Recent things.

Birds are back.  At work, customers have been talking excitedly about the chaos in their yards, how they are seeing more finches than they have seen before.   Goldfinches and siskins are keeping us in business right now.

The fall weather has also brought Chestnut-backed Chickadees to the yard.

These handsome devils inspired my recent junk mail creation for Portland Audubon's Wild Arts Festival:

Anyone can donate a 6x6 canvas to be sold at the festival for $45 with the money going to Audubon.  More info here.  Jacob also made one by printing one of his photos onto regular paper, then using Mod Podge Photo Transfer goo to transfer the ink to the canvas.  It came out pretty cool:

I visited Blue Lake yesterday to see if anything new had shown up for fall.  First off was a decent-sized flock of American Pipits.  I counted 16 at one time, though there easily could have been more.  Possibly the biggest flock I've had in Portland, but no rarities that I could pick out.

At one point I found a nice flock of sparrows which included a bunch of Golden-crowneds, tons of juncos, a couple Songs, a towhee, and two White-throateds.  We don't see multiple White-throateds in one flock often in Portland, away from Sauvie Island.

Both the pipit and the sparrow were new birds for the park, bringing the total on eBird up to 110.  On the way out of the park I stopped to scan a flock of Cackling Geese and noticed one had a band.  I love learning how old a bird is and where it has been.

TX@.  What a name.  I reported the bird in the afternoon and by the next morning I had a certificate in my email with her details.

Sweet!  She was born in 2010 or earlier, and was banded near Chevak, Alaska.  Kristine Sowl seems to be a busy goose-bander because this is the third (I think) goose I have submitted that was banded by her.  Last year I did a post with another one of her geese here.  Fun stuff.

On Monday morning Jacob and I tried to go to Whitaker Ponds but unfortunately they're still making a mess, putting in a new parking area.  Instead we visited the weird pond by the Radisson Hotel off Columbia Blvd.  There was fog and sun and spiderwebs and some birds.

 Ring-necked Ducks

 Green-winged Teal

The Columbia Slough passes through this area and there's a pipe that connects it below the road.  At the entrance to the pipe the water was swirling around and the fall leaves reflecting in the water was lovely.

Yesterday someone posted on OBOL a link to this eBird checklist from a cruise ship off the coast of British Columbia.  I'm glad there was a birder on the boat to document this event as it really is fascinating, even though it didn't end well for most of the birds.  

The cruise ship reminded me of the movie Jacob and I watched the other night:

The NRDC recently sent out an email inviting anyone to watch the movie for free on Vimeo (available on Roku fyi) with the code SONICSEE.  It's a beautiful and horribly depressing film, perfect for a dreary evening.

That's about it for me, happy fall!!!


  1. That fall out is quite sad, some may have survived...Y'all did some great art! Waiting on my winter birds to arrive.

    1. Yeah, hopefully some survived. Makes you wonder how often it happens and isn't documented.

  2. You have some cute backyard birds!

    Also that eBird list is really interesting. The whole migration fall-out thing is totally foreign to me. Poor little guys :(

    1. It's a rough life migrating over the open ocean!

  3. Wait! You’re not only a great birder and writer, but an artist as well? I love your chickadee - I’m sure it sold quickly.


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