Author Archives: John Rakestraw

Mount Hood

At least once a year I like to visit the moonscape that is Mount Hood above Timberline Lodge. The birding there is hit or miss, sometimes yielding great spectacles like a flock of 200 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, and sometimes offering little … Continue reading

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Prothonotary Warbler

The Portland birding scene was abuzz recently with news of a Prothonotary Warbler that was visiting a bird bath at a home northwest of town. For about a week, this little eastern warbler would arrive just before sundown, take a … Continue reading

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Summer shorebirds

Mid to late summer is the prime time to watch shorebirds in western Oregon, partly because it is the peak of southbound shorebird migration, and partly because the locally nesting songbirds have stopped singing and are very hard to see. … Continue reading

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Fernhill Wetlands

With the ongoing renovations taking place at Fernhill Wetlands, each visit throughout the year is a new experience. Most of the breeding species have done their thing, and the resident waterfowl have molted into ugly duck season. Water levels are … Continue reading

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Jackson Bottom

I made a quick visit to Jackson Bottom in Hillsboro. This is a very busy spot in the summer. The Savannah Sparrows are still in full song. Pintail Pond has been drained to accommodate some restoration work on the site, … Continue reading

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Smith Rock State Park

I hadn’t been to the dry side of Oregon for far too long, so I took a trip to Smith Rock State Park. The avian stars of this site are the White-throated Swifts that nest here. They did not disappoint, … Continue reading

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Lawrence’s Goldfinch

For the second week in a row, I chased a vagrant to add to my life and Oregon lists. A Lawrence’s Goldfinch turned up in a back yard in Sherwood. Since this species is hard enough to find in its … Continue reading

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Bar-tailed Godwits

This spring has brought an unprecedented number of Bar-tailed Godwits to the Oregon coast. This species spends the winter in New Zealand, then flies to China and the Korean Peninsula to fatten up for a month before flying to northern … Continue reading

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Northwest Portland Wetlands

I went out to Smith and Bybee Wetlands and Vanport Wetlands to check for migrants. The Smith and Bybee area was pretty slow. Water levels were high so some of the trails were inaccessible. Vanport had some really interesting birds, … Continue reading

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Spring on the Coast

I have made four trips to the Oregon Coast in as many weeks this spring. For three of the four, I was leading groups. That, combined with rainy weather, limited my photo opportunities, but here are a few shots. The … Continue reading

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