I went out to Smith and Bybee Wetlands and Vanport Wetlands to check for migrants. The Smith and Bybee area was pretty slow. Water levels were high so some of the trails were inaccessible. Vanport had some really interesting birds, including several Redheads and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, both hard to find in the Portland area.
The small colony of Cliff Swallows at Smith and Bybee was active with nest building.
This House Sparrow had moved into an old Cliff Swallow nest.
American Bullfrogs were enjoying the spring weather.
Brush Rabbit scratching an itch
At Vanport, most birds were pretty far away, like this Yellow-headed Blackbird. His song was easily heard, even from across the lake.
This Ruddy Duck was doing his motorboat impression to impress the ladies.
This Cooper’s Hawk was atop a tall tree overlooking the racetrack. The loud engines did not seem to bother him. I can’t say the same for me.
A few birds, like this Cedar Waxwing, were down in the small trees along the near shore of the lake.
Bullock’s Orioles are often obscured by foliage in the treetops. This individual was low enough for a brief glimpse among the blossoms.
I took Nala to the dog park next to Vanport Wetlands in hopes of seeing a bird or two between throws of the ball.
A male Eurasian Wigeon made a brief appearance.
A pair of Gadwalls swam in the nearby slough.
The large flock of gulls that had been hanging out in the area were not around that morning, but a large puddle hosted this Ring-billed Gull along with some Mew Gulls.
Mew Gulls bathing
Vanport Wetlands, in north Portland, is an unassuming little site next to an off-leash dog park. A chain-link fence surrounds the property, so most views of birds are distant. Despite the small size and limited access, Vanport almost always hosts some interesting birds.
The Ruddy Ducks are sporting their breeding plumage.
Vanport is the only reliable site in Portland that I am aware of that hosts Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
Nala, the Swamp Thing. The water currently extends beyond the fence, providing a place for dogs to play without disturbing the birds swimming nearby.
I took advantage of the short breaks in the recent rainy weather to visit Vanport Wetlands in north Portland. The dark foggy conditions did not create great photo opportunities, but there are a lot of birds using this site.
The local Great Horned Owl is already sitting on her nest. This nest successfully fledged young last year.
In another sign of spring, this Great Egret is already sporting long nuptial plumes.
These Cackling Geese (and one Glaucous-winged Gull) were hanging out on the nearby Heron Lakes Golf Course. A Brandt has been seen on the golf course this week, but I didn’t find him on this visit.
A flock of ten Greater White-fronted Geese were sitting on Force Lake, just north of the Vanport Wetlands.
These geese are young birds, lacking the black and white speckling seen on the bellies of adults.
Nala is not nearly as interested in the birds of Vanport Wetlands as she is in the adjacent off-leash dog park, where she can pursue her prime interest, chasing the Orange Orb of Delight.