Category Archives: identification challenges

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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Fernhill Dog Days

In preparation for my shorebirds class for Portland Audubon, I have made several trips to Fernhill Wetlands (Birding Oregon p. 61) in recent weeks. As expected in the Willamette Valley in late summer, species diversity is fairly low, but there … Continue reading

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Eurasian and American Wigeons

It’s always nice when similar species pose side by side for direct comparison. These two wigeons, Eurasian on the left, American on the right, were engaged in some synchronized grazing. The female Eurasian Wigeon is a warm brown color, compared … Continue reading

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