Author Archives: John Rakestraw

Fernhill Wetlands

Despite morning temperatures near freezing, signs of spring are appearing at Fernhill Wetlands. This Black Phoebe was posing with some colorful buds. The winter sparrows, like this Fox Sparrow, are still around. Waterfowl numbers are dropping as northern breeders start … Continue reading

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Winter Birding

We finally had a bout of winter weather in the Portland area. The west side of town got more ice than actual snow, so travel conditions were not ideal. Since we had an appointment in Hillsboro anyway, I made a … Continue reading

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Ankeny NWR

I made a quick trip to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Salem. Like the other refuges in the Willamette Valley, most of Ankeny is closed in winter to protect wintering waterfowl. But there are spots on the refuge … Continue reading

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Winter Birding

February is usually cloudy and damp in the Portland area, making it hard for me to get too motivated to venture out. But there is always something to see, like this lovely Lincoln’s Sparrow. This Cedar Waxwing was flycatching over … Continue reading

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Random Images

Here are some random birds from recent weeks. This Great Blue Heron was wading deep at Commonwealth Lake. The white face and yellow eye really popped, giving her a creepy look. A Black-capped Chickadee was excavating a cavity in a … Continue reading

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Winter Waterfowl

Waterfowl seem to dominate the birding scene in the Willamette Valley in winter. Year-round residents, like this Pied-billed Grebe, are joined by a host of winter migrants. My camera hates white birds, but managed to capture this Common Merganser pretty … Continue reading

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Beach Birds

I spent a few days on the north Oregon coast to escape the New Year’s fireworks in Portland. As expected this time of year, there was plenty of wind and rain. But there were enough breaks in the weather to … Continue reading

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Orchard Oriole

An Orchard Oriole has been showing off for birders in southeast Portland for a few weeks now. This is the 15th record of this species in Oregon. The chances of just running across an Orchard Oriole in Oregon are very … Continue reading

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Jackson Bottom

I spent a foggy morning at Jackson Bottom Wetland Reserve. This Great Egret was blending in with the foggy background at Pintail Pond. Belted Kingfishers are almost always distant subjects for my photos. They are quite skittish. The Coyote Hill … Continue reading

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Force Lake

Force Lake, a small lake at the edge of a golf course in north Portland, is not a terribly attractive site, but it can be quite birdy at times. On this visit, a large flock of Golden-crowned Sparrows was feeding … Continue reading

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