Rentenaar Road, on Sauvie Island, is one of the better sparrow patches in the Portland area. I found ten species this morning, about typical for this time of year. This boldly patterned White-throated Sparrow was one of the prettier ones.
I spent the morning in Scappoose, OR, this morning looking for a Brambling that was seen about a week ago. I didn’t have any luck with the Brambling, but it was great fun watching the variety of sparrows that were feeding in the area. Winter brings great flocks of sparrows to the Portland area. I saw the eight species pictured below, all within a few minutes, while sitting at the edge of the trail.
I was headed to the coast early last Friday when I heard on the radio that the area was under a tsunami warning. While a true hard-core birder might have continued on, I decided to turn around and ended up walking parts of Sauvie Island instead. This Lincoln’s Sparrow was preening in a blackberry thicket along Rentenaar Road (Birding Oregon p.57). The dark spot and line on the bird’s breast are a result of the feathers being fluffed out.
This stretch of dirt road is one of the spots we will visit for my upcoming Little Brown Birds class for The Audubon Society of Portland. The Saturday field trip is full, but a few spaces remain on the Friday trip. For information, go to http://audubonportland.org/trips-classes-camps/adult/classes/lbbs2011.
Since the March-like weather has continued into mid-May, we are seeing an interesting mix of species in the Willamette Valley. Even as spring migration kicks into high gear, with a major push of Western Tanagers joining the expected warblers and flycatchers, a few winter residents, like the flock of Pine Siskins, are still hanging around. Two Lincoln’s Sparrows spent a couple of days under my feeder last week, and a Golden-crowned Sparrow is still visiting. Some have suggested that the heavy snows in the mountains this year are keeping birds in the valley a little later than usual. Meanwhile, the young American Robins and House Finches have already fledged.
Lincoln’s Sparrow, one of my favorites
Just for fun, you get extra points if you can name the insipid song from the mid-1970s that inspired the title of this post.