Our team for the Audubon Society of Portland’s Birdathon birded several sites in the northern parts of Portland. The weather was cool and rainy, not conducive to photography or bird activity, but we ended our efforts with 76 species for the day. This Western Wood-Pewee at Whitaker Ponds was one of the few photogenic individuals.
Bushtit, also at Whitaker Ponds
This Black-tailed Deer, with his new antlers just starting to sprout, was at Smith and Bybee Wetlands.
There are only two native species of turtle in Oregon, both of which are considered at risk do to habitat loss and pollution. Smith and Bybee Wetlands is a local stronghold for Western Painted Turtles.
Here is a Western Painted Turtle on the left, with a Red-eared Slider on the right. Red-eared Sliders are native to the southeastern U.S., but have been introduced into many areas, usually by people disposing of unwanted pets. Introduced species compete with native species for food and nesting habitat.
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is still a fairly new addition to the Willamette Valley refuge complex, but it offers a nice variety of habitats very close to Portland. I don’t know if the resident Bald Eagles had a successful nesting this year, but this individual was hanging out by the nest during my recent visit.
Cinnamon Teal were conspicuous, but Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal were also present.
Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers are both common nesters on the refuge.
The air above the wetlands is filled with various species of swallows. This Northern Rough-winged Swallow was the only one that sat for a distant photo.
This Willow Flycatcher was giving his distinctive “FITZ-bew” call.
Western Wood-Pewees were calling from the edges of the woods.
The grassy areas are home to Savannah Sparrows.
This White-crowned Sparrow was singing from the roof of the refuge office.
Fort Rock (Birding Oregon p. 27) is a wonderful open ring of rock rising out of the flat sage steppe of Lake County. The remnant of a lava eruption, worn down by the waves of an immense lake, the high rock walls are home to White-throated Swifts, Rock and Canyon Wrens, and various raptors. The sage flats inside and surrounding the structure attract Sage Sparrows and Green-tailed Towhees.
The rock is filled with bubbles, the result of lava erupting into a lake.
The moon over the western wall. There is a pair of Prairie Falcons in this photo, the male is on top of the ridge and the female is down and to the left near the whitewash.
Here’s a closer look at the Prairie Falcons.
A view of the west wall from inside the crater.
Rock Wren, blending in well with his surroundings
This Mountain Cottontail was soaking up a little sun on this cold windy morning.
The outside of the eastern wall near the parking area. This area seems to be best for White-throated Swifts and Canyon Wrens.
The vegetation near the parking lot attracts both migrant and resident birds. Brewer’s Blackbirds are common here.
Green-tailed Towhee being buffeted by the wind
Cold temperature and high winds forced this Western Wood-Pewee to hunt from the ground.
I did a point count at Oak Island on Sauvie Island today, then birded several other areas. Migration is starting to pick up with large numbers of Purple Martins and several warblers and shorebirds on the move. I also saw four Sanhill Cranes, which seemed a bit early.
Western Wood-Pewees are everywhere, and still very vocal.
This California Quail spent some time on top of a corral fence, before disappearing into the blackberry brambles.
Here is a very distant shot of two Red-necked Phalaropes in front of a Cinnamon Teal. Notice the big blue patch on the extended wing of the teal.
A Brush Rabbit, not a bird, nor uncommon, but still cute.
Pacific Treefrog. It is amazing how such a tiny animal (about 1 inch from snout to vent) can have such a loud call.