Showing posts from May, 2018

Conboy Lake NWR / Steigerwald Lake NWR

Last weekend Jacob and I went out to Conboy Lake NWR for the birds and wildflowers and lovely scenery.  Distractions are abundant out there.  We started off our walk on the Willard Springs trail with a lifer for Jacob, a feisty male Calliope Hummingbird.

The next million photos I took were all of wildflowers and plants even though the birds were nifty too.

Phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austinae)

Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa)

 Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea)

Oh and this bird's nest was on the ground upside down, so I flipped it over for a photo.


At one point we started hearing some very loud woodpecker tapping and eventually found a pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers.  Very cool!

 We continued on towards the spring, stopping for more plants, and then made our way back on the parallel trail to make a loop. 

Spotted coral root (Corallorhiza maculata)

 Cascade mariposa lily (Calochortus subalpinus)

We reached an area where flycatchers were actually showing themselves, as opposed …

Local May birds.

This month has been all about year birds and I'm already way above my highest Clark County year list ever (a measly 146 species).  It's been fun to see what's possible here, though I've had my share of misses too (damn you, Black-necked Stilts).  There is a lot to catch up on, let's go!

The Fazio ponds at the end of Lower River Road near Vancouver Lake was one of best county shorebirding spots this spring.  I missed the stilts and Solitary Sandpiper but did find Dunlin, Least and Western Sandpipers, dowitchers, Spotted Sandpipers, and Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs. 

Lesser/Greater comparison

One afternoon on our way out there I may have yelled a little too excitedly for Jacob to stop the car and turn around as there was a Western Kingbird perched on a post.  I thought it was a county bird for me but alas, I had one in the same area 6 years ago.

Even still it was a solid county year bird and several other folks were able to see it as well. 

I've been trying to vi…

Larch Mountain

There are a few things I miss about Multnomah County birding, like hitting Mount Tabor every morning once migration starts, or hitting my old patch Blue Lake for a solid morning of owls and other birds.  One of my favorite spring rituals was going up to Larch Mountain for year grouse and scenery as soon as the snow is cleared.  Luckily, Clark County has its own Larch Mountain, though I had never seen or heard grouse on it before.

Jacob and I decided to head up there recently to see what scenery, wildflowers and YEAR BIRDS we could find.  We took L-1000 into the forest, stopping for various songs and flowers.  At one point I heard a rustling in the low shrubs and we waited to see the squirrel or towhee or whatever pop out.  Except not this time!  This time it was a Ruffed Grouse!  And he walked right toward us and up to the truck.


He was so close to the truck I couldn't take anything more than a phone photo at first.  Jacob got out to try get some shots and the grouse casua…