Showing posts from November, 2013

Weekend Part One.

The first two days of my five-day weekend are over.   I birded a lot but don't feel like I have much to show for it.  So it goes.  Thanksgiving morning I got distracted by the bird party in the yard.  Lesser and American Goldfinches were getting along.

Later on I headed down to Ankeny and Baskett Slough NWRs with my friend, where we failed to find just about all the birds we looked for.  Acorn Woodpeckers are nice though.

Ankeny NWR

At Baskett Slough we hiked up to the lookout where children were running wild.  Eventually they left and we got to enjoy some deer, a hooting Great Horned Owl, and the sunset in peace.  Minus the gunshots, of course.

Yesterday we went up to Powell Butte to look for shrikes.  Again, major fail.  At least it wasn't raining and the scenery was nice.

The best bird was probably a Red-shouldered Hawk that I took five terrible photos of and promptly deleted.  Later on at Whitaker Ponds I got to witness the fact that it's become a dumping ground for ani…

Ridgefield NWR.

I had a lovely time up at Ridgefield yesterday morning, which you would know if you had liked my new Facebook page.  It was cold and sunny and pretty perfect.

Along the slough were birds like the above heron, basking in sunshine.

Pied-billed Grebe

Even this sapsucker took time off from sucking sap to soak in some rays...

As I was passing the entrance to the Kiwa Trail I spotted a small bird at the top of a tree up ahead.  I thought to myself, it would be really cool if that was a Merlin.  Unfortunately before I could approach I had to wait for a giant nutria to cross the road...

Once the hideous beast passed, and the dogs' excitement level dropped, I slowly approached the bird in question.  And a Merlin it was!

Merlins also enjoy a good sun-soaking session, but with just a hint of stink eye of course...

My bonding moment with this bird was cut short by an incoming marching band horn section...  Eight Trumpeter Swans were flying in and the sound was pretty incredible.  Check out my…

The weekend.

It's been a good weekend.  Yesterday morning began with another boring sunrise...

I walked the dogs all the way to the Sea Scout Base in hopes of finding some good birds.  Success.  A small flock of scaup there held a lone White-winged Scoter!

I think that was only my second time seeing one in the county.  Pretty cool, especially for a motorless bird!  A harrier came by while I was scanning...

Lots of Common Goldeneyes along the river but no Barrow's that I could find.   No loons either- haven't had any on the Columbia yet this fall, though others have.

This afternoon I went out to Steigerwald Lake NWR to hunt for owls with a friend.  We failed to find any Short-eareds, but had some great success with Barns.  Two in fact.  Neither wanted anything to do with us.

Little human feet

Also around were lots of meadowlarks, a couple of Bald Eagles, oodles of harriers, a kestrel, and lots of people.

Good times!!

Odds and ends.

No drama, no scandals, no emotional anniversaries.   Just some birds and things I've been seeing around over the last few days or so...

On Sunday I drove my friend up to Olympia to deliver some shirts.   We stopped by Capitol Lake briefly before heading over to Wolf Haven International, a wolf sanctuary.

Canvasbacks, etc.

The sanctuary was awesome.

Most of the wolves (all of them?) came to the sanctuary from people who tried to own them as pets.  The above gray wolf, Shadow, was bought by a college kid as a pup and raised in an apartment.  People are stupid.

A pair of Mexican gray wolves were my favorites- Gypsy and Diablo:

The sanctuary participates in a captive breeding program for this endangered subspecies, as well as with red wolves.  They've had some success, which is awesome.  All of the gray wolves are "fixed" so they can't reproduce in captivity.

I think this is London, another gray wolf

Anyway, on Monday I went in search of another Ross's Goose.  I co…

Fruit, flowers, and appliances.

That's right.  Fruit.  Flowers.  Appliances.  These are the gifts that "i used to hate birds" will be expecting tomorrow, its fourth anniversary.  Hallmark says so.  In reality, I have been debating how to celebrate this occasion, and have decided to light a fire, crack open a Jubelale, and tell you all some stories.  Gather round, kids...

Let's take a trip back to the summer of 2009.  I had recently returned from a failed attempt at moving away from Portland- failed because apparently distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder.  I missed this wet and ridiculous city.  I wanted it back as soon as it was in the rearview.  The Portland I returned to was not quite the Portland I left six months earlier.  Friends had moved away, and more were planning to leave.  I was about to be living in a city of acquaintances, fake friends, and ex-boyfriends.  

This sounds kind of terrible but it was really the best thing that could have ever happened.  I started doing stuff that…

Drama time.

As some of you might recall, the last few months I have been exploring Clackamas County to the south of Portland.  I have been heading out there about once week to check out different spots and look for different birds.  I use eBird a lot for sightings, but also Birding Oregon for general location info.  On Tuesday I checked eBird and found a report of a Ross's Goose in the county.

I found the bird through the mist and the fog:

This was only my third Ross's Goose ever.  The first was a few years ago near the coast, then one last winter just appeared before me at Whitaker Ponds.

That said, I was psyched and could not figure out why the bird made its way onto eBird but not on OBOL, so I shared it.  The bird was in a field that was labelled as a "hotspot" on eBird, that can easily be viewed from the road.  It seemed legit to share such a sighting.  That day several people posted that they had seen the bird, possibly a county bird for many.

Things seemed fine.  Till I lo…

Broughton Beach, etc.

Yesterday morning I set out on foot to take care of exactly two tasks: walking the dogs and working on my motorless list.  We left the house at 6:15 to ensure we would reach the river by sunrise, which I was hoping would be a good one...

Not too shabby.  Our destination was Broughton Beach, a roundtrip hike of 12 miles.  Four miles in each direction were spent along the Columbia River.  I saw my first goldeneyes of the season flying by, a handful of distant scaup, and this merganser just east of the Sea Scout Base made me quite happy...

My first new motorless bird of the day, a Red-breasted Merganser!  This is not a bird I've ever seen this far inland, and certainly not in Portland.  Thanks to Number 7 for the verification.   On the rocks between me and the merganser was a lone American Pipit.

Things got a little stinky at one point...

After an hour and a half of walking we finally made it to Broughton Beach, where the gull flock was being a Greater Yellowlegs.