The grounds around Pittock Mansion in northwest Portland are a favorite spot for spring migrants. Most people visit this park to tour the ostentatious limestone house, but birders prefer the brushy hillsides and the woods around the parking lot.
Since we are still locked into a cold, damp weather pattern, most of the spring migrants have not yet arrived, but good numbers of winter residents were flocking and ready to move out.
Several species of thrush were common today. Here is a blurry Hermit Thrush.
an equally blurry male Varied Thrush
female Varied Thrush
Varied Thrush and American Robin feeding together
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.
In the current issue Birder’s World, I have a site guide for Mount Tabor Park in southeast Portland. Mount Tabor is a forested hill (actually an extinct volcano) surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The elevation and vegetation attract good numbers of migrant songbirds every spring. A similar effect can be seen at Pittock Mansion in northwest Portland.
Here is the view from Pittock Mansion, with snow-covered Mount Hood in the distance. The forested hill in the center of the photo is Mt. Tabor. You can see how these islands of habitat rising above the urban sea would be attractive to migrants.