Twitching in the rain

One of the more popular avian celebrities in Portland this fall is a Virginia’s Warbler that has been visiting the suet feeders at a home for the past several weeks. This is a great bird for Oregon, and the bird has been very cooperative.

Like many area birders, I went to see this bird. It was early in morning and raining. I stood on the sidewalk in front of the house, and in a few minutes I was rewarded with nice looks at a Virginia’s Warbler. It was too dark for decent photos, so I left. This was a twitch; Going to see a bird reported by others, adding the species to your list (Oregon state list in my case) and moving on.

Twitching is not my favorite style of birding, but one I am increasingly reliant on. I would like to bring my Oregon bird list to 400 species. A couple of years ago I sat down with a state checklist and figured out what species I needed to bring my list up to that magical (and totally arbitrary) goal. To my surprise, I discovered that there were only about six regularly occurring species that I hadn’t seen. I could conceivably just go to where those species are regularly found and add them to my list, but that would not get me to my goal. Any other species I added would be a rarity, like, for example, a Virginia’s Warbler.

If I had unlimited time and funds, I could travel around Oregon and find a good number of rare birds on my own. But lacking both of those things, I must take advantage of any opportunity to see an Oregon rarity that shows up close to home. I still want to take my time enjoying a birding site and finding my own birds, but I am not above the occasional twitch.

Virginia’s Warbler, at dawn in the rain. I never claimed to be a photographer. I kept my camera in its bag until after I had gotten good looks at this bird. I have seen this species before, but it had been a long time.

This Yellow-rumped Warbler was a better poser.

After twitching the warbler, I went to Broughton Beach to enjoy the Mew Gulls.

Ring-billed Gull, Mew Gulls, and a Western/Glaucous-winged hybrid

After waiting out a downpour at Smith and Bybee Wetlands, I was treated to this brief rainbow. A nice end to damp morning.

This entry was posted in birding philosophy, rarities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Twitching in the rain

  1. scribelady says:

    I enjoy seeing the photos of birds, and learning about species new to me. I really liked that last photo of the rainbow, and seeing the sun hit some of the trees–against the dark clouds–gave it a dramatic look.

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