Author Archives: John Rakestraw

Still Waiting for the Birds

Spring migration has not really picked up yet. There are a few new avian arrivals, but birding remains pretty slow. But, as I often say, there is always something to look at, so here are some non-avian images. The Beaver … Continue reading

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Late Winter Ramblings

Birding has been rather slow lately, as many of the winter residents have moved on and the spring migrants haven’t arrived yet. The local nesters, like this Spotted Towhee are becoming more active and vocal. A remnant of last autumn’s … Continue reading

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First Herps of the Year

The nights are still cold, often below freezing, but the days are starting to warm. With the first hints of spring come the first amphibians and reptiles of the year. You can hear Pacific Treefrogs calling all year, but this … Continue reading

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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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