Wednesday, June 28, 2017

North Coast.

Fact:  Four days at the coast is not enough!  At least Jacob and I were able to avoid much of the Portland weekend heat wave.  Friday morning we hit up Haystack Rock at low tide where the birds were great, the tide pools were awesome, and at least one random bird shop customer was lurking.

 Pelagic Corm

Black Oystercatcher (on eggs)

 Pigeon Guillemot

 Harbor Seal with Harlequin Ducks

 I could have spent all day poking around the tidal pools there.

Not pictured:  Tufted Puffins.  I only took one photo of a puffin because the pools were so distracting.  It was not a good photo. 

Our home base for this trip was Jacob's parents' house in Astoria so we spent some time birding Wireless Road.  There we were psyched to find a ginormous pile of fish guts behind a barn that attracted piles of Bald Eagles, ravens, and gulls.

The eagles and ravens took off when we approached but the gulls let us watch their gluttony.

We stopped by a second time on our way to Fort Stevens one morning to enjoy some more of that great smell.

At Fort Stevens we walked the dogs around at Coffenbury Lake where the target bird was Wrentit.  First there were mosquitoes, then there was a face-stuffing robin.

A robin with a frog!  Wild.  I had no idea this was something that happens.

In the bad photo above you can (kind of) see that it's a little Pacific tree frog. 

We were getting ready to give up on getting a visual of a Wrentit when one finally popped out by the marsh. 

Yay!  Lifer for Jacob.

Sunday morning we went back to Fort Stevens and spent some time at the South Jetty.  Barn Swallows had nests going in the observation structure which is always fun.

Along the trail to the river a young White-crowned Sparrow was following around its parent. 

The tide was pretty low so we poked around the jetty rocks for awhile looking at crabs and tiny things.  These two shore crabs were standing rather close together, then the large one walked over and they interacted, then the large one walked away again.  I wish I understood crab behavior.


 You pet me.

I pet you.


A nice cool fog had rolled in so watching distant birds was not an option, though this Common Loon came in close to the jetty.  Jacob noticed in his photos that it had some fishing line stuck around its bill.  Ugh.

Back on the rocks a Painted lady was getting some rest.

That's about it for photos.  It was a really fun little trip and many thanks to Jacob's parents for letting us use their house! 

Good times!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Conboy Lake NWR.

I was itching to get out somewhere drier than Portland on Friday and decided to revisit Conboy Lake NWR up in Washington. 

Most of my time was spent on the Willard Springs trail where birds were busy with babies and eating and all the usual spring time stuff.

It did not take me long to find this sapsucker's nest as its babies were super loud.  I watched both parents bring food and one do a little tidying up.


Not far from the sapsucker nest a crew of young House Wrens hopped around on some down branches.  Meep meep.

The forested part of the trail was filled with more birds and a pleasant sprinkling of columbine and honeysuckle.

RBNU kid

Nashville Warbler

I decided to turn around at the overlook, where not much of interest was happening.  I almost left but then remembered to do a final scan and found a small herd of elk with young.   Horrible photos here is one anyway:

There were a few little orchids along the trail that I *think* are phantom orchids, though not anywhere near positive.

Back in the meadow area an Eastern Kingbird was collecting nesting material.

Nearby Western Bluebirds were tending to a nest box, one of the only ones not taken over by Tree Swallows.

Near the beginning of the trail I was hoping for another shot at photographing a Calliope Hummingbird.  It did not work out like I wanted, but I did see some fun behavior.  A female Common Yellowthroat was hopping around a shrub with a mouthful of bugs and the Calliope was not pleased.  The hummer would dive at her, hover in front of her, and she would just sit there. 

The hummer gave up after awhile and I left.  Driving out the entrance road I caught sight of a White-headed Woodpecker working a tree in the burned area. 

I drove around some of the farm roads before heading home and found a few more fun birds.

Western Kingbird

This bluebird child was initially standing about ten feet from its dead sibling in the road.  I yelled to it "have you learned nothing?!" 

Lastly, a cowbird riding on the back of a cow. 

Those eyelashes!

That's about it for Conboy Lake.  My full eBird checklist here.   It's less than 2 hours from Portland with plenty of fun birds to see.  Good times!!