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Showing posts from August, 2013

I must see birds.

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There's a new book in town this week.  Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Sarah Swanson and Max Smith.  Full disclosure: I have five photos featured in this book.  Nothing I say about this book is to be trusted.  Ignore all of this, and read on...


As you can read on the cover, the book showcases 85 species that can be found in the northwest.  Mind you, these are not necessarily birds that can be found only here but also common birds that can be found across the country.  In some ways it's a book for beginner birders and I imagine for a Portlander, it would make an excellent companion to the pocket-sized Birds of the Willamette Valley, a book I used every day when I started birding. 

The birds are organized in a way I bet you have never seen before.  Not by color, not by taxonomy, not by alphabet.  Nope.  The birds are broken down into sections such as Big Birds, Tree Trunk Birds, and my favorite, Killer Birds.  The Great Blue Heron pages are not near the Green Heron p…

Weekend birds.

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This weekend I packed in some yard birding, a trip up to Ridgefield NWR, and an owl hunt failure at Oaks Bottom.  Good times had by all.  Well, except Jake, who had his cyst removed on Friday morning along with a dead tooth.  He's been spending the weekend relaxing...

Oblivious to the Eurasian Collared-Dove on the birdbath

Here are the weekend highlights...

Western Tanager, Ridgefield NWR

 Bald Eagle, Ridgefield NWR

 American Kestrel, Ridgefield NWR

This Cooper's Hawk at Oaks Bottom this morning was chasing squirrels in the most awkward and clumsy manner.  I watched him for about ten minutes trying to figure out his gameplan, but not sure he had one.


Ralph could relate- he also spent some time chasing squirrels and failing this weekend. 

Oaks Bottom buddy

Anna's Hummingbirds have been extremely active in the yard lately.  They love a lot of flowers but surprisingly, the tiny twinberry flowers seem to be their favorite.  I put out a hummingbird feeder right next to it on Saturda…

The best little mudflat in town.

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Saturday morning I kicked my butt out of bed to go on another motorless morning adventure.  I was dragging but once I got outside on my bike and saw the skies, well, it all became worthwhile...



I rode by Broughton Beach but didn't see anything too exciting.  At Vanport Wetlands, without a scope, I couldn't ID any shorebirds at all- except a Greater Yellowlegs and that was by call.  Force Lake had frogs and Green Herons, Smith Lake had a goose with a busted wing.  So pretty much all my main stops were failures.


From Smith Lake I took the bike path down to the Columbia Slough path, hoping the slough had dried up enough to make some mud.  Indeed it had.  I stopped at a bridge to look at the mud below and it was offering up a nice little mix of shorebirds.  Ok, so maybe it's not the best mudflat in town, but this one offered the unique opportunity to stand over the birds and at a reasonable distance...

Oh and the birds in the shade looked like they were walking on the moon.  …

I heart terns.

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To celebrate having a Friday off, as well as Jake's mystery lump turning out to be a benign cyst, I headed west with the dogs to hunt down the Elegant Terns that have been peppering the Oregon coast this week.  Before heading to the Hammond Boat Basin, where the terns have been the last couple of days, I stopped by Seaside Cove to get my rockpiper fix.

A Black Turnstone turns away from the awkward sword-crossing of a Surfbird and an oystercatcher



 Black Oystercatchers are never this accommodating

Busted Heermann's Gulls everywhere today...

That's a good place for a tongue.

Our next stop was Hammond, where another Heermann's Gulls was looking funky...


I don't even know what is going on there.  Here's a nice regular sexy Heermann's to help you erase the previous monstrosities from your mind:


Ok, that's enough of that.  On to the terns!  Right here:


You see them right???  These rocks were just smothered with birds, but thankfully mostly grey birds making whit…

Summertime motorless birding.

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I have been majorly slacking this summer on the motorless birding.  I realized I only added a couple birds to my year list in June and ZERO in July.   Oops.  So yesterday I headed out on my bike to Troutdale to hopefully add some new birds.  I stopped along the Columbia River to look at a heron majestically posing in front of the sunrise and noticed a little Common Merganser family...


The next distraction I encountered was a recently roadkilled skunk on Marine Drive.  I could seriously poke dead stuff ALL day long.  It fascinates me to no end.  Plus this guy was adorable:


I also stopped to watch a couple of Osprey attempt to perch on the same piling with a large fish.  Eventually one Osprey won the spot and the other flew around calling (the "winner" was under attack by Purple Martins though, and decided to take off with the fish).  Here's the "loser":


And a bad shot of the winner, just to show the size of the fish...


Eventually I made it to Troutdale, stopping…