Our sunny warm spring has turned cool and wet. This is a good thing, as we continue to be far below average in rainfall amounts, but the weather has put a bit of a damper on birding and photography. This Tree Swallow put on a nice show at Koll Center Wetlands. I believe this is a young male, hatched last summer and just now molting into full adult plumage.
Most Golden-crowned Sparrows have returned north by now, but the few that remain are in full breeding plumage.
This past winter was not a big year for Pine Siskins, but one or two have recently been showing up at my feeder.
Mourning Dove at Tualatin Hills Nature Park
This singing Orange-crowned Warbler was actually displaying his orange crown at Pittock Mansion.
Male Anna’s Hummingbird, singing in the rain at Pittock Mansion
This next week will see spring migration winding down and the local nesting season kick into high gear. The slower pace will provide an opportunity to really study the local nesters, provided the rain stops.
While birding at the Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery in Tillamook County, I stopped to check out a stand of Red Hot Poker, or Torch Lily. This plant is not native, but the flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, orioles, and warblers.
Orange-crowned Warblers were the only warbler species around that day, but several individuals came out of the heavy cover to feed on nectar.
When I first arrived at the patch, a female Anna’s Hummingbird was feeding. She took off before the camera came out, and then the patch was dominated by a male Rufous Hummingbird.
Whiskey Creek Hatchery is a small site, but offers a little patch of woods and access to Netarts Bay.
In honor of the winter solstice, in a month that brought Portland 7″ of rain, here are a few dark grainy images from recent weeks.
Here is a nice comparison of American (foreground) and Lesser Goldfinches. Notice that the American Goldfinch has white undertail coverts, while the Lesser has yellow.
Here is a very dull American Goldfinch (probable first-year female) in front of a Lesser (probable first-year male).
Chestnut-backed Chickadee, looking ever perky
It has been a good migration so far in the Portland area, with nice weather and good numbers of songbirds being reported. Swainson’s Thrushes always come through our property in September to eat dogwood berries. At night, you can hear the calls of these birds as they fly overhead.
Sunrise at Pittock Mansion (Birding Oregon p. 70) This tree, a large birch, was a warbler magnet this year, attracting all the common species plus two Northern Parulas. I missed the parulas by one day.
Orange-crowned Warbler, Pittock Mansion
Birds are not the only autumn migrants. Lots of dragonflies are on the move, as well. I don’t know the dragonflies, so if you can ID this one, please leave a comment.