Birds around town.

Yesterday morning I took the mutts on a nice long walk along the Columbia Slough.  I went over there with zero expectations bird-wise and was pleasantly surprised. 

A Great Egret flew in as we began our walk...

Double-crested Cormorants were fishing up and down the slough.

A flock of Cackling Geese flew overhead followed by a small flock of Greater White-fronted Geese.  Mmm... migration.

Greater White-fronted Geese

One of the best finds of the day was a flock of sparrows and finches foraging around a pile of brush and wood.  My second Golden-crowned Sparrow of the season was among the sparrows, in addition to a Chipping Sparrow and a Lincoln's Sparrow, neither of which are easy for me to find in the county.

Chipping Sparrow

At the pedestrian bridge was another awesome find- a Peregrine Falcon perched on a bare tree that was amazingly unconcerned with me and the dogs.

Back at home yesterday afternoon I watched the crazy goldfinch party that has been going on the last week or so.  I noticed there was an American and a Lesser sitting side by side on the feeder and it finally made sense why the Lesser has its name.  It's smaller.  Duh.  Learning.

As I shut the window I had opened to take the above shot I knocked my camera about five feet from the windowsill to the floor.  It looked okay and turned on fine so I forgot about it quickly.  Until this morning.

This morning I set out to conquer a nemesis.  I have tried to find the Snowy Egret at Smith & Bybee Lakes maybe five or six times.  Today I rode my bike through light rain and gloom to the lakes hoping my luck would change.  From the Smith Lake blind I was able to locate the American Avocets that appeared last weekend, a damn good motorless bird.  Still no Snowy, though dozens (if not hundreds) of Great Egrets were hard to sort through. 

See how blurry that shot is?  Yeah.... about that camera fall.  Turns out the manual focus vs. auto focus switch popped off during that incident.  It's stuck on manual focus now.  Fun fun.  After throwing in the towel at Smith Lake I walked up to the Bybee Lake blind.  And there it was, the freakin closest bird to the blind.  I should have slayed it...

It was soooo close.  And I could not focus if my live depended on it.  ARGH.  It's okay though.  It was another awesome motorless bird.  And a county bird.  And OH RIGHT, a freakin state bird.

Then I had to ride my bike home in the 20 mph winds with even worse gusts.  Worth it.  Good times!


  1. OH damn...hope you fix that camera...I realized I painted mine in the corner last night have to wait for the Renews I put on the wood floor to dry 24hrs before walking on it,,,,so no photos for me for a day..Great Score on the of my favorite long legged waders.

    1. Painted it into a corner! Ha, funny though probably annoying.

  2. Well I guess it could have been a lot worse with the camera. Maybe this will be good practice for you ;) Hope its an easy fix. That first scenic shot is gorgeous. Nice to see the snowy/great egret side by side shots.

    1. If only practice would help- the focus knob is so stiff it's impossible to turn it with any kind of precision... Ugh.

  3. Shiiiiiit. The thought of your camera falling makes me want to puke.

  4. Jen, sorry to hear about your camera fall. I was going to suggest, since you have to manual focus, to use the Live View mode and then hit your zoom in button a couple times to get a 10x zoom on the LCD screen. You'd have to have it on a tripod or steadied somehow to do this. But you can achieve pretty good focus using this close up method for stationary subjects if you're able to turn the manual focus ring. Nice find and shot of the Snowy! My only sighting of one was at Ridgefield in Aug. 2011. Really neat peregrine you saw, too!

  5. Ouch on the camera, but congrats on the Snowy!

    I guess it's time for you to get the big camera with the fixed 400 lens, eh? Time to give Scott C. a run for his money ;-)

  6. Great outing, Jen! I love the row of mergansers. And cool sighting of the Peregrine! Congrats on your Snowy Egret. Sorry about your camera, maybe it can be fixed? Happy Birding!


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