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!!


  1. Weird to think you have the trumpet honeysuckle grows around my fence here. The rodeo cowbird, pretty cool shot! Poor blue bird, had a really short life, dang! We've had rain, rain, rain and humidity it is nasty!

  2. Brillient post again, quite a variety of birds, I think my favourits are the sapsuckers/peckers, and the wrens, also that Orchid is amazing.
    Have a good week , Gordon.

    1. Thanks, Gordon, I was very excited about the orchid!

  3. I like the birdmix. I'd have to drive about 8 hours to get a similar birdmix (EAKI is very local in the state).

    The Calliope photo...god that is good. It looks like it's displaying to the COYE with that flared gorget.

    "Phantom" should have made it into more bird names.

    1. Yeah, I didn't really understand what was going on with the hummer/COYE. I liked it though. I agree on Phantom. Fairy Tern? No sir I saw a PHANTOM TERN. Hmm. Maybe I will rename all leucistic birds Phantom. Phantom Junco. Phantom Chickadee. It could catch on.

  4. Hummingbird/yellowthroat photo is unstoppable! Also: the Calliope kind of looks like a shrimp?

    1. Agreed! Hummingbirds are (probably) part bird, part crustacean.

  5. Hi Jen,
    I'd like to get in contact with you to see about using one of your photos.

    1. Feel free to email me at

  6. Jen,

    I found your blog from reading The Afternoon Birder. Living in Portland, I'm encouraged to see the birds and other wildlife you capture. My zoom lens only goes up to 135mm. Do you think that that is enough to get great bird pictures?

    1. Hi Bob, 135 is probably not going to get you the results you want, though could work for some close-up backyard birds. I use a 100-400mm lens which I am happy with, and used to use a 300mm which worked fairly well also. I have found 200mm to not be long enough. Hope that helps!


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