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 county.

After viewing only lean shorebirds for a week it was nice to watch this plump little stay-puft marshmallow bird strut around.  I returned in the evening to find four more Sanderlings had shown up. 

Five Sanderlings is rarely an interesting sighting, but in Multnomah County it's pretty nifty.  Also nifty, this sunrise Osprey:

Now, don't go thinking that Broughton Beach is all happy happy joy joy.  There's a dark side there.  Some of you might know of the recent tragedy there, but that's not even what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about the two main things that can ruin your good time with shorebirds. 

1.  People.

Yesterday evening I was sitting on the sandbar with Christian watching the shorebirds and gulls that were walking up and down the shoreline.  A lady with two kids a dog were approaching.  The next thing we know they have dropped their belongings and taken off running straight down the sandbar to the birds chasing them all away. 

I may have yelled something, I don't remember.  Ahem. 

2. Killdeer.

Trying to approach shorebirds with Killdeer around is like... damn I'm failing to find an analogy that works.  Almost like trying to break into a liquor store without setting off the alarm, except the liquor doesn't fly away when the alarm goes off.  Ideas?

You know what I'm saying.  Broughton Beach is loaded with Killdeer landmines, be careful. 

That's all for birds, now on to the rad bugs!  I was super super stoked to find a jumping spider in my yard yesterday, something I had been hoping for since dusting off the macro lens.  This one is a Bold Jumper:

So cute and crazy-looking.  This is the best time to find Praying Mantises (in my minimal experience) and I had two on Sauvie Island yesterday.

I have a million little "Baby Boo" pumpkins thanks to my hard-working pollinators.  If anyone has any good recipes, please share!

The pumpkin flowers have been ripe with scandal as well as pollination...

Western striped cucumber beetles

If you need more bugs, check this Flickr album.   

Good times!


  1. Hi Jen Can't get enough shore birds thanks for the yellow pepper tip, :o) Must remember to carry one with me----> toss it out there!! ..Awesome macros of the spider, he is cute!! Killdeer are def party-poopers!

    1. You never know when you're going to need a bell pepper!

  2. Killdeer, children, unleashed dogs, brazen photographers...the bane of my existence. Glad you have some decent shorebirding close by this year. That first spider shot...awesome.

    1. I was super excited about those spider shots, so thanks!

  3. Even if I don't comment...I NEVER miss one of your blog posts. You remain the most entertaining blog I read. By the way, I just did a google image search: "decorating with baby boo pumpkin". Try it!

    1. PS Maybe a future blog post? ha ha!

    2. Ha, wow, there are a lot of decorating options out there...

  4. I believe that I heard Rich Hoyer rename the Killdeer as "Northern Screaming Plover."

    I'd be walking slowly among a huge flock of mixed shorebirds, they walking out of the way when I got within 15 feet or so. Then a Killdeer would fly in from a block away, screaming and making a racket, scaring all the other birds away. Then the Killdeer would land at my feet and feed all by itself on the beach with no competition. (un-nice thoughts)

    1. Ha!! You would think that the other birds would have learned that 99% of the time Killdeer are just being drama queens.

  5. Nice YEBP! I have yet to see one in the field.

    1. This particular YEBP stuck around for a few days, thankfully. REBP still eludes my county list.

  6. I love the yellow bell pepper shots. Thanks for the tip and the smile. The spider shots are amazing as well-- those beady little eyes! Great post.

  7. It's very challenging to throw the yellow bell out for size comparison without flushing the birds. A gentle roll is often the way to go.


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