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Red Hot Pokers

While birding at the Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery in Tillamook County, I stopped to check out a stand of Red Hot Poker, or Torch Lily. This plant is not native, but the flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, orioles, and warblers.

orange-crowned warbler 1 smallOrange-crowned Warblers were the only warbler species around that day, but several individuals came out of the heavy cover to feed on nectar.
orange-crowned warbler small
When I first arrived at the patch, a female Anna’s Hummingbird was feeding. She took off before the camera came out, and then the patch was dominated by a male Rufous Hummingbird.

rufous hummingbird small
Whiskey Creek Hatchery is a small site, but offers a little patch of woods and access to Netarts Bay.

In the Bleak Midwinter

In honor of the winter solstice, in a month that brought Portland 7″ of rain, here are a few dark grainy images from recent weeks.

orange-crowned warblerOrange-crowned Warbler

anna's hummingbirdAnna’s Hummingbird

dark-eyed juncoDark-eyed Junco

american and lesser goldfinchHere is a nice comparison of American (foreground) and Lesser Goldfinches. Notice that the American Goldfinch has white undertail coverts, while the Lesser has yellow.

american goldfinchHere is a very dull American Goldfinch (probable first-year female) in front of a Lesser (probable first-year male).

chestnut-backed chickadeeChestnut-backed Chickadee, looking ever perky

Autumn migration


It has been a good migration so far in the Portland area, with nice weather and good numbers of songbirds being reported. Swainson’s Thrushes always come through our property in September to eat dogwood berries. At night, you can hear the calls of these birds as they fly overhead.


Sunrise at Pittock Mansion (Birding Oregon p. 70) This tree, a large birch, was a warbler magnet this year, attracting all the common species plus two Northern Parulas. I missed the parulas by one day.


Orange-crowned Warbler, Pittock Mansion


Birds are not the only autumn migrants. Lots of dragonflies are on the move, as well. I don’t know the dragonflies, so if you can ID this one, please leave a comment.

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