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!!