Friday, March 28, 2014

Oregon Update

Not much has been going on for me in Oregon regarding birds. The weather turned rainy this week and the family has been keeping me busy.  We've also been looking at places in Ireland and doing lots of research about Dublin and the surrounding areas.  But I have been out off and on over the last couple of weeks. I went looking for a Northern Shrike a couple of weeks ago, but dipped on that bird.  And then last Saturday I spent a bit less than 2 hours looking for a Tufted Duck on the Columbia River, which I also dipped on.  But I did manage to see some interesting birds here and there.
My son and I went down to Tualatin River NWR a few weeks ago looking for said Northern Shrike.  He ended up being a big pain in the neck, so we didn't get to explore too much.  But we did see some nice songbirds out and about.

Western Bluebird
Western Bluebird - Tualatin NWR

Audubon's YRWA
Audubon's Yellow-Rumped Warbler - Tualatin River NWR
There were a pair of Bald Eagles on the refuge and the female was already on her nest.  You can just see her head poking out at the top-center.

Bald Eagle on nest
Bald Eagle on nest - Tualatin River NWR
One evening I went back out to the west of Hillsboro looking for a Short-Eared Owl which has been seen at dusk very regularly. I got my directions a little bit mixed up, but when I finally found the spot where the owl had been seen I almost drove past it.  It was sitting on a road sign not more than 20 feet in front of my van, and when I stopped to get a look at it, it flew off towards some houses.  I followed it and saw it land on a tree top and I did get one, very poor, photo of it.

Short-Eared Owl
Short Eared Owl - Washington County OR
Last Sunday morning I went out to the Columbia River to try and see a Tufted Duck  that was reported among a few hundred Greater and Lesser Scaup. This was a duck reported on the national rare bird alert, so I wanted to get it for my ABA list.  But it would turn out to be a really tough bird to find.
Lots and lots of Scaups
Scaup - Columbia River OR
As you can see in the above photo, there were lots of ducks on the river.  This is maybe 10% of what was there.  Add that some were on the far side of the river, they were constantly flying upstream and floating back down, and that the rising sun was giving them all dark backs (the best field mark to tell them apart from a Scaup) and it was near impossible for me and I gave up.  I certainly tip my hat to the finders of it.

Later that day my family went out to the coast for a visit.  We went to Cannon Beach with the goal of trying to spot some migrating Gray Whales, but ended up dipping on those.  But we had a great time playing in the sand.  I didn't get a chance to look at too many birds, but I am planning another trip to the coast soon.  But we did see some great sights.

Cannon Beach
Gulls - Cannon Beach OR
I have no idea what these are, but we were fairly far up the cliffs when I spotted them.

Large raft of ocean birds
Seabirds - Cannon Beach OR
We also got to see Haystack Rock, which will be a nesting place for Puffins and other seabirds soon.  It's on my list of places to return too in a few weeks.

Haystack Rock
Gulls on Haystack Rock - Cannon Beach OR
And a few days ago I was driving through Beaverton after getting my son a new-to-us bike, I spotted some birds in a small roadside wetlands.  I found a place to park while he was sleeping and saw a nice little assortment of ducks geese. I saw some Eared Grebes in their breeding plumage and spotted a Cackling Goose with a band around it's neck.  I didn't have my camera, but I made a return trip later that day with it. The Grebes were gone, but the goose was still there.

Cackling Goose
Cackling Goose - Washington County OR
The I reported the band through the appropriate website and actually received a letter of appreciation.  The bird was banded in Alaska last year and is probably heading back that way now.  Although it being by itself may not a be a good sign.
There were some other nice birds about.  A Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors was swimming near a lone Ring-Necked Duck.

Grebe and duck
Pied-Billed Grebe and Ring-Neck Duck - Washington County OR
We have a small hummingbird feeder on our apartment's porch. It is very popular and I need to fill it every day.  Despite the fact that it never gets good light for photos, I thought that I'd try anyway.  Here's a couple of the better shots of Anna's Hummingbirds.  We had a Rufous for one day and then it moved on.

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird - Washington County OR

Anna's Hummingbirds
Anna's Hummingbirds doing what they do - Washington County OR
Hopefully I get some nice photos of a male before I leave.  It's odd to think that I won't be seeing any hummingbirds for a few years while we're in Ireland.
So nothing too exciting.  I'm heading to the coast either this weekend or next and could see my 300th bird there, if the weather cooperates.  

thanks for making it this far,


1 comment:

  1. Pretty awesome photos, especially that first hummer shot and even the dark owl shot is cool.