more...  I headed up to Washington Park.


There were tons of crows flying around and chatting with each other...


There were lots of other birds around but not many interested in getting their picture taken.  I saw a couple FOY Band-tailed Pigeons in the treetops around the park:


Also around were lots of juncos, chickadees, a Red-breasted Sapsucker, robins, Varied Thrushes, kinglets and sparrows... All of whom declined my offer of internet fame.  Ah well, the snow made for pretty pictures and happy mutts.



Washington Park is known for its International Rose Test Garden though all around the park are tons of other pretty flowers.  Even prettier with a bit of snow on top...


The sun peeked through the clouds off and on, though only for brief moments...


Good times!

Weekend birds.

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I didn't have much success with the birds this weekend.  On Saturday I walked the dogs along the Frenchman's Bar Trail and was surprised to find this:


I thought it was a dead heron at first because its head and neck were tucked below the body.  I have trouble leaving dead stuff alone so I rolled it over with my foot (to the delight of my dogs) and discovered it was a Sandhill Crane.


It really bummed me out...  I couldn't figure out how it met its end.  Possibly hit by a car but that seems super weird.  Maybe a dumbass hunter shot it by accident and dumped it here.  Who knows.  I couldn't resist touching its beak- I popped it open and saw its tongue.

The park was tame bird-wise but a couple of Spotted Towhees were hopping around.


Sunday morning I headed down the valley to somewhere south of Corvallis to look for the Gyrfalcon that had been present for three days prior.  It was not there.  It was a disappointment, but I did get to gaze at an amazing display by a male Nor…