Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Salish Ponds

This Sunday evening, Michelle and I decided to run up to Salish Ponds in Gresham to see if the Osprey that nest nearby were back for the Summer. No such luck, but Salish Ponds are always nice and it's a great little hike around them. Sometimes, the birding is great, other times, not so much. This time wasn't too bad. We didn't see many songbirds but there was a lot of waterfowl out and about.

Here's how the city describes the ponds "Located between Halsey and Glisan streets at the site of an old rock quarry, the 70-acre Salish Ponds Wetlands Park opened in October 1999 and is Fairview's largest city park.
Visitors can see hawks, geese, ducks, rabbits, coyotes and other wildlife. The Salish Ponds Trail connects to the Reynolds Middle School Campus and the Gresham-Fairview Regional Trail to the west. TriMet bus 77 serves Salish Ponds Wetlands Park. Get off at 207th Avenue and walk south two blocks to the Salish Ponds Trailhead."

You can actually see quite a few more birds than they list, if you go at the right time. Anyway, here are a few photos from our walk. Good birding!

This was a nice surprise, there are still some Ring-Necked (we still think they should be called Ring-Billed, but that's our opinion) Ducks hanging around. Usually, they are gone by late March, early April.

This is a photo of 2 silhouetted Robins. We really like how this one turned out.

There was a lot of Mourning Dove activity at the ponds. Here is just one of the many we saw.

Here is a pair of Mourning Doves in a distant tree.

Canvasbacks are also usually gone by now. Everything seems to be a little off schedule this year. We have our assumptions that it was that nasty winter we had.

A female American Wigeon. There was also a single male swimming around.
I could resist throwing a photo of the female Rufous Hummingbird in the mix. Can you blame me?

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Photos from the yard

It has been getting busier and busier in the yard lately! We have been going through a lot of seed in the last couple of weeks. But, that's a good thing!

Here are some of the photos we have taken this week. We hope you enjoy them all. Good birding to everyone!

The Rufous Hummingbirds are in all day now. We see both the male and female frequently. The one below is the male.

Here is the female Rufous. Such gorgeous little birds!

The Townsend's Warblers are still hanging around, too. We are hoping that they stick around for a while longer.

Here is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler that is getting his breeding colors. All of the Yellow-Rumped that we see now are fluffy and full of color!

One of our resident Song Sparrows. We have a feeling that she has built a nest on the side of our home. We scan the yard daily for juvenile Song Sparrows.

A rare (for us) Band-Tailed Pigeon decided to drop by for a while. We always enjoy their visits.

A male Lesser Goldfinch looking just about as pretty as can be!

A Downy Woodpecker checking out some home-made suet.

The American Goldfinches are really starting to show their breeding colors now! The bird beside him is a Lesser Goldfinch (female) and below him is a Pine Siskin.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

New yard photos!

Here are a few recent photos from our yard. The Rufous Hummingbird still comes around everyday. The Juncos, Pine Siskins, Towhee and Varied Thrush are still hanging around. Pretty late in the year for them to be around, but we'll take them!

Here is a very odd looking Bushtit. Notice how brown his head is and how distinctive the line between his head and body are? Is this normal?

A male Anna's Hummingbird at one of our feeders.

2 male House Finches eating some black-oil Sunflower Seed.

A Yellow-Rumped Warbler through our office window. I wish it was more clear, but the rain and double-pane glass wouldn't afford that.

A Townsend's Warbler feeding on the ground.

One of the many Hawks that come through the yard on a weekly basis. This one is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk.

A Robin getting ready to bathe.

A Robin bathing!

A small flock of Bushtits.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The return of the Rufous Hummingbird!

While doing some much needed yard work this afternoon, in the much needed sunshine, Michelle and I were loudly buzzed by a (first of season) male Rufous Hummingbird! This is probably the earliest we have seen him. Luckily, we had the camera out in the yard with us so we were ready.

Pictures can not do this little guy justice.

He was the most gorgeous Rufous that we have ever seen.

We are hoping to have many more photo ops with him over the next few months.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Today, Michelle and I decided to go birding somewhere new. We have been all over the place, but we have never made it to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The rain was coming down and the wind was howling, and that was before we even left the house. I don't know what possessed us to go out into the yucky weather, but we are sure glad we did! 54 identified species today! (Species list at bottom of post)

Not only was the weather perfect, but we saw 2 new Life List birds! The rain was coming down in sheets as we drove out to TRNWR and we were expecting it to be a pretty miserable day, weather wise. By the time we arrived at TRNWR, the sun was out and it was fairly warm. The wind blew all day but not so much that it wasn't enjoyable.

