Hood River.

Hood River is many things.  A river.  A bridge.  A town.  A county.  It's also a place I had never birded before.  The county begins only about thirty minutes east of where I live so I figured I would use my day off to do some exploring.  Birds were not easy to find but the scenery more than made up for it...

I hit up many spots along the Columbia River including The Hook, The Spit, and a bunch of places in between.  They were all extremely windy but relatively mild and sunny.  At The Hook were a handful of gulls battling the breezes while trying to snag snacks out of the river.

To try to get a break from the wind I drove up to the state park next to the Mark O. Hatfield Visitor Center.  The views were stunning and I forced the dogs into awkward poses as usual.

Much of the park was beautiful canyon-esque landscapes...

The trees held the only Yellow-rumped Warbler of the day...

After the park I went back down to the marina area of Hood River.  A flock of geese took flight, leaving behind this sad broken goose...

Out on the river were a few Horned and four Western Grebes.  The only grebes of the day...

The best birds of the day I found under the freeway overpass, like any other respectable beings. 

A pair of Harlequin Ducks!

I made several other stops, most recommended by the Oregon Birding Trails guide.  I made a couple attempts to find somewhere called Government Cove in Cascade Locks.  First I ended up in this bizarre place that looked like an abandoned logging site but had these signs:

I found my first Song Sparrow of the day here, as well as a pair of Ring-necked Ducks.  Eventually I found the correct spot for the cove and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery and the... uh...  sense of being about to be murdered at any given moment?  Seriously it was an awesome spot but it was so vacant and quiet it creeped me the eff out. 

A couple of Red-tailed Hawks tried to keep us company...

I had my only chickadees of the day here as well as the only junco...

So, Hood River County turned out to be a fun place to explore despite only racking up 33 species for the day.  The dogs are tired, I saw some Harlequin Ducks close up, and I visited lots of new places...  Good times!!


  1. Kinda bleak but damn, I would dance sober for Harlequin Ducks.

  2. Any chance the grebe on the left could be a Clark's? The white flanks and orangish bill look suspicious to me.

    1. I thought the same thing when I initially saw the bird, but photos show the black cap covers the eye.

  3. Sounds like a great day, Jen! I love your dogs with the beautiful scene in the background. The Harlequins are beautiful duck, great sighting. The Grebes would be awesome for me. You have some beautiful scenic shots. Great post. Have a happy day!

  4. I am also thinking Clark's Grebe. The bill is orangy and the black stripe down the back of the neck seems very narrow. In winter, the dusky cap often extends below the eye.

  5. Love the Harlequin Ducks! We stayed in Hood River for week a few years ago; it was great! You can see why windsurfing is so popular there. Don't you hate when you see a broken bird...

  6. awww for the poor Goose..
    Dont worry trust your instincts and you'll be fine! Put a can of Bear Mace in your backpack!! (not to scare off bears but 2 legged dangers) Im like you... once I walk off about 3 miles into the woods and then suddenly see another human I GET spooked..
    LOVE the scenery so very pretty..and the boys look happy...and YES to the Harlequins they are gorgeous!

  7. Dang. Harlequin Ducks! I'm so jealous...

  8. You get the best shots for header photos! I am jealous that you found sunshine.


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