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, including several Redheads and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, both hard to find in the Portland area.
I went to Sauvie Island to scout areas for my Little Brown Birds class next week. The huge flocks of waterfowl that spend the winter there have dwindled, but there are still a lot of birds around. This White-crowned Sparrow was enjoying a dust bath on the first dry sunny day we have had in a long time.
Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swans, and Cackling Geese are still present in good numbers, but spring migration should bring big changes soon.
We made our first visit to Mt. Rainier NP in Washington last week. This park is an easy drive from Portland. I like getting above the tree line to the alpine meadows, seen here, but the park has large areas of forest, as well. The bird and mammal diversity was good on this trip, although the numbers of individuals were not as large as you usually find in parks such as Glacier or Yellowstone.
This American Dipper was swimming in one of the rivers; not very photogenic, but interesting behavior. The forested areas were too dark for bird photos, but Gray Jays, Varied Thrushes, and Red Crossbills were common.
Most of the birds in the alpine habitats were fast fly-bys. I did manage this photo of a young Cooper’s Hawk. The Prairie Falcon that was hunting the ridge was way too fast. I was hoping for White-tailed Ptarmigan on this trip, but perhaps the abundance of raptors was keeping that species out of sight.
This Black Bear spent many hours feeding on vegetation along one of the trails. We kept a respectful distance, unlike many other park visitors. The bear didn’t seem too concerned with his fans. He did get a little nervous when a couple was taking selfies with him.
Here are a few birds I saw on a recent trip to Boulder, CO. There was nothing unusual, but there is always something to see.
Two species have brought fledglings around recently. Both were visiting bird feeders, but for different reasons.
A Cooper’s Hawk with two young visited my neighbor’s feeder the other evening. Low light conditions only allowed this photo of one of the babies. They were constantly screaming and crashing through the branches, so I don’t think their hunting trip was successful.