Showing posts from April, 2015

Polk County.

Yesterday I set out to do some exploring around Polk County, an area that begins barely an hour south of Portland.  eBird said I had only seen 8 birds there which seems ridiculous.  My main destinations were Baskett Slough NWR and the foothills of the Coast Range near Falls City.

Baskett Slough

The narrows along Colville Road was the most productive stop I made with a calling Sora, flyby Green Heron, and a sneaky snipe.

It looked like someone had just spread some seed and the blackbirds, Mallards, coots, and geese were all poking around one spot.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Multiple icterid photo fail. 

This fancy female Red-winged was struttin her stuff, making all the other ladies feel inadequate:

Up the hill from the narrows a couple of Turkey Vultures were warming up for the day.

Further up the road, a kestrel spooked from the field.

After a couple hours at Baskett Slough I headed out to Falls City and beyond.  I followed Black Rock Road out of town and into the trees along the Little Lu…

More wildflowers and pretty crap.

Yesterday I went back out to the gorge to drool over more wildflowers.  I hiked up Marsh Hill from the Memaloose Viewpoint, and to McCall Point at Rowena Crest.  There was never a point where things weren't ridiculously pretty.

Paintbrush and lupine

I don't know what these little seed pod things are but they're so cool-looking:

There are several kinds of desert parsley around, from what I understand, and they all smell delicious.  My sweatshirt pocket became filled with little pieces so I could keep smelling it.

Blue-eyed mary

Agoseris or hawksbeard?  I am confused. 

Checker lily, I think

The top of Marsh Hill is just a huge field of balsamroot.

I was psyched to see a Western Kingbird actively fly-catching from one of the oaks at the top.  First one of the year.

The view from Marsh Hill:

On our my from Memaloose to Rowena Crest I stopped along a gravel road where there was some of this awesome camas (camassia leichtlinii?) blooming:

The view from the beginning of the trail at…

Motorless update.

Fun fact:  when I'm out riding my bike for my motorless bird list Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" often pops into my head and I start singing "Motor-less!  What's your price for fight... "  If it's a particularly long and uneventful ride I will start making up bird-related lyrics that I refuse to share here.  Make up your own.

I've been a bit more methodical in my motorless birding this year and it's paying off.  I stand at 110 for the year, a number I did not hit till May last year (and June the year before).  Last week I rode out to Mason Wetlands and the Columbia Slough one morning.

On that morning I picked up Orange-crowned and Black-throated Gray Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Vaux's Swift, Barn and Northern Rough-Winged Swallows, and Lincoln's Sparrow.

Another afternoon I rode out to Broughton Beach, Force Lake, and Vanport Wetlands.

Cliff Swallow (#99), Sea Scout Base

Cinnamon Teal (#103), Vanport Wetlands

That day I added Sav…