Category Archives: identification challenges

Taverner’s Cackling Goose vs. Ridgeway’s Cackling Goose

On a recent trip to Commonwealth Lake Park in Beaverton, I had the opportunity to observe Taverner’s and Ridgeway’s Cackling Geese side-by-side. Taverner’s are larger, with pale breasts and slightly longer bills. Ridgeway’s have dark, iridescent breasts (on adults) and … 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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Broughton Beach, Portland

Broughton Beach is along the Columbia River, right next to the Portland airport. It can be a challenging place to bird, with dogs and children chasing the birds, police carrying body bags down the beach, etc. But if you catch … Continue reading

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Sauvie Island

I took my waterfowl class out to Sauvie Island. The trip produced a nice variety of ducks and geese, and the weather was freakishly nice for February. Here are some Ring-necked Ducks, Dusky Canada Geese, and a couple of Buffleheads. … Continue reading

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Broughton Beach

Nala and I walked along the Columbia River from Broughton Beach to the Sea Scout base. Greater Scaup was the most numerous species on the river, with smaller numbers of Lesser Scaup (fifth bird from the right) Great Scaup (upper … Continue reading

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Baby Towhees

Young Spotted Towhees have been showing up at the feeder. It is always fun to see them, as they look so different from their parents. This plumage can be confusing to those unfamiliar with it, but there are clues to … Continue reading

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Westmoreland Park

Westmoreland Park, in southeast Portland, is always worth a quick visit in winter. This Canvasback has a mud on her face from rooting around in the bottom of the pond. Lesser Scaup At least two female Eurasian Wigeons have been … Continue reading

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Individualism: All of these things are not like the others

There are two statements that will immediately and significantly damage a birder’s credibility: “I’m sure of the ID, because the bird looked exactly like the picture in my field guide.” and “It couldn’t be that species because it doesn’t look … Continue reading

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Gull Season

Winter is the time to study gulls in the Willamette Valley. If you feel a little overwhelmed by some of the fine plumage details described in birding references, consider looking at the shape of the bird. The silhouette above can … Continue reading

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Sunny Day at Westmoreland Park

Best known as a local gull hotspot, Portland’s Westmoreland Park also hosts good numbers of Cackling Geese in winter. This December has been unusually dry and sunny, so instead of my photos being grainy and dark, they are now overexposed. … Continue reading

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