Our cold wet April has blossomed into a cold wet May. I shouldn’t complain, since we need whatever moisture we can get, but a few balmy spring days would be nice.
Shorebirds on the northern Oregon coast peaked last week. This Black Oystercatcher was one of four hanging out at the Seaside Cove.
Black Turnstones are common in winter at Seaside Cove, but the few that remain are sporting crisp breeding plumage.
A single Ruddy Turnstone has been at The Cove for a while now.
Songbirds have been moving, too, despite the weather. This Common Yellowthroat was singing at Cooper Mountain Nature Park.
The locally nesting White-crowned Sparrows are on territory and ready for nesting.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets don’t nest around here, but they have been singing like crazy. I cannot seem to get a decent photo of a kinglet, but at least the parts of this bird we can see are clear.
In the “totally creepy and yet fascinating” department: here is a second cycle Western Gull showing the structure of their tongue. I didn’t realize their tongues were that big, let alone such an interesting shape. The more you look, the more you see.
Like other national wildlife refuges in the Willamette Valley, Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge has limited access in autumn and winter. But the trail that is open can provide some good birding.
The highlight of this trip was a fresh sapsucker well that was attracting both Anna’s Hummingbirds and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Sapsucker wells are an important source of nectar and insects for birds in the colder months.
Bewick’s Wrens spend much of their time buried in the depths of brush piles, but this individual popped up and posed for a few photos.
It is always worth the time to check out brushy hedgerows this time of year.
I don’t normally think of Dark-eyed Juncos as having a camouflage pattern, but this individual was doing a great job of blending in with his environment.
Nala and I spent a unseasonably warm morning around the towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside. Spring migration is just starting to kick in, but things are still pretty slow.
Since the tide was out, we were able to get pretty close to Haystack Rock and its compliment of Harlequin Ducks.
This band of California Gulls were hanging out on the beach (yellow legs), accompanied by a couple of young Western/Glaucous Winged (pink legs).
Most of the wintering Mew Gulls have left, but this one was on the beach in Gearhart.
Small numbers of Caspian Terns have returned to the Necanicum Esturary. A few were holding fish, trying to impress the ladies. It should work. I can be won over pretty easily with a vegan doughnut from VooDoo.
This bird was vexing. He is obviously a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but I was convinced he was a Hutton’s Vireo. He moved very methodically, actually standing still for several seconds at a time. Spastic kinglets never sit still for that long. But he has the classic field marks of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet; a black bar at the base of the secondaries (lacking in Hutton’s), and black legs with yellow feet (all gray in Hutton’s). I don’t know why his behavior was so un-kinglet-like. Just another reminder to mind the details as well as the gestalt.
I walked through Smith and Bybee Wetlands after an unsuccessful gull chase in northwest Portland. Here are a few highlights.
A pair of River Otters were in the slough. It is always a treat to see this species.
There were actually a few birds around. I ran into several mixed flocks of small birds that defy point-and-shoot photography.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet The same bird, showing just a peek of his namesake ruby crown.
The slough had a few waterfowl, all keeping a safe distance from the otters. Here is an American Wigeon.
Raptors were well represented by Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawk, and Red-shouldered Hawk, none of which wished to be photographed. Despite the rainy conditions, it was a productive trip.