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 move.  I followed them from tree to tree for awhile before losing them completely.

I followed the trail behind the reservoir to the top of the volcano (yep, it's a volcano) and came across the flock again.  This time they flew to the ground to feed!  Ten feet from me!  My best views of crossbills ever...

I loved that they managed to find the only two square feet of snow/frost at the top of the park.  After this encounter I walked back down to the largest reservoir to check out the gulls.  Mostly Herring and Glaucous-winged (or hybrids) but one bright Western stood out.  I walked back up the ridiculously steep and narrow staircase and looked back out towards downtown.  Perched at the top of a tree was a Merlin!

The first one I've seen in sunlight.  Yes.

He looked me right in the eyes at one point and I'm pretty sure he stole my soul. 

So glad I made myself leave the house!  The best part is that my year list was bumped up to 99 after that trip.  Who will 100 be?? 


  1. It looks like we have a movie in the making: The Soul Stealing Merlin and Zombie Kestrel. The crossbills are a great find! I can't wait to see what bird 100 is.

  2. Kudos! Richly rewarded for your valor. =)

  3. Right On! Great shots on the Crossbills too, that's a bird I've been very sorry to miss this winter.

  4. How fun to see crossbills on the ground!

  5. Love the Red Crossbills, and awesome shot of the Merlin. Sounds like a great birdie day, glad you got out and enjoyed!

  6. WOW! Kicking butt and taking names!

    Big Bins, Big Bins, Hell Yeah...

  7. I CANT Even begin to imagine what it will be, are we going to have a bet pool? IM sure you will see it at the airport, or are you driving?
    That is an excellent look at the Crossbills and the MERLIN.

    1. I'm flying, but I still have a couple days to find the 100th.

  8. Nice! We too get frigid temps and bright bright sun and crystal blue skies. Weird.


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