Saturday, June 30, 2012

Force Lake.

The lamest aspect of being busy is the lack of time for birding!  I did squeeze in a humid walk with the dogs near Force Lake yesterday afternoon and found a few nice birds, like the recently returned Green Heron!


Definitely one of my favorite birds.  We walked down the road to the slough where there are lots of swallow boxes, including the one with the adorable swallow youngins I showed you a few weeks ago.


In the slough were lots of Mallards mucking around the scummy muck on the surface and a Great Egret that took off immediately.  Also, this tiny airplane:


Hehe.  Just a reflection.  Back at the lake a blue heron had displaced the green one...


And lastly, the lake has been overrun with Mallards this spring including lots of weird domestic/hybrid types.  Looks like that cycle won't end anytime soon...


Good times!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ridgefield NWR & Wapato Greenway

I feel like I've been pretty busy lately between working, house-hunting, dog-hunting and keeping up with my mom on DrawSomething!   I always try to fit in some birding and hit up Ridgefield on Monday evening and the Wapato trail yesterday morning.  First though, my friend adopted the dog we went to meet on Monday morning!


The humane society had named him Kevin Spacey and my friend is sticking with just Kevin.  Super cute, and Jake and Ralph approved. 

Ok, back to birds... Ridgefield was not exactly hopping on Monday, but of course there was still some good stuff, including nearly 20 Great Egrets throughout the area.


On the Kiwa Trail I saw no straggly/menacing coyotes (I was warned of one when I arrived) but did see a muskrat swimming...


Also on the trail I decided to make a complete 360 view of the sky because it looked pretty using my camera's Auto Stitch app.


On one of the lakes way out in the distance were four pelicans which I have only seen at Ridgefield a handful of times...


Too far away for a good shot, just like this young eagle (so grown up!):


Yesterday morning I walked the dogs around the Wapato Access Greenway Trail on Sauvie Island.  My target bird was the Red-eyed Vireo(s) that have been seen.  My first interesting sighting was of a man on the lake-viewing platform wearing sweatpants and missing some important teeth.  He had binoculars and told me he saw his first Red-winged Blackbird there last week.  It was awkward.

Just past the viewing platform turn-off I heard a bird I couldn't place, then saw it fly over the trail and land in a tree.  I took a few quick shots before it flew deeper into the trees.  It was a vireo, but what kind?  It flew back to the spot where I could see it and sang.  Ummmm.... not helpful, despite listening to the Red-eyed Vireo (and other vireo) songs about twenty times on the way there.


The bird disappeared soon after that but I was really hoping I would get home and be able to make out a red eye...


Well, no, but I did notice the bill was bigger than a Warbling Vireo's which was what I was afraid it might be instead.  Still unsure I sent a photo over to Seagull Steve and begged for help.  He confirmed that it was a Red-eyed so oh hell yeah, lifer!!!

On the list of birds that are not my friends, Steller's Jays are quite close to the top...


The Brown-headed Cowbirds were out and about making a ruckus... I liked this action shot:


Butterflies are always nice to see when they are sitting still...

Western tiger swallowtail...yes?

At times it was hard to hear the birds over all the bullfrogs...


What's that?  You want to see a mystery flycatcher?  Well sheeeet I got you!


Ok, maybe it's not so mysterious... It was just silent.  I don't see much of an eye-ring so probably just a Willow? 

That's about it from my week.  I'll leave you with one last shot of Ralph, Kevin, and Jake... Good times!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The weekend.

It's been a busy weekend with not a whole lot of time for birding, but I managed to squeeze in a trip to Shillapoo Wildlife Area on Saturday afternoon.  Oh, and of course on Saturday evening I looked out my window and there it was, the Eurasian Collared-Dove, sitting in MY tree!   Still flying solo, but I can't imagine that will last long.

Along Lower River Road near Shillapoo I found a dead flicker in the road... RIP.


The dogs and I walked along a dike trail through some wetlands where we met this spokesman for the area:


The grasses at Shillapoo are filled with Savannah Sparrows and Common Yellowthroats...


