Showing posts from February, 2017

Song Sleuth first impressions

You have probably heard about Song Sleuth by now, an app that will identify bird songs for you in the field.  I had my doubts but I was also intrigued, especially with a trip to Texas coming up in a month which will likely be filled with unfamiliar bird songs.  Ten bucks was not my ideal price tag but I have wasted ten bucks on stupider things before so I took the plunge.

It was raining when I downloaded it and I didn't really want to test it outside, so my first test was at work with a Pacific Northwest birds CD.  It failed the first few I played and finally skipped ahead to Great Horned Owl, because what could be easier?  These are the options it gave me:

Ummmm.... No.  I tried a new recording of the same owl....

Okay then.  I tried a few others with similar results though it did manage to identify a Western Meadowlark song.

Of course the app does come with this disclaimer:  "If you will be disappointed to see the wrong answer, then this app isn't for you."

The a…

Steigerwald Lake NWR and then some.

After days of nonstop rain Friday morning was finally pleasant.  The sun peeked through the clouds and fog only gathered in the distance.  The dogs were in desperate need of a walk and I was itching to get in some birding.  I found an eBird report of a Say's Phoebe and decided to see if any had shown up along the Steigerwald Lake NWR dike trail. 

Jake, Ralph, and their half-sister Rexi

Almost immediately I found a Say's Phoebe flying around, grabbing grubs.

This was pretty awesome, but then things got more awesome when I heard a familiar flight call as ten birds flew past me.  Horned Larks! 

I had only seen a single Horned Lark in Clark County before this, a bird that was seen on the Ridgefield auto tour for awhile a couple years ago.  A whole flock was pretty exciting.   One bird had some tail feathers missing and when it flew it looked like a little flying rabbit.

I walked the dogs to the end of the trail and back, stopping when a Bald Eagle showed up and began hovering over th…

Sauvie Island.

Portland birders have had to brave all kinds of weather this winter, but thankfully on Wednesday things were back to the usual gloom and rain.  Jacob and I drove out to Sauvie Island for a pleasant day of birding and exploring.  Let it be known that this post is filled with blurry and fuzzy dark photos. 

Oak Island Road is a great three mile stretch for birds, especially Barn Owls.

This was one of several we had throughout the day.  At the end of the road is a little shelter that birds are always poking around.   On this morning a flock of chickadees was taking turns plucking morsels from the wood.

After Oak Island Road we continued on Reeder and passed a beautiful dark morph hawk.  I turned around so we could take a few photos.

Honestly I did not think much of this bird, figured it to be a dark Red-tailed.  It was suggested by one of Jacob's Instagram followers that it's actually a Harlan's Red-tailed.  Seagull agreed that might be the case.  Unfortunately we never saw i…

Last week's birds.

Last week I had some hot tips on a new 5-mile-radius bird, a Barred Owl, and on Wednesday afternoon I went searching for it.  Turns out I did not have to search hard.  It was exactly where it was supposed to be. 

So sleepy

This was my 87th 5MR bird for the year!  It was also the fourth owl species in my 5MR this year following Burrowing, Barn, and Short-eared. 

Anyway.  On Thursday I randomly chose to drive out to Dawson Creek to walk the dogs around and look at ducks.  Eurasian Wigeon was a pleasant year bird.

Also sleepy

I saw my first "storm wigeon" too, or at least storm-ish.

It looks like it shaved and its stubble is growing in. 

With the dogs tired and all of us frozen from the relentless wind and cold I decided the best thing to do was head to the auto tour at Ridgefield and be warm while I birded.

A lone Cackling Goose among Canadas made for a nice comparison view:

I once said that the albino nutria was the most vile creature I had ever seen.

I no longer believe that …