Clackamas County.

Clackamette Park

I went down to Clackamas county yesterday to try to do some birding between rain and hail showers.  Clackamette Park was flooding on both the Clackamas and the Willamette sides, pushing the gull flocks into the parking lot.  I decided to try to find a Thayer's among them, and actually had a couple good candidates.

The above gull seemed to follow the guidelines as laid out by Seagull Steve recently.  Be sure to check out his awesomely helpful Thayer's Gull post.  So this gull up there- rounded head, yellow/green bill, pale iris but not crazy Herring Gull pale, "black eye" look (suggested by someone else on my last gull post), and the underside of the right wing looks pale- though I get a little confused when I try to use that as a field mark.

Another candidate:

The above bird looks very similar to the previous bird.  Now a third bird, which also has a pale iris, but I find a bit more confusing.   Viewing the underside to the wings at this angle is what gets me confused, I can't tell what I'm looking at exactly. 

So as you can see, after staring at gulls for awhile I start trying to turn everything into a Thayer's.  It's a problem.  Perhaps I have learned nothing at all.

Clearly mocking me

I am also interested in this other gull that was wandering around the parking lot... It has a semi-pale iris, but to me has that Glaucous-winged look to its head...

Here's a super cropped head shot:

It's entirely possible I am overthinking this bird.

Ok, enough gulls.  Clackamette Park has a large and bold pigeon population.  While I was looking at the gulls they flew up and landed all around us, walking right up to me and the dogs. 

Pigeons!   What am I doing?  Why am I showing you pigeons???  Sorry.  Got carried away.  Here's a shot of the Clackamas River flooding at the park:

After Clackamette Park I went over to Meldrum Bar Park where I was treated to a new experience:  a weird duck three-way. 

You can see the domestic-y Mallard is doing the dirty work, while another domestic-y Mallard watches.  What you can't see is that a white domestic thing is also joining in...

I'm a little hazy on the white duck's exact role in this sexscapade, but no one seemed bothered by it. 

This park is a little odd- there's a muddy bmx course, a boat launch, some huge fields and community gardens, and a feral cat population that people leave food out for...

Oh!  There's also free bark dust and dirt!  I filled five garbage bags with the bark dust and might go back for more. 

Good times!!!


  1. Did you know there would be free bark dust? Do you just carry 5 garbage bags around in your car with you for when you stumble upon free bark dust? The bark dust part has me more intrigued than the gulls do obviously! :)

    1. Ha! There was a gas station nearby that I ran to for a box of garbage bags. I would have filled more but those five pretty much filled the trunk.

  2. Sick. Gull 1 and 2 look like THGU to me. Gull 3 is not quite as obvious due to its larger heft, but as you said the underside of the primaries looks good and it could be a 3rd-cycle male THGU (and if not THGU, GWGU X HERG would be my next choice). Gull 4 looks like an Olympic (varying degrees of blackness in the primaries, otherwise recalls WEGU) and gull 5 looks good for GWGU.

  3. From a scientific perspective, Mallard reproduction is very interesting. Males have corkscrew shaped penises that can reach up to 14 inches, and females have "false" channels to divert the male's penis in order to prevent the sperm from getting to the right spot, which is how the females deal with unwanted mates. You can read more about it at or at

    Of course, none of this explains the role of that all white duck...

  4. Nifty post, in an eerie Acid Park kinda way.

    Loved it

  5. Two nice, clear, crisp Thayer's Gulls! Well done!

    Your blog is taking on a whole new theme between snow penises and corkscrew Mallard weenies. If I don't comment anymore, it's because my mother has banned me from following.

    1. Your mother is realllllly going to hate my next post.

  6. The shot of pigeons in flight is simply gorgeous. The bare branches, the moody clouds, the birds in all stages of flight -- it's mesmerizing.

  7. Great shots of the gulls, Jen! The pigeons have lovely colors. I had a chuckle over the crazy Mallards. Happy birding and have a great weekend!

  8. Just a lucky Duck I guess!!
    I am never able to ID gulls, Im taking everyone's word for it, and congratin' you also on finding your target bird!! I love pigeons, when I lived in NYC people call them flying Rats! I always enjoyed seeing them!

  9. Interesting though I'm not very keen about people feeding feral cat populations....


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