Monday, May 26, 2014

This week's birds.

Last week I took the dogs on a long walk around one of my favorite clearcuts on Larch Mountain.  Not many bird photo ops, but heard lots of good birds and saw lots of wildflowers.  One bird I did manage to photograph was my county Townsend's Solitaire (finally!):

Oregon iris (tough-leaved iris)
Largeflower fairybells
As you know, I took the dogs on a walk along the Marine Drive bike path last week also.  Obviously the weasel was the highlight, but a lone foxglove was cool too...

On Saturday my friend and I went for a hike on Silver Star Mountain up in Washington.   The hike begins with lovely views and they only get better as you go up!

Even with all the cloud cover we could pick out Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood.  On a clear day I imagine you can see even more.

Of course there were flowers...

Giant white fawn lily
Spreading phlox?
Ok, so far not many birds in this post.  Let's change that!  Yesterday I decided to head back to Wasco County to hunt down the Grasshopper Sparrows I missed on my previous visit.  I drove directly to a spot on Tygh Ridge Market Road (thanks eBird!), got out of the car, and found one buzzing away on the barbed wire fence ten feet away.  Easiest life bird ever.

I took the dogs for a walk up the dirt road and found another one...

I really never expected to be the kind of person that gets excited over sparrows.  But I am.  And I was psyched to find a couple of Vespers also along the road...

The scenery along the road was nothing short of lovely...

Hola, HOLA

After that I drove over to the area of Victor, Juniper Flat, and Old Wapinitia Roads.  Western Meadowlarks are always abundant, but they are not always so confiding with their mouths full.

I tracked down some Tricolored Blackbirds in the marsh along Juniper Flat Road where I've seen them before...

I like cows, cows is good.
Bachelor's button at Kelly Cemetery

So this blog post seems to never want to end.  That's what I get for being a lazy poster!  Too much to share.  I made one last stop for the day while driving over the mountains- the Frog Lake snopark area.  I parked in the first main lot, then took the dogs on a walk around the area.

Gray Jay
Hermit Warbler
Alright.  I'm done.  Good times!

Friday, May 23, 2014


On this morning's dog walk on the Marine Drive bike path I noticed a little animal up ahead, running towards us.  What is that?  A squirrel?  A squirrel carrying a baby squirrel?  Nope.

Holy crap!  I think it's a long-tailed weasel but not sure.  How freakin awesome.  Made my week!   Maybe even my month!  Good times!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wasco County.

I spent Saturday hitting up some new and some old spots in Wasco County.  Not much to say today so I'll just skip to the goods...

Western Kingbird, Celilo Park
Cliffs along Highway 206
Cliffs along Highway 206
White-throated Swift, Highway 206
Gold Stars (?), Hwy 206
Lark Sparrow, Old Moody Road
California Quail, Old Moody Road
Old Moody Road
View from Old Moody Road
Agoseris? Yellow salsify
Can't figure these out!  What are they??  Old Moody Road
Fairbanks, Oregon
Company Hollow Road field of flowers I cannot identify Western blue flax
Same flowers
Horned Lark, McCoy Road
Gray Flycatcher, Badger Creek Road (Lifer!)
Bank Swallows, Highway 197

Good times!

Friday, May 16, 2014

This week's birds.

This week has been all about the motorless birding.  Mays Lake, Mason Wetlands, the Columbia River, random Columbia Slough spots, secret lakes and ponds... 

Baby...blackbird? Starling?  Mays Lake

From Wednesday's dogwalk out to Mason Wetlands...

Common Yellowthroat, collecting twigs
Common Yellowthroat, collecting twigs
FOY Yellow Warbler
Mason Wetlands has become one of my regular patches- I've had 71 species there this year alone.  I tend to stay out of the actual wetlands part to avoid disrupting all the birds and animals.  It's not that large of an area so it's easy enough to scan the place with bins from various spots around the wetlands.  But on Wednesday I watched two goobers with binoculars walk right on through, flushing birds left and right...

There are no signs prohibiting this behavior, but still... disheartening.  You don't need to trample everything to see the birds there, and you'd probably see more by not doing this.  Ugh.  Anyway. 

White-crowned Sparrow
Columbia Slough looking deceptively lovely at NE 148th
It's officially Mallard duckling season...

From yesterday's walks...

Wood Ducks, Mays Lake
Along one part of the slough trail I had six different male Black-headed Grosbeaks in like ten yards.  It was nuts.  All but one was singing, the other one was eating.

Cedar Waxwings are back.  They're at every patch, in my yard, everywhere I go.  It's nice.

Brewer's Blackbird
Young starling or cowbird or something along those lines...
That's about it for my motorless stuff.  I added three birds to my year list this week and I'm up to 114.  Not bad!  In other news I have been dealing with something else:

Yeah.  This is a baby raccoon.  It seems they have nested in the roof of a building adjacent to my friend's yard.  This is the second one to have appeared in his yard, the first did not survive a run-in with the dogs.  I told my friend to leave it outside all night where he found it and that mom should come get it.  Unfortunately she never came back and my friend is scared of it so I am the one stuck with dealing with it.  At least it's cute and seems fairly healthy.  Good times!

The one that did not survive, RIP