May Day.

In my neverending quest for Mountain Quail, I convinced my friend to go for a long hike near Johnson Road in Washington County yesterday.  It was mid-day when we got there, no quail were found, but we found a lot of other cool stuff.

The first interesting bird we came across was a Western Kingbird.  I can't remember ever seeing a kingbird at a clearcut before, and it was the only flycatcher we saw all day.

Nearby I saw my first House Wren of the year...

Did I mention it was hot out?  I cancelled my Birdathon motorless adventure day because the forecast was for record-breaking high temperatures (it was 89 in Portland).  We took a break in one of the small patches of trees surrounded by clearcuts where a Townsend's Solitaire was calling forever and a junco kept an eye on us...

A bit up the road I was following the sounds of a Wilson's Warbler when something in the road started scooting away.  I tracked this cool lizard into the salal:

Anyone know what it is?  Or know of a good reptile/amphibian/etc field guide?  Apparently I am lacking one.  Nearby was a chipmunk...

We were starting to head back towards the truck, but got distracted by another trail, then some deer tracks, then who knows what.  Anyway, we made a big loop through some more trees and found some more birds...

Red-breasted Sapsucker
Gray Jay
The most random birds of the day had to be these American White Pelicans circling overhead...

SO random.  After our three-hour hike in the hot sun we headed to Vernonia to sit in the shade and eat some lunch.  While there my friend remembered one of the abandoned buildings we missed on our last visit to Vernonia, the old lumber mill on Vernonia Lake. 

Pretty cool!  There are some other structures around too but this is the main one.  The mill was open from 1924 until 1957, and not sure if the building has been used at all since (for anything besides spray painting weiners and whatnot). 

Our last stop of the day was the Horseshoe Trestle that crosses Highway 47.  This was part of the old railroad line that closed down once the mills in the area closed.  Much of the railroad became the Banks-Vernonia rails to trails bike trail, but this trestle is technically off-limits.

Trail, no trail
There was little baby nest hanging from one of the many baby alders... Who's in there?

And the trestle...

View from the top
View from the bottom
Knowing that I walked across a trestle that is FOUR times as high as this one makes want to throw up a little bit.  Thankfully we never saw that one from the bottom.

Spending all day in the heat and sun really took a toll on me, but thankfully I woke up feeling all better.  Good times!!


  1. Very cool.

    So many abandoned buildings out there in the wild!

    Is that harp a Northern Alligator?

  2. I think Laurence is right about Northern Alligator, but I don't think it's a harp...looks more like a clarinet.

    Looks like fun. I'm forgetting what hills and mountains look like.

  3. You guys are such adventurers!

  4. What a fun outing! Sorry about missing the quail. But the birds seen were great to me. I love the Sapsucker.. Happy Birding!

  5. I think that northern alligator is the only lizard I have seen in northwest Oregon. I have an old Peterson Guide to western Reptiles and Amphibians that works pretty well. There is probably a newer and better edition out there.

  6. We got hit by some hot weather too! Time to sweat I reckon..blah! Great spot y'all picked no way I'd go on that trestle unless a $200 bill was involved~ Another awesome post!


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