A Potpourri of a few Birds & Butterflies

July 06, 2018  •  4 Comments
WARNING: Content may not be suitable for all audiences. It includes reports of birds seen two or more days ago and mentions people, pets, and butterflies. Forward to other birding groups at your own risk. July 4th I tried but failed to locate and photograph the "5 cute Harlequin ducklings" Allen Prigge and John Hosking observed on Lookout Creek in...
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Cottonwood Canyon State Park

June 03, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
We birded Cottonwood Canyon State Park yesterday from the visitors center downstream approximately a mile and a half. We tallied 18 species, most of which we rarely get to see in our regular birding spots near home in West Linn, Oregon. The best observations for us were unusually close views of eight White-throated Swift visiting nests located low...
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A Well-Timed Trip to the Oregon Coast

March 11, 2018  •  6 Comments
The last thing we expected last November when we planned a four-day trip to Manzanita in early March was that we would experience clear skies, day-time temperatures of 60+ degrees with no wind, seas so calm you could canoe on them, and close views of a Steller's Eider, a seabird rarely found south of the Bering Sea. This was the 3rd record of the...
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Oak Island Great Horned Owl Pair

September 25, 2017  •  1 Comment
Wandering around Sauvie Island this weekend I came across a great find. Portland Audubon's instructor Ricky Allen who was looking through a spotting scope at a grove of mature cottonwood trees across the road. He was very welcoming, even after my questionable episode of panic-braking followed by a too-sharp u-turn. His enthusiastic call out to me...
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Lake Creek Lodge - Gray Catbird!

July 03, 2017  •  2 Comments
The Gray Catbird is no longer a nemesis species for me due (with thanks) to the folks who scouted Lake Creek Lodge in advance of the Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival that is held the first week of June each year in Sisters, Oregon. I checked-in at the office the first morning when they opened at 8:00 am and was given permission to bird the entire gro...
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Breeding Chipping Sparrow - Champoeg Park - 2017

June 19, 2017  •  2 Comments
I am happy to report that a pair of Chipping Sparrow has successfully bred and fledged at least one offspring in the Willamette Valley in 2017. We first observed two Chipping Sparrow in Champoeg Park in April 2013. Harry Nehls emailed us shortly after that report encouraging us to look for evidence of their breeding in the area which would be an u...
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TNWR: Cassin's Vireo - Virginia Rail - Western Screech Owl

June 11, 2017  •  2 Comments
I spent a few hours this morning birding the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge. Highlights of my visit include good views of two Cassin's Vireo trading off incubation duties on a nest conveniently located just above the trail, close unobstructed views of an adult Virginia Rail with five chicks, and of course the perennial Western Screech Owl in the...
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Mike Patterson's Godwit-palooza

June 03, 2017  •  1 Comment
We were fortunate to find eleven Bar-tailed Godwit along with one Marbled Godwit yesterday afternoon on Sunset Beach. A news article on the topic is here: http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20170602/shorebirds-make-rare-spring-appearance-on-north-coast. I am hopeful that much more will be written about the unprecedented numbers of these wayw...
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Day of the Snipe

May 29, 2017  •  2 Comments
We stumbled upon a Wilson's Snipe nest last year at Ryan Ranch Wetland, and this morning ten pairs of Wilson's Snipe stumble upon me and my dog Remy as we walked through Big Meadow near Phalarope Lake on Black Butte Ranch. We were treated to a wide array of vocal and non-vocal sounds, and near the end of our walk, we were astonished when a couple (...
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Lower Tualatin River Walk

May 21, 2017  •  4 Comments
Several years ago I got a brief glance at what I thought might be a pair of Harlequin Duck 300 meters upstream from the confluence of the Tualatin and Willamette Rivers. A year later, Noah Strycker reported the species a short distance below the spillway of Henry Hagg Lake - the headwaters of the Tualatin River located approximately 83 (river miles...
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Blooms and Birds

May 06, 2017  •  4 Comments
Camassia Natural Area is one of my favorite local birding patches in the spring. Amazingly, I had the place to myself this morning for almost four hours before throngs of people began showing up on the trails to take in the bloom. The large number of passerines was astonishing. The best birds of the day were a flycatcher wagging its tail downward w...
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Manzanita Beach Prize

February 19, 2017  •  2 Comments
This a story of a Valentines Day getaway that unexpectedly sparked our interest in a small flock of birds, bird behavior, and a seemingly disjointed conservation effort to protect Snowy Plover, a species status on the Pacific Coast of North America that remains of great concern despite a decade of effort to help the population recover from it's des...
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Black-Throated Blue Warbler

January 10, 2017  •  2 Comments
The eBird range map for this species shows far more occurrences in the Northwest than I was aware of. Which might explain why I only encountered a total of maybe 20 people during my first three visits to the site. Inclement weather is likely the another reason for the relatively low turnout at this otherwise very accessible location that is surroun...
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The (un) Common Scoter

November 16, 2016  •  4 Comments
I was fortunate to be able to break away today to chase an extraordinarily rare visitor to North America, and even more fortunate to find the bird during a period of good weather off an accommodating wayside along Highway 101 near Taft, Oregon. The wayward vagrant was first reported by Russ Namitz, who broadcast the message below to the Oregon bir...
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Broughton Beach Peeps

August 27, 2016  •  2 Comments
A brief stop at Broughton Beach yesterday between meetings provided a nice assortment of peeps that helped me better understand the subtle differences in the general appearance of a small handful of shorebirds. Namely, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPER, SANDERLING, LEAST SANDPIPER, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER - the last of which I am embarrassed...
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