Monday, April 28, 2014

Wildflowers and crap

This weekend I got up to Larch Mountain a couple of times, plus out to eastern parts of the Columbia River Gorge.  The running theme was awesome wildflowers which I have become way more interested in than ever before.  I even paid eight bucks for the new Oregon Wildflowers app that OSU just released.

Western Corydalis, identified by Michele, not the wildflower app (Larch Mountain)
The trip up to Larch on Saturday was inspired by my friend recently buying a first generation 4runner and being excited to take it out somewhere cool.  As we were driving up Brower Road my friend caught sight of an owl...

Barred Owl
We did some exploring of random abandoned houses in the woods...

One house had a bunch of newspaper pages from January 1974.  The rental section was most amusing to me... 1612 N Killingsworth, a one bedroom in a 3-plex, $88 a month.

There were some pages of Sunday comics from the 80's also.  I probably read the same ones over donuts as a kid. 

Our last stop on Saturday was at Dodge Park in Sandy for some snacks and a spontaneous hike.

There were more western corydalis flowers around, as well as these cool ones:

I'm not sure what they are, though they look kind of like fairy bells.  Learning to ID wildflowers kind of feels like learning to ID birds all over again.  Hopefully someday it will click more and I can at least figure out what part of the field guide to look in...

Sunday my friend and I went east towards Rowena Crest because I really wanted to see the balsamroot explosion that is going on.  At the Memaloose viewpoint there were amazing views and TONS of balsamroot to frolic in.

Common vetch (vicia sativa)
From the Memaloose viewpoint we found a random trail and started to follow it...

Balsamroot, lupine, paintbrush

Along this trail I saw the biggest bumble bee I have ever seen.  My friend was less impressed.

Yellow or Sonoran bumble bee?
Groundsel...but which variety?
Few-flowered pea?
Maiden blue-eyed mary
Oh right.  This blog is supposed to be about birds.  Here are a couple that were along the trail...

Chipping Sparrow
Stupid empid
After the rain started we made our way back down the trail to the car, getting pretty soaked and hailed upon along the way.  Next stop was along a gravel road we decided to investigate...

White-crowned Sparrows
We climbed up a hill for a better view...

Balsamroot for days
We drove farther up Highway 30 and stopped at the Dry Creek Bridge to take a look.  This stop turned into a long and sometimes perilous hike, but with outstanding views...

Fennel in front?
Chocolate lily? 
Western wallflower
Hope you don't mind this wildflower diversion!  You might not believe this but I am sparing you quite a few more flowers in an attempt to keep this post under control.  Let me know if you have any ID help to offer (wildflower or empid).

In other news my Birdathon plans might be occurring this week!  Stay tuned for a crazy motorless day coming soon.  Are you planning to pledge me?  Better do it soon!  Just go here for more info.

Good times!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Recent stuff.

So much birding, so little proof.  I'm going to see what I can dig up from the last week for you, but really there just haven't been a lot of photo ops.  And just to make sure you are not disappointed, let me clarify that there are absolutely NO RUSTIC BUNTINGS in this post.  I was 30 minutes late to that party. 

Mallard fight, Lake Sammamish parking lot (WA)

Eurasian Collared-Dove and Lesser Blue Wood Jay

Western Bluebird, Larch Mountain

FOY Warbling Vireo, Columbia Slough bike path

                      Dead Barn Owl, hanging in tree, Shillapoo Wildlife Area

FOY Western Kingbird, Shillapoo Wildlife Area

White-crowned X Golden-crowned Sparrow, Shillapoo Wildlife Area

Curious cows, Vancouver Lowlands (and yes, Jake made out with one or two of them)

Red-breasted Sapsucker, Mount Tabor

Wilson's Snipe, Airport Way

Robin and worm

That's pretty much it from recent outings.  I'm up to 106 for my motorless list and hope to add more next week once it stops raining so much.  Good times!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ridgefield, etc.

Lately I've been spending most of my birding time focusing on my motorless list, but this week the weather got a little chilly/rainy so I decided some car birding wouldn't be the worst idea.  Here's what was going on at Ridgefield...

First goslings of the year.  Always cute.

Cinnamon Teals
Wilson's Snipe
Greater Yellowlegs

Blue-winged Teal

 Common Yellowthroat

Booming American Bittern

So yeah, some alright birds up there, but nothing crazy.  This week's motorless birding walks have included walks to Johnson Lake, Mays Lake, Mason Wetlands, lots of Columbia Slough spots, and lots of spots along Airport Way.  On Monday I found a Black-throated Gray Warbler near Johnson Lake...

I also did my best to turn an Orange-crowned Warbler into a Palm Warbler.  I failed.


Yesterday at Mason Wetlands I added Vaux's Swift and Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Of course I easily ID'ed that hawk in seconds.  Haha. 

This morning I walked the dogs to a bunch of regular spots, not really finding much of interest.  On the way home we stopped at one last spot where I was hoping to find Cinnamon Teals.  It's a marshy spot behind some office buildings where I have never found anything interesting ever.  And yet I keep going back, because I am insane. 

But today!  Today I flushed two Wilson's Snipes!  I felt bad for the flush but great because that was a new county bird for me!   They landed on the opposite side of the marsh where a Virginia Rail started up its kidick sound.  Two motorless birds!  No photos!  Good times!!