Saturday, February 15, 2020

Linn County birding

This year I've continued to bird a couple of the less birded counties of Oregon along with one medium-birded county that I had not spent much time in, Linn County.  I spent the day there recently adding 54 new county birds to my list there.  First I stopped along Kamph Drive where Lewis's Woodpeckers had been reported.


 I also picked up Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, California Scrub-Jay, and Common Raven for the county.  From there I headed into Albany to visit Talking Water Gardens, a fancy wastewater treatment spot that Nick and Maureen recommended. 

 This was a birdy spot indeed and I added about 20 county birds here alone.

Black Phoebe

Across the street from Talking Waters is Simpson Park where I found even more birds and a ton of mud.  I didn't bird as long as I could have here and still managed 9 more county birds.

 Excavating a nest already?  

I was eager to check out the farm roads south of here and I started with an unplanned drive along Holmes Drive.  I had seen some ducks from the main road and this side road offered decent views. 

County pintails, teals, and dowitchers

 Bonus county Greater Yellowlegs

 I continued on south to Belts Drive and was psyched to find a massive flock of county birds, Dunlin!

Some roadkill caught my attention on the side of the road...

My first Oregon fox!  I had no idea that red foxes were in this area.

Back north on Highway 99 I stopped for a gull field where I found Mew, Ring-billed, and Glaucous-winged Gulls.

Then I headed to a spot where there had been lots of reports of Burrowing Owl. 

It's all true. 

A Rough-legged Hawk, Horned Larks, and a rare-ish Snow Bunting were also around.

Linn is a fun county to bird and I look forward to a spring or summer trip there later this year.  Good times!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The LC lately

Let's start with the LC sewage ponds, because I have this photo from January that I feel needs to be shared:

This is what happens if you dive too deep in the sewage ponds.  Or at least that's what I assume happened.  The scaup here are the only ducks that seem...coated.

I returned to the sewage ponds more recently and the scaup were less gross, but still a little gross.  Other divers (Ring-neckeds, Buffleheads, etc) don't seem to have this issue but maybe they don't go as deep?

Chilly sewage pond morning

On my recent visit the birds were out in force, including Marsh Wrens who were suddenly visible.

 The sun brought out the bugs which brought out the warblers, a phoebe and a Hermit Thrush.


Townsend's Warbler

Black Phoebe

Hermit Thrush

I am getting stoked for spring at these sewage ponds since there's not much in eBird for this spot but the potential is high for shorebirds and weird migrants. 

The yard birding in the LC has been consistently pleasant.  In January the Pac-slope/Western Flycatcher was still around though we didn't see it this last visit.

Also in January a new yard bird showed up in a junco flock:

 White-throated Sparrow!  It showed up again last weekend and allowed itself to be crushed.

The yard has been bustling with the common birds like Chestnut-backed and Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Juncos, Song and Fox Sparrows, and Pine Siskins.  We've also had some less common birds coming to the feeders like a Varied Thrush, a female Hairy Woodpecker and a male Downy. 

Weirdly grabbing a pine cone

Last weekend we drove down to Depoe Bay to check for rockpipers along the seawall.  The tide might have been too high and we only found a Black Oystercatcher so we headed back north to Boiler Bay.  Here we found Jacob's lifer Ancient Murrelets hanging out ridiculously close to shore.

Bubbly Harlequin Duck

After Boiler Bay we decided to make one more try for rockpipers at Pirate Cove.  We didn't find any but some close cormorants gave me some good practice.

Four Brandt's Cormorants (one getting ready for breeding) and a single Pelagic

Harbor seals love Pirate Cove too.

Our favorite breakfast spot, the Wildflower Grill, overlooks a nice pond that often has ducks, herons or river otters.  Back in January as we were finishing up Jacob saw a Barred Owl fly in. 

On that day we wanted to check out a couple new spots at Siletz Bay NWR, just outside our 5MR.  First was Milport Slough Road which is a gravel road that leads to private property, but offers nice views of the wetlands along the way.  Nothing amazing on this day but I bet spring will be good.

The next spot, Alder Island, was a bit birdier. 

The trail does a loop out to the tip of a peninsula with views of the Siletz River along the way.

Red-necked Grebe

 Common Mergansers
Lastly, we finally played Wingspan!  It was pretty fun once we got it figured out. 

Lincoln City continues to keep us entertained with so many places to explore (like our future 5MR Les Schwab).  Good times!!!