April 05, 2014

Go Bloggerhead Shrikes!

Here in Portland, Oregon we have a  wonderful Audubon Society. They have a wildlife care center, work on conservation issues, and have educational programs for youth and adults. I'm happy to be helping raise money for them again this year. I have joined two Birdathon teams, but I will be blogging about the Bloggerhead Shrikes.

On the trail at my patch

Jen at i used to hate birds is leading up this virtual team that you too could join! We bird individually, but are a team of bloggers. You could join from anywhere and raise money for this great organization. Or pledge me and the Bloggerhead Shrikes.
 My patch

I plan to keep it local for my birdathon day and visit my patch, a friend's patch and count birds in my backyard. I hope to rack up over 50 species within this five mile area. I haven't picked a date, but I'm shooting for a sunshine-y spring morning when the migrants have all arrived. And of course I will provide photos and a full summary here!

If you'd like to pledge me please visit my page here.

March 31, 2014

My Patch

Bushtit nest under construction

Lesser Goldfinch on nest

Female Hooded Merganser and Turtle: Best Friends

What is a "Patch?" Its basically a local spot one birds on a regular basis and gets to know really well. I think this kind of sums it up. I discovered a wetlands near my house and have been visiting it since March 2. So far I have noted 53 species and I'm excited to see what spring migration brings. A recent highlight was discovering a Lesser Goldfinch on a nest. I went back today to get a photo. I also found a Bushtit nest and it seems the Canada Goose is sitting on a nest too. I was really excited to hear two Virginia Rail doing the grunt call today. I expect this place to continue to reward me with lots of good stuff!

"You will look forward to visiting your patch in the mornings and will vehemently resist attempts by anyone to threaten the peace in your haven. When you start having these feelings, you know that you have finally found your local patch."

That's me.

March 25, 2014

A 13 Bird Weekend

Even though I added 13 county birds for the year to my list, I'm starting off this post with a good ole American Robin....and sunshine!

Sunday we drove all over the south part of the county investigating back country roads. We wound our way to Hagg Lake for some late afternoon birding and night time owling.

Gotter Prairie was accessible, but you can see how high the water level was by the striping on the brush.

At Hagg Lake we got great views of a hunting Osprey and watched an American Dipper do dipper stuff in the creek. We had no luck with owls although we put in a good 3 hours trying.

Monday we tried again for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Finally success!! Can you find the bird below?

Then on to Fernhill Wetlands. This was my first visit this year.
Swallows were out in full force and it was really fun to watch them claiming their nest boxes.

Right off the bat I found the reported Swamp Sparrow. I could never get it in focus to get a photo, but it was a really pretty bird with a very flashy rufous crown.

I ended the weekend at 118 for my county list, and I managed to get some gardening done too.

March 17, 2014

Commonwealth Lake

The county birding bender continues. Today I reached #104 with a Merlin at Commonwealth Lake. My photos were too crappy to post, but still a big highlight of the weekend. Other weekend county year birds included these birds seen at Tualatin NWR: Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs, Purple Finch, and Violet-green Swallows.

Here are some pics from Commonwealth:::

Female Eurasian Wigeon

Greater White-fronted Geese: County year bird #103

March 04, 2014

Birding Washington County

Despite the lack of blog posts, I have been birding like a fiend, just not packing the camera. I have been out scouring the county with my bins, ticking off birds, and dipping on others. (I had to get that nerdiness out all in one sentence and if you need a glossary, look at this.) I EVEN went looking for gulls to check off my county year list. I'm not sure who I am anymore.

February 09, 2014

Snowy Backyard

Over the last few days the Portland area was hit with a lot of snow...a lot for us anyhow. Its hard to tell how many inches are in my backyard because the wind blew the light dry snow around a lot. I estimate we got 8 inches. Last night there was freezing rain which created some pretty ice and a crusty layer on the snow.

I spent time indoors taking photos through the window. Out of the 18 species I logged in the backyard today, Juncos are the predominant bird.

This Spotted Towhee was quite interested in a filbert I tossed out for the jays. After eye-ing it suspiciously, he finally flew off with one.

Today I counted more Golden-crowned Sparrows than I have any other day this winter. I noted 7 individuals at one point. They are cooperative for photos and pose nicely.

The temperatures are warming and it looks like this will all melt off soon.