Local February birds.

It's February, a month of taking what you can get birding-wise.  For whatever reason, being in a new county makes me want to bird a little bit harder so I've been trying more than usual to get county year birds.  It's been fun.  It's also been a little easier now that I get texts from some of the local birders when they find cool shit, like this Western Screech-Owl tucked in a potential nest cavity:


This was probably a county bird for me, as my only previous sighting was a sketchy backlit bird at Ridgefield my first year of birding.

On a sunny day earlier this month I walked to Meadowbrook Marsh Park to work on my motorless list, adding only Green-winged Teal and Pied-billed Grebe, but also my first motorless rough-skinned newt!


Local birders had seen a Black Phoebe around Vancouver Lake Park recently and I tried for it a couple times unsuccessfully.  There are plenty of birds to entertain there though.

Steller's Jay

 White-throated Year Bird


Eurasian Wigeons

 White-breasted Nuthatch

Over the last couple of months there have been some reports of a Glaucous Gull at the transfer station on Old Lower River Road (known officially as West Vancouver Materials Recovery Center).  I tried for this bird close to ten times I think, once lucking out with my county Brant in a nearby field.  Finally on Friday it was there, standing on the roof like it was supposed to be.


Even with this view I didn't feel 100% confident and had to have it confirmed by Seagull Steve.  Of course it was indeed the Glaucous and it became my third county bird for the year!

I have hit up Steigerwald Lake NWR a couple times this month which has helped the county year list.  One day I took Ralph for a walk on the dike trail, hoping for an early Say's Phoebe or something but instead finally found a Common Loon.


I made the mistake of telling Jacob that Common Loons are super common in the Columbia and that I was surprised he hadn't seen one in Clark County before.  Then we spent two months never seeing a Common Loon despite birding a ton.  Finally this bird saved the day, and even stuck around till yesterday when Jacob and I went back to Steigerwald. 

A few more birds from my walk with Ralph:

 Bald Eagle drying out

Pileated Woodpecker

Kestrel with snowy Crown Point in the background

On yesterday's walk at Steigerwald we managed to enjoy sunshine much of the time, with one major but quick-to-pass downpour followed by a sweet rainbow. 


This rainbow made swallows appear from thin air, even ones that eBird was not pleased with like a couple of early Violet-greens.


And more acceptable for February, Barn Swallows:


One more bird-related thing to share:  a Red-tailed Hawk.  Recently when birding I heard a bell sound and looked to see a Red-tailed Hawk fly by with bells jingling.  My first thought was that it had eaten the cat wearing a bell I had recently seen.  When it landed I could see that it actually had bells attached to its legs indicating it's a falconer's bird.


It's possible the falconer was nearby, taking the bird out for a training session, but I have my fingers crossed the bird escaped and is going to enjoy a life of freedom. 


Oh yeah, one more bird.  Another Sharp-shinned Hawk showed up in the yard yesterday morning.

Where dat junco go?
 
That's it for now.  Good times!! 

Early February sunset near the Vancouver lowlands