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Showing posts from October, 2014

Lists lists lists.

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Siskins are back!  In my yard!  They left in spring of 2013 and did not return until this morning. 

If only you could see the Lesser Goldfinch on the opposite side- finch fest!

Haha you don't care.  It's okay, I understand.  As Seagull Steve wrote recently, "Bird bloggers talking about their lists is some of the most unreadable garbage imaginable. Anything more than a sentence about it is overkill." 

That said,  I've become super stoked on my motorless list this year.  It started with the Pacific Loon last Sunday.  I thought, if I can find one new motorless bird a week for the rest of the year I can tie my motorless list from 2013.  A worthy goal considering I used my bike last year.  Then Monday happened. 

Bike path pipit

I walked to Broughton Beach and picked up Peregrine Falcon along the bike path.  That alone made my day.  Then I got to the beach and started picking through the Western Grebes, looking for the reported Western X Clark's Grebe.  I found …

Local birds and stuff.

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October started off rather innocently, still way too warm and dry for my taste, but here we are now with over four and half inches of rain recorded and temperatures much more comfortable.  The birds have been very active in the yard...

Golden-crowned Sparrow

 Cedar Waxwing


American Goldfinches


Spotted Towhee


Varied Thrush- new yard bird!!  


Dummies.  Sometimes they try to climb the tree and then just fall off about ten feet from the ground.  Serious dummies. 

Yesterday was my dog Jake's ninth birthday and to celebrate I did whatever he wanted to do.  There were pumpkin pancakes, a romp on the beach at Frenchman's Bar without Ralph, dog Halloween cookies, more pumpkin pancakes, a long walk up to the river with Ralph, and a new Halloween sweater.  I sneaked some birding in as well.

Sandhill Cranes, Lower River Road


The last couple weeks I have started to really scan the river in hopes of finding non-Common Loons and finally yesterday I found a Pacific Loon!  Motorless year bird #127! …

Hood River.

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I spent this cool fall morning birding Hood River (the city), to work on my Hood River (the county) list with some moderate success.  Let me explain Hood River to those that are unfamiliar.  It's Oregon's version of a California beach town, known for windsurfing and kiteboarding, as well as home to the Full Sail brewery and Tofurky  There is no shortage of wet suits or hippies here.  There is apparently a shortage of dog leashes. 


I hit up three main birding spots:  The Spit, Indian Creek Trail, and The Hook.   The Spit juts out into the Columbia River,  separating Hood River from Nichols Basin.  I just learned from this website that there was a proposal to build a crazy cable park in Nichols Basin but it will thankfully not be happening.  Anyway.  The first bird added to my county list here was a Great Blue Heron, posing by the reflection of gas prices.


The trees and shrubs lining the spit were filled with Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets…

Ridgefield NWR.

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Yesterday at Ridgefield reminded me why I used to spend so much time there.  Lots of mammal action plus birds including lots of first-of-season species. 


Let's start with this fellow above.  This is a muskrat.  He is cute.  For those that get muskrats and nutria confused, here is a nutria:


Note the big whiskers, the ugly face, the big eyes (relative to the muskrat's), the white on the nose and face.  Ok, back to the muskrat.  This muskrat looked like he was just lounging around but really he was busy.  Him and his buddy were upset.  There was a snake in the grass.  And by a snake, I mean a mink.


The mink had a dead frog.  He stopped to check out the paparazzi, then remembered that he had pissed off some muskrats.



Unfortunately the frog got dropped in the chase.  The mink was determined to retrieve it, but that meant going back into muskrat territory.  He stared at me while he thought about this.


Once the muskrats returned to the water the mink made a mad dash for it.


Success!…