Then, after we left the refuge, we stopped at Vanport Wetlands. We were just in time to see a Bald Eagle hunting the area for some dinner. We saw quite a few types of waterfowl, too.

Then, on the way home, we took Marine Drive. There were quite a few waterfowl along the river and a lot of raptors on the land side, one of the raptors was a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk (pics below). Overall, it was a great day birding and a great day spent together!

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Here is the sign in the main entrance to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Here is just one of the countless gorgeous views at the refuge.

After searching the lower area, we hiked up to the Ridgetop Overlook. On the way back down the trail, we both spotted this Great Horned Owl coming in for a landing!

He was gorgeous. This was a Life List bird for us.

He sat there for about 5 minutes and then took off for parts unknown. But, not before we got about 40 photos of him.
A Western Bluebird. We saw quite a few of them on the trail just behind the Refuge Headquarters. Another Life List bird.

Another Western Bluebird.

And one more Bluebird for good measure.
On the way home, we took Marine Drive and found a ton of raptors. This juvenile (notice all the white) let us get so close. Exciting stuff!
One of the 4 bald Eagles we saw today. This guy has just a hint of color on the tail, so we assume that he is about as close to a full adult as possible.

One of the many groups of waterfowl we saw today. This group of Northern Pintails was at Vanport Wetlands.
The 54 species that we positively identified today:
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
American Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Greater Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Red-Tailed Hawk
Mew Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Rock Dove
Great-Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Steller's Jay
Tree Swallow
Black-Capped Chickadee
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Bewick's Wren
Western Bluebird
Yellow-Rumped Warbler (both Audubon's and Myrtle)
Townsend's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-Crowned Sparrow
Golden-Crowned Sparrow
Red-Winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Birds from the yard and around town...

It's been another busy week in the yard. We have been going through a ton of seed and suet lately (more so than usual). The Juncos, Siskins, Towhee and Varied Thrush are still hanging around, which is pretty late for this yard. Normally they are gone by now, but we will relish their continued presence! The Townsend's and Yellow-Rumped Warblers are still hanging around in good numbers, too.

No new spring visitors yet. We are keeping an even more watchful eye out though, as we are certain that we have heard a much-too-early Black-Headed Grosbeak singing lately. I have tried in vain to find him a few times, but alas, nada.

We have been seeing the Red-Tailed Hawk again over the house. She has been flying right over our home and very low. We assume it's a female because she is so large. From a distance she looks she has the wingspan of an Osprey. She's huge!

I found this Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in a small tree just singing away. I have never heard one singing so loud or so much. It was great fun to listen to.

A Townsend's Warbler and a Bushtit sharing a bit of suet.

Another Bushtit. This one is a male (females have light colored eyes).

At a local pond the other day, I found a Great Blue Heron fishing along the shore line. What a sight to see! He had to jab the water a few times before he was successful, though.

All the way down! Maybe going for a frog?

I combed over this photo to try and tell what he had caught, but no luck. He shook the ever loving crud out of it, though.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Beaverton Birding

Here are some more photos of Beaverton birds! Most of these were taken at Commonwealth Lake. Click here for more info on the Park. We hope you enjoy the photos.

Red-Winged Blackbirds were everywhere! Singing their songs and choosing nesting areas. I easily counted over 300 of them.

They were very willing to pose for some photos, too.

An American Wigeon. There were about 300 of this species as well.

Beaverton has lots o' Towhees! Such great looking birds.

You just gotta love the Song Sparrows.

This is about as close as I've ever been to a Red-Tailed Hawk. He was sitting in a tree about 20ft above my head.

There were at least 4 of the Red-Tailed over the park all day long.

This guy was sitting as little higher than 20ft, but I still had to take the photo.

A pair of Red-Tailed Hawks just cruising along the thermals.

A Cooper's decided that the Red-Tailed can't have all the fun.

This Downy Woodpecker was such a ham! He let me get within about 3ft to take his photo.

There was one lone Pied-Billed Grebe at the pond.

If you look closely, you can see a female Red-Winged Blackbird on the right, a Scrub-Jay in the middle and a Robin on the left.

This was a brave little Fox Sparrow. He just hopped around the leaves as I walked around and took photos.

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