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Showing posts from April, 2012

Sacramento NWR.

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The first leg of my road trip went pretty well.  The dogs are being good- alerting me to every single cow, horse, and sheep we pass- and the car is being good too.  I even fit in a few hours on the Sacramento NWR auto tour. 


It was early afternoon and fairly warm, with a strong breeze keeping things pleasant.  The blackbirds and the Marsh Wrens were the loudest birds by far, only outshined by Jake and Ralph's whining when we came across a perfect trifecta of river otter, squirrel, and jackrabbit.


I was psyched to see so many Western Kingbirds...


A flock of White-faced Ibises flew overhead and landed, unfortunately, out of sight...


Other waterbirds inlcuded Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets...



I even managed a lifer at the refuge- an Ash-throated Flycatcher!  Please excuse the bad windshield shot...


There were roughly one billion coots hanging out in the water, and roughly one Common Gallinule:


My first one not in Hawaii.   Not a lot of birds were feeling like posing but the…

Ridgefield NWR and other stuff.

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I still have a bunch of stuff to do to prepare for my road trip, but it's kind of hard to get stuff done when I know there are warblers and tanagers and all sorts of other colorful things infiltrating every park in town...  So this week I've been trying to balance out errands and birding (oh and work, of course) and here's what I've got to share...

Western Tanager, Powell Butte 

Some chickadees were working on excavating a nest just outside my kitchen window again- same spot as last year, so I am guessing that they will abandon it again once they realize how many deranged meth-heads walk by daily...  (Funny, it was on April 25th last year that I first noticed them).


A dog walk at Kelley Point Park produced the first Chipping Sparrow I've ever seen in Portland, as well as certainly-not-the-first Brown-headed Cowbird...


This morning I made a super early trip to Ridgefield and found a ton of great birds.  There were bitterns booming and Soras calling, and of course a Wo…

Smith Rock State Park & Sisters

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I bought a new tent a couple weeks ago and this weekend's warm temperatures made for the perfect opportunity to test it out.  Turns out I hate the tent.  It's going back to REI where it came from.  Luckily I kept my old one just in case...  Anyway, the warm weather meant that I felt confident about driving through the mountains finally so I headed east to Smith Rock State Park yesterday morning.


I took the dogs on a two-hour hike, as well as another 2-hour hike this morning.  I was finally able to see the White-throated Swifts that nest there.  Not really great for photos:


I was really hoping to finally see a Canyon Wren, instead of just hearing them, but no luck.  I did find a couple of Rock Wrens and House Wrens though...

Rock Wren

 House Wren

Other good birds at the park were nesting ravens, a Golden Eagle, kestrels, and Canada Geese perching all over the canyon walls.  I found a cool lizard but my camera refused to focus on it (ok it was probably my own fault, but whatever)..…

Ridgefield NWR.

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I went up to Ridgefield early yesterday morning while the weather was still dry.  Overall I didn't see a huge variety of birds, but the ones I did see were pretty good.  I had been hearing Virginia Rails for a couple weeks and yesterday I finally found one creeping around the marsh.



I stopped briefly by the Great Horned Owl nest where the owlets were hunkered down showing only some fuzz.  Mama was on a branch across the slough keeping an eye on things.


Just beyond the ash forest a Wilson's Snipe was perched on a log over the slough, calling loudly.


Is that a snipe tongue??   The last thing I have to share is some Cinnamon Teals.  I counted at least a dozen on this trip and soon they will just plain take over.  Alright by me.


Soon after I noticed this lady in the grass she walked down the bank and hopped into the slough to join her man friend.  They began some head-bobbing action, and then slowly took it to the next level...


Yep.  They started to make whoopee.




They both seemed …

Motorless Birding...to Troutdale!

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Yes, I am insane.  I decided in the midst of a casual morning of riding my bike around NE Portland to ride all the way to Troutdale... with no water or snacks involved.  I started off the morning at the Columbia Childrens Arboretum, a sweet little spot with lots of trees (duh) and a nice trail.  Here I was able to add Lesser Goldfinches to my motorless list- as they seemed to be the most numerous and most vocal.


Nothing else too exciting there right now, but hopefully soon some migrants will start showing up.  Some nice horsetails coming up:


After that I rode along the bike path on Marine Drive to Broughton Beach and west.  I was able to add Savannah Sparrow but that was it.  I was feeling pretty good so I figured going all the way to Troutdale wouldn't be too bad.  I stopped a couple times to check out birds and once to check out what I thought might be just a log...


Nope, it was a freakin sea lion!!   I need to keep a motorless mammal list now too...  Ooh and motorless roadkill-…