Showing posts from August, 2015

The coast and stuff.

Yesterday I took a drive out to the north coast with my friend to check out a few spots for terns and shorebirds, stopping at the Hammond Boat Basin first.

The Elegant Terns have re-terned (shoot me now) and put on a decent show.

Sometimes I think terns are my favorite birds.

The other birds around were all usual suspects:  a few murres on the water,  piles of pelicans and gulls, cormorants, a couple Spotted Sandpipers, and a young Turkey Vulture that swooped down to the rocks behind us.

On the walk back to the car I noticed a fuzzy caterpillar on the grass, perhaps a Yellow Woolly Bear?  If so, it's a Virginia Tiger Moth in the making...

The next stop was the South Jetty at Fort Stevens where we walked out to the beach to find a bunch of peeps.  Funny enough, it was all birds seen at Broughton Beach this month:  Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderlings, Western and Least Sandpipers, and a Baird's Sandpiper.

The only other people on the beach enjoyed hugging amid the peeps (Baird'…

Tiny brutality.

Yesterday morning I was outside bringing the dogs inside so I could go to work when I heard a buzzing on the ground.  A wasp and a honeybee were entangled on a walkway stone, going at it.  I fought the urge to break them up and watched to see what would happen.

I ran inside to grab the macro lens but it was still hard to tell exactly what was going on until it had already happened. 

This next photo best shows what was about to happen.  The wasp has a firm grip on much of the honeybee's abdomen, most of which has been torn from the honeybee's body. 

The last little bit holding the abdomen together was broken and the wasp flew off holding the big round butt of the honeybee. 

The honeybee fluttered around on the ground, still alive. 

I put a leaf over it and killed it to end the torture. 

The wasps have been around all summer but this was the first time they really pissed me off.  I will no longer be tolerating their existence.  I found this dumb meme on the internet that sums…

Recent birds and bugs.

The majority of my birding lately has been focused on shorebirds, mainly due to all the good stuff that has been showing up at Broughton Beach.  This is probably the hottest birding spot in town right now and it's only a ten minute drive from home.

So let's see, the first nice birds to show up were the Baird's Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Long-billed Curlews.  Folks going to look for those birds turned up Common Tern, Black-bellied Plover, Pacific Golden-Plover, and Red AND Red-necked Phalaropes, all of which I missed.  I did see the Semipalmated Plover one evening while failing to find the golden.

Shorebird ID can be rough but I'm going to share a helpful secret with you:  a little known ID trick of the pros is knowing the size of a species relative to a yellow bell pepper.

Bell pepper, Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper

It all makes sense now, right?

One morning I arrived at the beach and found a Sanderling, always a nice bird for the co…

Portland shorebirds: They DO exist!

After dissing the Portland shorebird scene in my last post I spent my days off this week shorebirding like a madwoman.  It began Tuesday morning when I received a tip from another local birder, Tait, that a Baird's Sandpiper was hanging out at Broughton Beach.  I went out there to sit in the mud and hope for the best.

A small flock of about eight peeps joined me and meandered the shoreline about six feet away.

Western Sandpipers can be picked out by their longer bills and dark legs.  The ones I usually see look grayer overall with just a bit of rufous.

Least Sandpipers like the one below are generally the easiest for me to pick out with their yellow legs, short bill, and rufous coloring.

Here's another less flashy Least, but who is that creeping behind him?

That back bird appears to have no rufous coloring at all, a short bill, and muck-colored legs.  Could it be a Semipalmated Sandpiper?

Yes.  Yes it could be.  The first one I've found on my own (with verification by Seag…