Showing posts from December, 2016

Begin means end.

Yesterday was my last birding outing of the year at Broughton Beach with my friend Jacob.  We missed our target bird but it was so damn pleasant regardless.  Peaceful even.  The river was calm and the clouds were doing the right things.

This year I have learned that many of my favorite birding experiences are those closest to home, on days when things feel peaceful and mellow.   Unhurried outings with time to poke and inspect every little thing.  Wanders, you might call them. 

A yellow-rump takes time to ponder the new year

This year has been about meeting new people, something I had never actively attempted before.  There are some badass folks in our Portland birding community and I am so grateful I've had chance to bird with (and drink beers with) so many of them this year. 

Goldeneyes in the loveliness

A year ago things were so different for me;  I was quite unhappy and completely unaware of that fact.  Thankfully a January trip to Mexico with four awesome nerds woke me up and I…

The 5MR

Guys, this whole Five Mile Radius thing is really catching on.  It started with the Big Day challenge scheduled for January 7th, and now my friends Sarah and Max are planning a 2017 5MR Big Year!  With eBird it's easy to keep track of the radius by creating a "Patch" list, and including all hotspots and locations you use that are in the radius.  You should really try this out.

Last week Portland had yet another snow storm predicted for Wednesday afternoon and after birding all morning I made it to my grocery store as snowflakes began to fall.  I pulled in to the parking lot and noticed the usual pigeons on the ground were joined by a decent number of gulls.  I took a quick cell phone shot to document this weird parking lot combo of Glaucous-winged, Herring, and Thayer's Gulls:

Thayer's Gulls are no better than pigeons. 

When I came out of the store the birds were still there and the snow was still falling.  I realized I had my real camera with me and I should proba…

Snow Birds and Snowbirds.

It does not snow much here in Portland so when it does both the humans and the birds go absolutely bananas.  Our recent storm was scheduled to arrive mid-day Thursday, which was perfect since it was on my weekend.  The east winds were howling all Wednesday night and Thursday, freezing up the bird baths quickly.  The mutts helped me keep them under control.

We will eat bird bath ice for you.

The birds appreciated our efforts, especially once the snow arrived.

Happy goldfinches

Happy White-crowned Sparrow

Happy Lesser and American Goldfinches and junco

The birds were blowing through seed, though the seed was also blowing through.  That wind!   I did my best to keep everything stocked for them.

House Finch

I was hoping for some interesting birds to show up out of desperation, but nothing too crazy made an appearance.  A Spotted Towhee was a decent uncommon bird for the yard.


In weather like this much work goes into keeping hummingbirds happy.  Unlike most places in the country that hav…

This week in birds.

Tuesday morning I knew the dogs really needed a good walk but I also knew that Dave Irons had found a Black-legged Kittiwake in a random field in Marion County the day before.  I checked the map and was psyched to see that Champoeg State Park was not far from the gull and so off we went.

There were only three gulls in the field so it was not hard to pick out the kittiwake.

State bird!  And more importantly, year bird!  Apparently if I had waited a bit longer I could have seen the bird way closer, even sitting in the road.  Oh well, I had important things to do, like walk the dogs around in the mud at Champoeg and watch the Acorn Woodpeckers at the disc golf course.

Acorn Woodpeckers always seem to go hand in hand with Western Bluebirds.

Check it out, this bird has a leg band!  My wish of finding more banded birds is coming true!  Too bad I can only read parts of it.  I'll try to piece it together.

Along one of the muddy trails I came across a rough-skinned newt so of course I dro…