Oregon birds.

Oregon has been turning up some great birds recently and I've actually gone to look at a few of them.  The most famous one right now is actually two:  a pair of male Eastern Bluebirds.  These birds were found by my friend Eric while birding his little patch on the west side of Rocky Butte in NE Portland (in my former 5MR!).  He had assumed they were Westerns but after putting photos on iNaturalist he learned he had found something far rarer, a west coast first!

The day after the birds were identified I arrived at first light along with a ton of other local birders.  It was about 30 minutes or so before the birds appeared but they eventually perched in one tree in the middle of the field for a long time.

Everyone got great looks through various scopes and terrible photos to go home with.

The birds are still hanging out in this spot though it sounds like they have a large territory.

This week I ran my first North Portland raptor survey of the season for East Cascades Audubon Society.  I thought I was going to have to run it alone but thanks to Bush Sr. dying, Jacob got a surprise day off work (to mourn of course).  We started the route at Mays Lake and spent the next 5.25 hours scanning for raptors.  Force Lake turned out to be the most entertaining spot since much of it was frozen over and ducks on ice are always fun.

 Cinnamon Teals, Green-winged Teals, Shovelers, and a pintail

Canvasback not blending in

Settling down after a Bald Eagle flyover

Effective use of tail for landing on ice

The raptor survey includes two walking portions, one of which is the walk from Force Lake to Vanport Wetlands.  The east winds were kicking that day and this Red-tailed Hawk almost blew off the branch a couple times:

When we returned to Force Lake one of the Canvasbacks was super close to the road and let us take some photos.

 That was about all the excitement for the raptor survey.  We finished with 31 total birds counted over 50 miles that includes Heron Lakes Golf Course, the trail and Smith and Bybee Lakes, most of Marine Drive, and some other random spots.

Yesterday Jacob and I went to check out another well-known bird in Oregon right now, the Tundra Bean-Goose at Finley NWR.  I knew the general area where it had been seen so we started at the bird blind at McFadden Marsh.  There were several cars already there and we soon realized the blind was already packed.  I assumed these were all bean-goosers so I asked the woman closest to me if "it" had been seen yet.  She replied, "what?"  I said "the bean goose."  She said "uh, no."

Turns out she had no clue what I was talking about and all the people crammed in the blind were on an Audubon field trip.  Only the trip leader knew of the goose and he said he had not seen it and kindly herded his group out of our way.

Jacob vs. swans

After scoping the marsh from this viewpoint for awhile we headed back to the car to park at another spot where the Audubon group was gathered.  This time the leader had good news, that the bean goose was snoozing among the thousands of ducks and geese and swans.

Sleepy McSnoozerson

While waiting for the goose to do something I tried to photograph as many banded dusky Canada Geese as I could.  There was a ridiculous number of them, over a dozen, though not all within camera reach.  I went through pics this morning and was able to submit five bands!

*Edit: I received the band info back and learned two were banded this past July, one was banded in July 2016, another in July 2010, and one in August of 2002!!!!!  A 16-year old goose!!!  Amazing. Here's the goose and the band (it's the far left one in the above photo):

A Black Phoebe was very busy next to the pullout.

Sarah, Max and Eric showed up which made the wait for the goose to wake up more fun.  Eventually it did scratch a little, preen a little, and even stood up once.

Bellowing bean goose, very scary

We said goodbye to the goose and carried on the auto tour around Finley.  We found a Merlin, Western Bluebirds, a Peregrine and plenty of common birds on the tour before getting out to scope the raptor scene at the Prairie Overlook.

Red-shouldered Hawk

 We were hoping for a White-tailed Kite and eventually I saw a bird land WAY out there that looked good for one.  After a lot of scoping and watching the bird preen we confirmed it was our target.

Good looking dot

 Better views desired.

After Finley we drove north to follow a tip on a Burrowing Owl.  On the way we saw two Red-taileds tumble to the ground while fighting.  The loser stayed on the ground looking sad before finally flying off.

We arrived at the owl location and Jacob briefly saw the bird when a Rough-legged came flying by.  The owl dove into a ditch disappearing from sight.

Argh!  We drove way down the road and looked at other things like House Finches and Killdeer before returning to the spot.  Thankfully the owl had popped back out onto the road!

We took some photos before leaving it to do whatever it is Burrowing Owls do while they sit on roadsides during the day.  A perfectly adorable ending to our Oregon birding adventure!  Good times!!!


  1. Great Oregon birds! It was great seeing you guys out in the wild!

    1. Good to see you also! Hope you made it to 100 in Benton County!

  2. The Bluebirds look like little cuties! And I freaking love Burrowing Owls. I would love to see one one day - thanks for the cute pics!

    1. We are definitely lucky to live in the land of Burrowing Owls!

  3. Amazing rare find on those Eastern Blues! I saw it reported on ebird...Of course not rare here but make me wonder I always assume it's Western when Im in the west! Great Bean Goose too...and amazing shots of the Burrowing Owl!

  4. So much to catch up on, but maybe more than any comments on the sweet Bean Goose and BUOW crushes I should just extend congratulations on this big and bustling 5MR general young & new blooded border scene that you’ve done so much to pump!

    Well done and thank you!


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