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Posts Tagged ‘California Gull’

Home improvement projects are keeping me inside lately, so here are a few images from dog walks and the bird feeder.

IMG_5742Double-crested Cormorants on the Columbia River
IMG_5748IMG_5749California Gull

IMG_5740former sturgeon, Columbia River

IMG_5727Lesser Goldfinch

IMG_5736I only see Purple Finches once or twice a year at my feeder.

IMG_5678young Douglas’s Squirrel in the shadows, Tualatin Hills Nature Park

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Broughton Beach is the stretch of shoreline along the Columbia River, just north of the Portland airport. It has been a popular spot to access the river to scan for waterfowl in winter, and the shore attracts some neat birds, like Horned Larks, American Pipits, and the occasional Short-eared Owl. There used to be free parking there, but that was eliminated when the adjacent public boat launch was expanded to include a nice new car parking lot (with a fee station).

horned grebeThere weren’t many birds on the water during my recent visit. Here is a distant Horned Grebe.

gull flockA mixed flock of gulls was loafing on a sand spit. There are at least four species in this photo, lots of California, a Mew, a Herring, and a few Ring-billed.

peregrine 1The gull flock was resting after being harassed by this guy. This Peregrine Falcon spent several minutes flying through the flock, taking half-hearted swipes at various gulls. Perhaps he was testing for any individuals that were injured or particularly slow.

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The weather is cooling and rain is in the forecast, as our long dry summer is finally letting go.

Cackling Geese have arrived by the thousands in recent days. This Ridgeway’s Cackling Goose is sporting a black chin stripe and a white collar.

An American Pipit, blending in with the dry cracked lake bed at Fernhill Wetlands

Two California Gulls harassing a Bald Eagle. It is probably much safer being behind the eagle than in front.

Closer to home, this Purple Finch visited the feeder. If you look closely you can see her tongue positioning the sunflower seed.

Mimi, one of my neighbor cats, is enjoying the birdbath and keeping those pesky hummingbirds out of my garden. I have two words for you, Mimi; Urban Coyotes.

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I made two trips to the northern Oregon Coast for my recent shorebird class. The “autumn” migration is well underway.

The Seaside Cove has a nice gathering of gulls. This California Gull is undergoing a rather extensive molt, I believe from second cycle to third. The severity of feather loss has actually created some interesting patterns.

This adult California Gull is showing a little wear, but nothing like the previous individual.

The Cove is a favorite hang-out for Heerman’s Gulls.

Young Heerman’s Gulls are a rich chocolate brown. I believe this is a second-cycle bird, given the smattering of gray feathers coming in.

This female Harlequin Duck was near the southern end of The Cove both days.

Black Turnstones, which spend the winter here, are back.

The best bird of the day Thursday was this Ruddy Turnstone, an uncommon migrant along the coast. Unfortunately, he did not stick around for my shorebird class field trip on Saturday.

Caspian Terns, seen here with California Gulls, were common on the beaches. Note the young tern in the center of the photo.

More Caspian Terns with Brown Pelicans and a Western Gull

These Elk tracks were on the beach near the south jetty of the Columbia River at Fort Stevens State Park.

At high tide, the Hammond Boat Basin has been hosting large flocks of Marbled Godwits and Whimbrels (and an unidentified dowitcher species in the middle of this image). Similar roosts in Washington attract rare migrants every year. I hope the same is true for the Oregon side of the river.

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Here are a few more images from a recent trip to the coast.


Black Turnstone at The Cove in Seaside (Birding Oregon p. 121)


Surfbirds blend in with the rocks very well until someone opens their wings.


California Gull in extremely worn plumage. Notice how the primaries have worn down almost to the shaft.


Dragonfly on the water, Neawanna Wetlands


Hooded Mergansers, Neawanna Wetlands


Fox Sparrow

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I took my Portland Audubon class to Tillamook Bay (Birding Oregon p. 125). We found strong winds, high tides, and rough seas, but the weather was warm and mostly sunny. This photo was taken on the bayside of Bayocean Spit. The water was high enough to cover the mudflats, so we didn’t find any shorebirds, but we did find good numbers of gulls loafing in the shallow water.


Here is a first-cycle California Gull with two adult Western Gulls and a probable third-cycle Western Gull.


The largest concentration of birds was at the Bay City Oyster Plant. This little jetty was covered with gulls, Brown Pelicans, and Black Turnstones.


Western Gull, two Heerman’s Gulls, and a California Gull


Brown Pelicans


juvenile Brown Pelican and Heerman’s Gull


We found at least four Black Oystercatchers at the Three Graces Tidal Area.


At Barview Jetty, the rough seas and howling winds kept the expected seabirds out of the channel. But the big waves did reveal lots of Ochre Sea Stars.


This lone Black Turnstone was the only shorebird we found braving the rough conditions.

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I spent the day birding sites around Seaside, OR (Birding Oregon p. 121).


The tide was the lowest I have seen at The Cove, revealing its sandy bottom.


The low tide allowed lots of beach-combers to wander along the rocky edges, so the only shorebirds present was a small flock of Black Turnstones.


This is a Western Gull in very worn plumage. Note the black-tipped primary just starting to grow in. The lumpy neck on this bird was caused by the large sea star he had just swallowed.


Heerman’s Gulls are normally one of the most beautiful gull species, but this individual was also extremely worn.


These birds were in better shape.


California Gulls are starting to gather along the Oregon coast. This juvenile was keeping company with an adult Western Gull.


At the north end of town is the Necanicum Estuary, also at very low tide. The exposed mud and aquatic vegetation attracted nice numbers of shorebirds.


Semipalmated Plover


Least Sandpipers


Western Sandpiper


The rarest bird of the day was this Semipalmated Sandpiper.


Notice on these shorebird tracks that the toes are partially webbed, or semipalmated. So these tracks were made by either a Western Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, or Semipalmated Sandpiper.


These tracks don’t show any sign of webbing, so they were probably made by a Least Sandpiper.


The estuary is a favorite hang-out for Caspian Terns, here joined by California Gulls.

 

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