Thursday, January 30, 2014

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!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The rest of Cape Cod.

There's more to Cape Cod than the beaches.  Wandering around my parents' house and neighborhood can produce awesome birds just as easily.  Here are some of the goodies I found close to their home...


Ok, that one's not real, but it was amazingly carved by my dad!  And now for outside birds...

Mallards on ice

 Worst photo of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ever

Turkeys!

 White-throated Sparrow


 Northern Cardinal


Pine Warbler & goldfinches (through window screen)

It turns out that some life birds are so good that you get to lifer with them twice.  In this case, I found my second lifer Winter Wren in the neighborhood...


Another highlight of my visit was a Baltimore Oriole that has spent the winter at my parents' house.  She seemed to always be around somewhere- pulling up grubs in the backyard, relaxing on the feeder, perching on branches in the front yard.  Pretty cool.


And lastly, some non-birds swimming around and chomping fish in the nearby lake: river otters!


I am quite lucky to have parents that are willing to take me birding when I'm visiting, and I think we all had a lot of fun on this trip.  Good times!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cape Cod Beaches (Part 2)

Let's skip right ahead to my favorite bird of my trip: the Purple Sandpiper.  A bird I had tried for on all of my previous Cape Cod trips.  Finally!  Life bird #1 for 2014:


This fellow was foraging along the shoreline and jetty at Dowses Beach with lots of buddies- more Purples, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, and Dunlin.  It was pretty awesome.


Yes.  That was a good time.  That afternoon I visited West Dennis Beach with my parents to fulfill my promise to my mom that she would see a Snowy Owl during my visit.  Thankfully a small gathering of people already had one in their scope when we arrived.


Rad.  The next morning my dad and I ventured out to Fort Hill in Eastham.  The best birds for me were a couple of American Tree Sparrows and an American Bittern. 


On the way home we stopped by the Chatham Lighthouse beach for some trudging in the sand.


We came across a large flock of Snow Buntings who of course took off...


And that was about it from the beaches of Cape Cod.  Still more to come from my trip.  Good times!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cape Cod Beaches (Part 1)


Last week I spent five days on Cape Cod visiting my parents and enjoying the ridiculously good weather.  We visited some beaches while I was there so I could peep some east coast birds.


Hmm.  That one doesn't look so good.  Here are some better ones...

Great Cormorant, Scusset Beach


Northern Mockingbird, Scusset Beach

 Cooper's Hawk, Scusset Beach


Scusset Beach jetty

American Black Ducks, Ocean Avenue Beach

 Herring Gull, Dowses Beach

Bonaparte's & Herring Gulls, Dowses Beach

 Common Eiders, Dowses Beach

 White-winged Scoter, Dowses Beach


 Great Black-backed Gull

Dead grebe

 Dowses Beach

I think that's enough of that for today... Stay tuned for the next beach post featuring everyone's favorite white owl and my first lifer of 2014.  Good times!!!