September 07, 2014

Commonwealth Lake

We saw a number of Green Herons this morning, but this one was right out in the open and tolerant of us and our cameras. After about 180 photos I narrowed it down to these 9 to share. I enjoyed seeing the sequence of him eating a water bug which at the time I didn't realize was happening. The birding was a bit quiet otherwise, but it was late morning.

August 12, 2014

On the hunt

We have been on the hunt for some very specific county birds. Some birds will migrate soon so we are trying to find them before they move on. We visited PCC Rock Creek's nature park since it is under-birded (on ebird anyhow). Sundays are a good day to go to avoid the $2 parking fee. We have to walk through the campus to reach the park. On the way I noticed a large patch of whitewash. A very large patch. What in the world? Upon further investigation we found these guys.

It appeared that there were two Green Herons in this nest. We figured we'd watch the nest some more on our way back and hopefully witness a feeding. Unfortunately on our way back an event was setting up right next to the nest. A band was setting up, tables were being assembled and cars were on the sidewalk. We took one last quick look at the nest and found three babies out on the branch watching all the commotion.

The nature park is a mix of forest and wetlands. And a Bald-faced Hornet nest.

We investigated a couple of other spots Sunday morning and then we saw a report of a Black Phoebe on Saturday at Commonwealth Lake. We drove over there and lucky us found it right away. New county bird!

Can you see the Green Heron and Black Phoebe?

More dragonflies. This first one was in my garden one day. The rest were at Commonwealth Lake.

Now, if only we could find a Yellow-headed Blackbird...

August 03, 2014

WA County Mountain Birding

Last week we headed to the mountains (again!), but this time we were armed with a GPS, maps, four wheel drive, and lots of good food. We have been in search of some mountain specialties that are not easy to find in Washington County. We wanted to see: Hermit Warbler, Townsend's Solitaire, Mountain Quail, Ruffed Grouse, and Northern Pygmy-Owl. We decided to try the highest point in the county which is South Saddle Mountain. The roads in this part of the county wind in and out of Tillamook County so the GPS was essential to make sure we saw our target birds in our county. Whew.

Up on South Saddle Mountain you could barely make out Mt. Hood in the distance. We walked to the radio towers at the top which is 3516' according to the GPS. This is the view of east South Saddle Mountain:
We walked all over the place and drove all over the mountain roads and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. We were only able to get Hermit Warbler though. A pesky Townsend's Solitaire made itself known to us, but we were in Tillamook County!

But we were not discouraged and if anything we were motivated to get back out there with that GPS! Today we drove to Round Top Road west of Timber and made our way up the mountains. Before the sun was even up we heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl and saw a covey of Mountain Quail on the road.

 Later we saw another covey and this little guy was trying to hide in the brush while I got his photo.

The valley was fogged in and it was actually warmer up in the mountains than down lower.

 White-crowned Sparrows in some nice morning light.

 A family of House Wrens put on an entertaining show for us in the down wood.

And of course Hermit Warblers were easy to spot today. We finally heard a Townsend's Solitaire in WA County, although we never could track him down.

Other nature fascinations along the way included this giant log that had a tidy mound of wood shavings below it. I watched as two ants at two separate holes mined the sawdust and dumped it out the hole. I wish I had my macro lens with me for that.

Mountain sunshine.
Good birds, good weather, and always the best food and company!

July 21, 2014

Summer Birds and Dragonflies

Birding is slow during the hot summer days. I have been enjoying the action in my backyard though. I have at least two Rufous Hummingbirds that have taken over my yard and claimed it as theirs. The flowers are in full bloom and most of the time another bird or two can sneak in and get a sip of nectar when they aren't looking. I rigged up a perch in the main flower patch for the hummer to keep watch from.

Chickadee families are frequenting the suet feeder throughout the day.

Yesterday I was at Jacobson-Croeni Ponds looking around. I was hoping to do some dragonflying, but instead of sunshine it was cloudy and the dragonflies weren't out. The bird action was slow, but the best part was hearing a couple of juvenile Virginia Rails calling.

Then we went over to Dawson Creek to look for dragonflies...still too cloudy and cool. There were Wood Duck babies out though.

Today I went to my patch when it warmed up and found lots of dragonflies. I could look all these up and name them, but I have learned that I just forget them by next summer so I give up. I really enjoy seeing all the diversity in this super urban patch of wetland.