May birds

As has been noted by many birders in the northwest, this year's migration was different. Migrants were slow to arrive and when they finally did the numbers were low. The opposite of how shorebird migration happened.  Even still there were always birds to look at. 

Violet-green Swallow, Evergreen Memorial Gardens

A Clark County, WA birder started a fun little neighborhood birding project during COVID last year. He created a spreadsheet of birds and every weekend about ten of us would bird our neighborhoods (strictly 1MR, non-motorized birding) and check off the birds we found. This year we did it again and it was interesting to compare arrival dates for various species with 2020. My participation involved more intense yard birding along with a walk to the nearby cemetery, Evergreen Memorial Gardens. 

White-crowned Sparrow building a nest in a patch of yellow yarrow, Evergreen Memorial Gardens

On this day in early May I said to Jacob we should look for Chipping Sparrows.  And one appeared. 

 This spring Red Crossbills became normal neighborhood birds, often stopping in the various pine trees in the cemetery. 

In mid-May the Lazuli Buntings were out in force. I first saw them here in May 2020 and I have to wonder if the birds were new or if I somehow missed them before that. Either way, now they are easy to find in the weedy eastern part of the cemetery where they dump dirt and branches.  

Starlings nest in a telephone pole there every year and the babies were hard to ignore.

While I was watching one of the youngsters stuck its butt out to poop and the parent proceeded to stab at it. 

This May at our house in Lincoln City things were way tamer than last year. But still good. 

Evening Grosbeaks

Band-tailed Pigeon eating cherry blossoms

The Red Crossbills were visiting so much we wondered if they were nesting nearby. Then one day they showed up with a couple kids.

The Hairy Woodpeckers starting bringing a young bird around the same time. 

A flock of American Goldfinches had been visiting the feeders regularly and one wet and windy day a Lesser Goldfinch appeared in their flock. 

County bird for Jacob!

Last week I had ordered a couple yards of mulch to be delivered so I was outside early trying to get the area prepped for mulching.  But birds. I saw a couple swifts flying over and quickly realized they were Black Swifts.

So cool. We ended up with a total of 16 once I noticed them. Have to wonder how many I missed! Wood Ducks and a Rock Pigeon also flew over that morning which were both new yard birds. Birds > yard work.

A couple weekends ago it was wet but Jacob and I decided to check out some new spots along the Siletz River. On the way we stopped at Cannery Slough where Purple Martins nest.

Rustic accommodations. 

Coyote along Hwy 229

Caddisfly at Ichwhit Park

Rough-skinned newt at Barbara and Walter Brown Memorial Park
Soggy Band-tailed and Black-headed Grosbeak along a nearby logging road

Last week I went birding at the Salmon River Estuary and was very excited to find my county/5MR Western Kingbird. It's one of those birds I could have chased further south in the county but I had hoped to find one myself in my 5MR. Success. 

A Bonaparte's Gull was hanging around the area as well which was a year bird.

When Jacob finished work that day we returned to find two kingbirds, then headed north to Pacific City.  I had wanted to check out the Tufted Puffin situation at Cape Kiwanda and we quickly found a bird or two flying around. While I was scoping scoters Jacob yelled out "orcas!" WHAT!

Sure enough WAY out there we could see a pod of orcas occasionally surfacing and a couple times even popping up out of the water almost completely. It was amazing and not something I expected to see from land. A lifer mammal for both of us. 

Lastly, I visited the Roads End tide pools last week at a -.8 tide and found some good nudibranchs. The most abundant one was the Nanaimo horned dorid which can look white or purplish.

A couple red dorids were also around:

That's it for May. Good times!!


  1. Soooo many cool sightings in this post from nudibranch to the baby crossbills...soo cute. Excellent shot of the Swift, all excellent shots but knowing how swift they are great moment captured. When I saw the photo of the coyote and saw his legs crossed it was also amazing moment of capture I wonder if he fell down or did he correct it in stride...I hope you have a good times weekend.

    1. The coyote had a healthy fear of humans and kept on running just fine. I like when they linger but I know it's good for them to be scared since a lot of folks aren't shooting with cameras.


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