Showing posts from January, 2013

California Part Two--Lake Merritt

Sunday morning my friend and her son and I headed to Lake Merritt in Oakland to check out the bird scene.  There were rumors of a Tufted Duck, but in true FJ style, I failed to find it.  So many other rad birds were around though...

I assume these nests are part of a Black-crowned Night-Heron rookery because those buggers were everywhere!  And they are not like the Night-Herons I am familiar with.  These losers beg for bread crumbs with lowly pigeons!  PIGEONS!!!

But yeah, it was pretty cool to see them up close without bothering them.

But GAWD, they were friends with PIGEONS!  They lost soooo many cool kid points that day.  Coots were abundant too, and my friend's 3-year-old can actually ID them so that's fun.  My friend pointed out this coot lacking the red spot on its frontal shield.  It reminded me of a coot that was seen in Vancouver awhile back.

The lake itself holds lots of nice ducks sitting pretty for photos bread crumbs.  There were piles of scaup (most likely holdin…

California Part One.

The best thing about my flight to San Francisco?  I saw my house from the plane!  By the time we were allowed to turn on electronics my house was long out of sight, but downtown Portland was in view...

On Saturday my friend Sunni and I tagged along with the infamous Seagull Steve on an adventure down the coast.  We stopped at Moss Landing and were treated to a scene that will never be erased from my mind- a pair of sea otters doing the nasty!

Kind of brutal- the male chomps the female's nose during the event and I guess it can get kind of gnarly-looking.  I was more shocked by the sight of an otter rocket:

Post-copulation activities included washing up, stuffing mussels in their mouths, and being adorable.

Our real destination was Monterey Wharf to find an Arctic Loon that had been hanging around.  Before finding the loon Steve pointed out a Northern Fulmar- lifer!  Crappy photo:

On the wharf was a nice variety of trash/fish-gut-eating birds...

Sea lions and Pelagic Cormorants did…

Lamest post ever.

I'm at the airport heading to the Bay Area for the weekend. I have no real bird photos to share but check out this awesome print in the art section of the airport! I am guessing it was inspired by the Chapman School in Portland where thousands of Vaux's Swifts roost every September, occasionally snatched by Peregrines.

Mount Tabor.

It's been freakishly cold and freakishly sunny here in Portland lately.  It's confusing.  The cold makes me want to pile blankets on in front of the wood stove and not move ever.  The sun makes me want to run outside and chase birds.  Yesterday morning I had to really force myself to get out from under the blankets and head over to Mount Tabor.  It was gorgeous...

My reason for visiting this park was to add a couple year birds to my list.  I had made this sort of vague goal of hitting 100 species before heading to California this weekend and I was at 96.  I knew I would at least see some Cedar Waxwings there...

Check out that waxwing tongue!  Down by the large reservoir were a bunch of crows flipping their lids and I was hoping to find them battling some interesting raptor.  No, it was just gulls pissing them off.

Near what I think is the smallest reservoir (the weird one away from the other two) I heard some Red Crossbills up in a tree.  I was psyched, but they were on the mo…

Lacamas Lake Park.

Yesterday afternoon I dragged my friend out to Camas to look for a damn duck.  Never found it.  It was cold but sunny and we ended up spending several entertaining hours exploring Lacamas Lake Park.

The park was filled with the sounds of nuthatches, creepers, kinglets, and chickadees.  Varied Thrushes popped up onto branches as we walked the trails.

Song Sparrows sat around looking chilly...

We came out one end of the park at a school where a group of chickadees were hopping around along with what I think is a Hutton's Vireo:

Right?  We made our way back into the park along a different trail, then hopped through a hole in a fence to walk along the river (along a steep and probably dangerous drop-off).  We made it to an amazing area with small waterfalls and rushing water. 

We found a spot where we could sort of climb down (read: slide on our asses) to the rocks seen on the left.  An American Dipper spooked while I was sliding/screaming and flew upstream to another rock. 

I only ha…