Along the dike trail I found a family of Bewick's Wrens, some looking fairly young...


While we were there a storm was rolling in...


I took some photos with my phone too and played around with filters and such... Here's the same area:


Phone camera stuff is way too much fun.  That night when my friend and I were coming back from the store we noticed a sunset was a-happening, so we drove out to the bluffs and caught a pretty sick view...


Awesome.  Now I am off to meet a dog at the humane society!  Not for me, for my friend, but Jake is going to see if he approves.  Good times!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Steigerwald Lake NWR.

I went out to Steigerwald this morning to take the dogs for a walk along the dike trail in the gorgeous weather.  One of my favorite sightings was just before we made it to the parking area at Captain William Clark Park:


So cute!!


Along the trail were lots of birds, though no kingbirds as I had hoped.

 Willow Flycatcher


House Wren


I am currently house-hunting and I was bummed to see this Purple Martin had claimed some prime real estate with a sweet view of Mount Hood...


Purple Martins are actually one of the best things about Steigerwald Lake- they are abundant to say the least...


I watched an Osprey fly by with a fresh fish catch..



As we returned to the parking area a couple of cormorants flew overhead and looked kind of cool with all the cotton floating around...


And that was about it... Lots of bunnies around to make the dogs nutty, but still a fun walk.

Upon arriving home to my neighborhood I saw a bird in the road one block north of my house.  I actually stopped in the middle of the road and stared at it as my brain processed the intruder.  It was my first ever (in the three years I've lived here) Eurasian Collared-Dove.  I said "oh god" to myself and quickly made it home and inside only to peek through the blinds to see if they were invading my own yard.  Not yet.  I have seen enough posts on OBOL to know that it was only a matter of time before they invaded my hood, but it took me by surprise nonetheless.  I've never even seen a Mourning Dove in these blocks.  I'm hoping it was a one-day wonder.

Good times!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tillamook State Forest, etc.

Today I went on a little adventure into the woods near the Timber area of the Tillamook State Forest  in the Coast Range.  My target bird was the Sooty Grouse, of which I saw zero birds, but heard at least three drumming.  I'll take it!  I saw some other interesting things too...

MacGillivray's Warbler

 Evening Grosbeak (my first not at a bird feeder!)


Hairy Woodpecker pop & juvenile, celebrating Father's Day obviously


Hairy Woodpecker juvenile

 Gray Jay


I followed a random logging road off Round Top Road and found a sweet viewpoint where I scared up about eight Turkey Vultures.  When I got out of the car I realized it smelled like death, so the dogs and I wandered around looking for the source.  Oh you know, just a dead cow someone had tossed over the edge...


But the view was awesome...


That was about it from today's adventure.  Yesterday I took the dogs for a quick walk in the late afternoon when it was way too hot for their taste.  Near Force Lake a Tree Swallow fed a youngster in a nest box...



Such an awesome face.  Good times!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ridgefield NWR.

I had a nice trip up to Ridgefield yesterday morning, despite the frenzy of bunny rabbits making Ralph act like a complete nut job.  It was gorgeous out which was awesome after some cloudy/rainy days...


Cinnamon Teals are still all over the place.  This makes me happy.


I walked the little trail to the bird blind and found a Barn Swallow perched in the blind.  He didn't budge even when I got ridiculously close, likely because of a nest up in the corner.


I made it about five minutes on the Kiwa Trail before I heard Ralph barking like crazy because this little bugger decided to have some salad snacks right next to my car...


Ah well, no trail for me.  In the trees past the snoozing owl kids I found a river otter sitting along the water eating a big ole fishy thing...


Otters are adorable even when tearing apart dead stuff.



I saw my first baby coots and grebes of the season...


The Pied-billed Grebe mom was catching little fish for her two kids, who would race each other to be the lucky recipient...




The eagle kids are getting huge- I finally was able to see them moving around in the nest and couldn't believe how big they are now...


And that was about it!  Good times!!