Recent adventures closer to home.

It's been a weirdly dry January here, which is freaky but also allows for lots of outdoor wanderings.  Last week I went up to Ridgefield in bright sunshine one day...

Northern Harrier

 American Bittern

 A possum failed to heed this warning...

...and got chopped in half.

On the way home I stopped by Marine Park in Vancouver to look for the reported Tufted Duck.

I found him easily, strongly backlit but relatively close to shore...

Over the weekend my friend and I went looking for an abandoned barn near Vernonia.  Never found it but found lots of other fun stuff. 

This old train trestle provided lots of good potential for exploring.  A path of planks just below the tracks was extremely tempting to follow, but given how weak some of the wood felt we both wussed out.

These crazy shroomy things were on a stick on the tracks in the above photo...

Along a creek in the town of Vernonia I found a hunk of kingfisher including some awesome feathers...

And nearby, these tracks:

Raccoon?  A few days ago I took the dogs out to Sauvie Island to help me look for a reported Rough-legged Hawk and a Swamp Sparrow.  Missed the hawk but found the sparrow and a strangely curious cormorant on Rentenaar Road...

Stoked!  Only my third Swamp Sparrow ever.  And the dogs were stoked for some beach time afterwards...

Good times!!!


  1. Nice. That possum cut is surgical. Always love Swamp Sparrows. Love seeing the hounds, too. Many blessings.

  2. Damn swamp sparrow. And you have a photo to prove it. You have a knack for finding dead stuff that's for sure. But evidently you didn't find the duck head on a post at the end of Rentenaar road? I'll have to send you a photo. Like the new blog look. The colors are easy on the eyes.

    1. Oh wow, a duck head? I didn't make it to the end of the road that day...

  3. I think those little fungi are called birdnests....with their wee eggs inside. Course I didn't look it up, just googled it in my mind.

    1. Oh you're right! "Nidulariaceae, commonly known as Bird's Nest Fungi." Thanks!

  4. Fun times and cute doggies. Love the Bittern shot and your dogs! The fungi is neat! Happy Birding and have a great weekend!

  5. Nice birding! I thought you were gonna find a Barn Owl under that train trestle.

    Okay, so you know I don't necessarily pay attention to passerines, but you should know that my Oregon list lacks Swamp Sparrow. Would I love to see one? Yes. Would I drive all the way to Ridgefield or Sauvie for one? No. It's always an awesome find around here though. Congrats on doing so well with them!

    1. Ha, "all the way" to Sauvie. Says the man who drove all the way to eastern WA for owls...

  6. Your header photo is so AWESOME! Great finds as always! Poor possum...

  7. Sweet stuff Jen.
    All of your photos have a saturated northwestern feel to them and I love it, as well as the hemisected opossums and other cool stuff I find here to satisfy my macabre interests.

    That Cormorant still looks Double-cresteddy, but I wonder how long it will be before Neotropics continue their incursion through Arizona and up into CA and OR.

    I envy you your Tufted Duck. Have a great week.

  8. OH that shot of your boys is just way too cute for words!! Awesome day of birding Jen, I have seen a man cut in half by a train, in my paramedic days, but never an opossum, awful!
    That's a def Stand by Me the trestle and track shots! Cool that you saw the Tufted Duck!!!


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