Showing posts from January, 2017

Gilliam County

Thanks to our wild weather this winter I have only made it out to Gilliam to run raptor surveys twice, once in November and finally once last week.  The only thing my surveys had in common was that both times I counted exactly 26 birds, which includes hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls.  November was sunny and warmish, and began with a lovely sunrise.

A deer that may have been in Sherman County paused to look at me, as I paused to check out its antler accessory. 

Pronghorn were the first Gilliam mammals I encountered.

On the descent into Buttermilk Canyon I skidded in the gravel to stop for a Ferruginous Hawk perched at the top of a tree. 

See ya.

Gilliam is often thick with Mountain Bluebirds though last week I had zero. 

The road that ascends out of Lone Rock offers amazing views and I can never drive it without stopping and breathing in its sage-scented beauty. 

There was also a dead porcupine to poke.  The pads on their feet are my favorite.  Farther along the road I had my only Ro…

Last week's birds.

On my days off last week the snow was thawing, turning white fields into soup, and I was finally able to take the dogs out for a long walk.  I opted to check out the scene along Lower River Road in Vancouver.

Frenchman's Bar Park was closed, and as I turned around I noticed a couple of Ring-necked Pheasants on the side of the road.  They kept wandering into the street, dodging hunters' trucks at the last second.

I parked in the only unlocked lot near Vancouver Lake, and walked the mutts from there all the way back to Frenchman's Bar.  The sun peeked out here and there and I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and Cackling Geese. 

Sandhill Cranes would occasionally fly into the center of things...

I love a good spectacle.

In one of the photos I noticed a goose that looked like it was wearing a watch. 

It's not a normal neck band, but what is it?  Radio collar?  Tumor?  I couldn't find it in other photos so this is only angle I have.  Int…

Broughton and Tabor in the snow.

Surprise!  Our predicted 1-4" of snow Tuesday night turned out to be closer to a foot, which is almost unheard of in Portland.  The best thing to have when this sort of thing happens is a friend that doesn't mind driving in it.  Lucky for me, Jacob wanted to go out in it Wednesday morning and we set off for Broughton Beach.

Was that a Road Closed sign?  Hmm, no I don't think so.  (Marine Drive @ PDX)

The snow was still falling when we arrived and continued to do so for most of the morning.  A flock of Horned Larks stood out:

We hiked out towards the rocks hoping for owls and Jacob immediately pointed out a dot in the distance.  A Short-eared!  It was perched up on a rock as if hunting.  Then we noticed the coyote.

The coyote had also noticed the owl.  The owl hopped down and vanished from sight, but was obviously still in the same area.  The coyote crept up close and boom, the owl flushed from its roost.

We thought that was the end of it but then the owl turned around and t…