The oasis at Fields (Birding Oregon p. 19) is a tiny site, but one of the better known hotspots in Oregon. This little clump of willows around a spring is surrounded by miles of sage steppe, so it is very attractive to species normally found in woodland habitats.
A pair of Great Horned Owls can usually be seen here.
This adult was sitting on a fallen tree right over the water.
They were keeping track of this little guy.
A pair of American Kestrels were also nesting at the oasis. Here is the male with a rodent.
The big attraction for birders is the possibility of vagrants from the east. On this day a Northern Parula was the highlight. Other eastern warblers had been found the week before, and still others appeared later. One never knows what will show up on a given day.
An arctic air mass brought cold temperatures and ice to Fernhill Wetlands (Birding Oregon p. 61), but there was no shortage of birds. Here are some grainy gray photos from a lap around the ponds.
Tundra Swans and California Gull
Taverner’s Cackling Goose and Northern Shovelers
Cackling Geese and Northern Pintails
Snow Goose and Cackling Geese
immature Bald Eagles
This American White Pelican, a very late straggler, was circling high overhead, trying to find a thermal on this cold cloudy morning.
Cackling Cackling Geese
Great Blue Heron standing on a Beaver dam. Note the frost on the bird’s back.
Located on the east side of Portland, Powell Butte Nature Park (Birding Oregon p. 66) offers a variety of birds and some nice views of the nearby mountains.
The butte is tall enough to produce its own rain shadow, so the western slope is forested with a dense understory.
The top of the butte is drier and dominated by grassland and small scattered trees. Mount Hood looms in the distance.
Fox Sparrows are among the birds found in the brushy patches.
The open habitat is very attractive to raptors, like this American Kestrel. Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks are also frequently seen.
I love to see these guys. Urban and suburban Coyotes are a songbird’s best friend. Studies have repeatedly shown that the presence of Coyotes coincides with larger populations of songbirds, since Coyotes reduce the number of free-roaming domestic cats. For more information on the effects of domestic cats on wildlife, check out the American Bird Conservancy site.