I think we had more snow in April than we did in December. It has been cold and wet most of the month, and while I am very grateful for the rain and the added mountain snowpack, the weather has seemed to delay the onset of spring. Migrants have been few, and resident species a just starting to get revved up for the season. This Pacific Wren was trying out his song at Tualatin River NWR.
The Townsend’s Chipmunks are out and about. I think the two lumps in this one’s ear are ticks.
Hermit Thrushes, which are considered a winter species here in the Willamette Valley, are still around.
This Virginia Rail put on a nice show at Commonwealth Lake Park.
If we can’t have spring migrants yet, we might as well enjoy the local residents. Spotted Towhees never fail to impress.
On a recent semi-birdless outing, I noticed a nice flight of these, Western White-ribboned Carpet Moth. These are tiny, with a wingspan of about an inch and a stunning pattern. It is always great to learn a new species.
So, colorful migrant birds and will show up any minute. Right?
I spent the last day of the dry season walking Bayocean Spit on Tillamook Bay (Birding Oregon p. 128). On a day trip from Portland, it is tempting to try to cover all the hotspots around the bay, but spending the day exploring Bayocean Spit provides access to all the major habitats of the area along with a nice hike.
Although the shorebird migration is winding down, there were still some birds on the bay side of the spit. Black-bellied Plovers were the most obvious and vocal, joined by Western Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, a Semipalmated Plover, and the first Dunlin of the season.
Brown Pelican near the jetty at the mouth of the bay
The ocean side of Bayocean Spit usually has far fewer birds than the bay side, but it is a nice stretch of secluded beach.
Judging from the size, I am guessing these shorebird tracks were from a Black-bellied Plover.
After walking on the beach a while, I cut across the wooded section of the spit to return to the bay side.
The woods on the spit attract a nice variety of songbirds, including Fox Sparrows, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, both kinglets, and Wrentits.
This Townsend’s Chipmunk was busy eating these little red fruits.
I am helping with a series of point counts on the Oak Island section of Sauvie Island (Birding Oregon p.56). The goal is to gather baseline information on bird species using this area before habitat restoration work begins. The habitat consists of large oaks, grassy fields, and scattered thickets along the shore of Sturgeon Lake.
The area has a nice variety of nesting species. Those who live in the wooded areas seldom display themselves in such a way that allows me to capture a photo. So here are some birds (and a couple of mammals) of the edge habitats.