Sunday, March 31, 2013

Owls.

Yesterday morning I took the dogs for a walk over to check on the Great Horned Owl nest near my house.  We hadn't visited in a week and I was psyched to find the owlet had fledged!  I was creeping around at a distance, trying to keep a low pro, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye:


AH!  Nothing like skulking around in the trees thinking no one sees you when suddenly there's an owl staring you down at ten feet.  Anyway, I was unable to get a very good angle on the owlet but I returned this morning to check again.  Much better!
 

So damn cute.  I was able to pick up a couple of souvenirs on each visit too.  Yesterday I found a nice feather and stuck it in a pot with my Barn Owl feather from Sauvie Island...


This morning I picked up a pellet hoping I could dissect it and maybe figure out what they have been eating.  I actually didn't have to do that because shortly after finding the pellet I found this:


Bunnies!  They've been eating bunnies!  Good to know. 


I'll be back to visit them again soon.  And maybe there will be fewer bunnies driving the dogs crazy. 

Another owl I saw recently, a lifer in fact, was this Northern Saw-whet Owl:


Terrible photos, amazing bird.  Good times!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hummers.

Yesterday afternoon I was treated to fantastic views of an Anna's Hummingbird family.  One young bird had fledged that morning and another was still in the nest.  Mom was zipping around, stopping by to feed several times while I was there. 

The fledged bird:


The bird still in the nest:


Mom feeding the fledgeling...


And the nestling...


And finally, Mom taking a rest...


Pretty cute stuff.  Too cute you might suggest.  So here's a snake:


Many thanks are owed to Rhett and Scott Carpenter!  Good times!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recent birds.

Greetings.  It's been a whole week since my last post.  In addition to being busy my internet has been totally terrible. Brilliant me just realized I had another cable jack that I could plug my modem into that works fantastically so here we go!

All of my birding lately has been from dog walks or the yard...

Spotted Towhee, Mason Wetlands

Lesser Goldfinches, yard

Eurasian Collared-Dove, yard

 Dead fish, Columbia River

Live fish, Columbia River

American Crow, divebombing a Red-tailed along Marine Drive

Cooper's (yes?) Hawk, near Marine Drive

Asylum of loons, Columbia River

Yesterday I saw my first Osprey of the year, who promptly showed off his fishing skills by catching a fish right in front of me... 



 As the Osprey flew off a Bald Eagle showed up and attempted a similar fishing feat.  And failed.


Good times!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Garden weekend.

I hate to break it to you, but I didn't do that much birding this weekend.  Scratch that, I didn't take that many pictures this weekend.  No, that's not quite right either... I just didn't take many photos of birds.  There we go.  I took some long dog walks which resulted in only two new motorless birds- coot and Wood Duck.  I am now at 70 species for the year and seriously considering a motorless birding spring. 

Anyhoo.  I did a whole lotta gardening this weekend.  Stuff's blooming.   It's cool.

 Camellia (as identified by Michele)

The dogs are pretty helpful in the garden.  Ralph digs holes to snooze in and Jake keeps an eye on the new poodle thing next door.  And sometimes they both lay around oblivious to birds creeping behind them...

Golden-crowned Sparrow lurking while Jake eats a bone

 I found a little feather in the garden...


 In the same area of the garden is a tree.  I don't know what kind.  A small tree.  The tree I have hung my feeders on since I moved in.  I had never crawled around it much until the other day, and check out what I found...


Um... What?  There are wires inside some kind of a hose, coming out of at least four different places on the tree.  Trees can be such unsuspecting badasses. 

That's about it.  Now it's raining and hopefully everything I planted this weekend is gulping it all down gleefully.   Good times!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dog walks.

Over the last week I have taken the dogs on lots of walks.  Well, a few.  Good ones, though!  Last weekend I celebrated the first day of an extra hour of light by visiting my local Great Horned Owl nest at dusk.  I was overjoyed (yeah, I just wrote that) to find two parents and one fuzzy owlet!  I checked on them again today and found the same...

Owl family, last Sunday

Owl family, today

Last weekend I walked the dogs out to a new spot, possibly called Mason Wetlands.


It looked like great habitat and I counted 28 species including a couple recent arrivals- Violet-green and Tree Swallows.  I went back over to the 162nd Ave Water Quality Facility also.  This one tree was keeping chickadees and sparrows extremely entertained...


Back to yesterday's walk... I had just walked up to the Columbia and found no birds in the water- no scaup, no grebes, no goldeneyes, no loons... Disappointed I said to the dogs "Well, this is effing boring."  Then a sea lion jumped out of the water!


It was hard to keep track of and eventually disappeared completely.  But still awesome- only my second one in Portland!  We stopped at a rocky spot I like to think of as my new beach.  The dogs cooled off in the water while a Bald Eagle screeched behind us- probably the same one that was eating that raccoon a few weeks ago.


A Common Merganser swam by at one point...


That's about it.  I added quite a few birds to my motorless list last weekend, and hopefully I will get my bike fixed up soon to really get going on it.  Good times!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sherman & Wasco Counties

I went on a bit of an adventure yesterday out to Sherman and Wasco Counties.  I started with a three hour hike at Deschutes River State Recreation Area, an awesome park I blogged about last April.  Like my previous trip, the dogs were stoked on our hike:


Ok so Jake was tired at this point, but Ralph was stoked.  We started our hike along the river trail and found several of each goldeneye swimming...

Barrow's Goldeneyes

From the river trail we headed up to the middle trail and eventually to the upper (can't recall the name) trail, led by the sounds of Canyon Wrens.  A Rock Wren was singing from a...rock...


Canyon Wrens were singing from the canyon walls- I have heard them many times before but had never gotten a visual.  Yesterday I was determined to find one and I did!  Too far for good photos, but here's one anyway:


Yay!   I can finally count it as a lifer.  We eventually made it to the peak of the trail (I think) and sat down to take a rest.  Jake actually fell asleep on the trail while I took some scenery shots...


After the park we headed west to drive down 97 and then 216 to Wasco County.  The drive was beautiful and I finally saw my first Oregon Northern Shrike!


My reason for driving so far south was to visit Victor Road, an area I had visited last July.  Someone (actually a customer at my work!) had found a flock of wintering Tricolored Blackbirds along this road, possibly the same ones seen last summer at nearby Juniper Flats Road.  They were quite easy to find.  I almost had a nice comparison shot of a Tricolored and a Red-winged but the Tri would not cooperate and then they both flew off.


Here are a few of the Tricoloreds...


On the other side of the road it looked like a horse was getting its eyes gouged out by Red-wingeds...


Here's one last zoomed in shot of the Tricoloreds, so you can see how different they look from the Red-wingeds while on the ground...


 Now, the real bird of the day was the Rough-legged Hawk.  I saw at least 8, probably more.  Some were super skittish and some let me look right up at them. 


The last bird of the day was along 216 on my way home- a Prairie Falcon!


 Such an excellent day for birds!  Good times!