Friday afternoon I kicked off my weekend right and proper with seeing my first Lapland Longspur.  Photos were damn near impossible as we flushed the bird several times and never got to see it on the ground.  Regardless, it was a fun time and I now know the inner workings of the famous Portland longspur field.

Feeling good, I decided to head to Tillamook yesterday morning to take down a couple nemeses once and for all.  Some of you may be aware of my MANY attempts at White-tailed Kites at Tillamook Bay Wetlands.  If you were not aware before, then now you are.  I have tried and failed at this location so many times it is ridiculous and embarrassing.  But as I drove west I decided that it was time to put the matter to rest.

Thankfully I remembered to wear my rain boots so my feet stayed dry while I trudged through the mud with the mutts.  A Black Phoebe was flycatching in the first pond we passed, a good omen as this was a bird I've also missed here before.  Farther along the trail I noticed a bird at the top of a tree...

Oh snap, a Northern Shrike!  Yet another bird that has driven me nuts at this location.  Ooh things were getting good!  The shrike flew and it looked like it may have landed nearby.  Once I got the next tree in view I saw a small white bird on top and initially assumed it was the shrike, until I got my bins on it...

A juvenile White-tailed Kite!  The bird took off quickly but I trudged on to see if I could relocate it.  I never found that bird again, but even better, I found a beautiful adult!

Blogger is insisting on adding its own saturation to this photo and it is driving me nuts... wahhh...

 Wah... this photo too... wtf??

 The wetlands really treated me well this time around.  Some other goodies...

Hermit Thrush

 Typical Steller's Jay shot

My last sighting at the wetlands was a long-time customer at my work who is also a birder, David Mandell.    It was fun to see him and his wife and of course, their awesome dog, Max, so far from home.

Driving back to 101 along Goodspeed Road I stopped to photograph a more cooperative Black Phoebe perched on a barn.

My next big stop was Barview Jetty where I was hoping to find some rockpipers.  I immediately noticed this swirling flock of birds on the far side of the channel:

 When zoomed in you can see it's well over a hundred Surfbirds!  Wild.

I ventured down the jetty to look for some at a closer range.  Out in the ocean a sea lion had just caught this huge fish and was thrashing about trying to scarf it down...

I think the hilarity translates even in this terrible photo

Pacific Loon: the loon of choice at this location

After walking pretty far out on the jetty I finally found a small group of rockpipers, including Black Turnstones, Surfbirds, and a lone Rock Sandpiper.  I witnessed a brief turnstone/Surfbird make-out session...


 Rock Sandpiper

Rock Sandpiper & Surfbird (best comparison shot I got)

And one last group shot...

This really made me happy because this was only my second experience with a Rock Sandpiper.  Pretty neat little bird.

Overall an amazing morning in Tillamook County.  I will leave you with a shot of the beautiful Tillamook Coast Guard Station in Garibaldi...

Let the nightmares ensue!  Good times!!!!


  1. What a great day in Tillamook - glad you finally got your Kite plus all the other goodies! Can I put a link to your Tilly blog on TillamookBirder.com? Love the Surfbird/Turnstone shot - how funny. And the huge flock of Surfbirds. I have yet to get a Mandell sighting in Tillamook county!

  2. Congrats on your Kite sighting, Jen! Both the juvenile and the adult are cool looking birds. Wonderful variety of birds and photos. Love the surfbirds! Happy Birding!

  3. GREAT SUCCESS! There were rumors of your GBRS score getting a boost, now I can see why.

    I think a few months ago something changed with how blogger uploads pictures; shit is not as good as it used to be.

    1. Ooh ooh, am I out of the six digit figures yet?

    2. I'll have to ask GBRS. They are not known for being open and transparent with their birder stats.

  4. hehe, great post and photos Jen.

    What will you do with yourself now that the Kite has been slain as a nemesis? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts...

  5. Good stuff. Love the Surfbird shot. Jealous of all those rockpipers.

  6. Wow, Lapland and Rock Sandpiper!!! You got everything you could have possibly hoped for at every location.

    That's some successful birding!


    1. Thanks, Rhett! Though I was secretly hoping the Tropical Kingbird would still be at the wetlands...

  7. Glad you got the kite. I have the shrike on my 'must see before of the end of the year' list. Hope I can get one. Looks like a nice beach trip!

  8. Love the kites et al and am feeling icky about the clown.

  9. Was looking for bird updates at Tillamook and your blog popped up. What a great blog. Looks like you have a Northern Goshawk up there in your header, cool thing is it is either closing or opening is nictitating membrane. Cool close up, must have ventured up to Boney Butte. :) My dog and I might hit Tillamook tomorrow, hope to see some of the same.

    Bob Archer

    1. Hi Bob, yep that goshawk is from Bonney Butte. Thanks for the kind words, good luck at the coast!

  10. The Tropical Kingbirds were at the bend in Goodspeed Rd yesterday. Sorry you missed them. We saw a young kite too, maybe the same one. Thanks again for the Rock Sandpiper tip!
    You sharing info on Lapland Longspurs? Taking your sloppy seconds is working out pretty well for me. ;)

  11. Hi Jen,

    Just found your blog. We were out today looking for our Kite, no success. Tried the Nehalem Bay Sewage Treatment Center yesterday. We thought we saw one in the distance this morning from our hotel window at the Ashley Inn, in Tillamook, looking toward the ocean range. Drove around some of the roads out to the spit. Where exactly were you? Thanks, Laura

    1. Hi Laura,

      The kites I found were at Tillamook Bay Wetlands, aka Rain River. This area is accessed from Goodspeed Road, just off 101 in Tillamook. The road takes a sharp right and then a sharp left, and just past the blue (I think it's blue) house on the left there is a small parking area with a sign. The road continues to the right and the trail is on the left. The birds I saw were maybe half a mile to a mile down the trail. Some folks have luck right in the parking area. Good luck!

  12. Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much for the info. We will make another run sometime, hopefully with a new camera.


Post a Comment