There are few things I enjoy more than birding, besides perhaps writing down my birds with my fountain pen. I saw some amazing birds in the Tillamook area and I took over 200 photographs. There are just a few here because when I returned home, I realized a setting on my camera had been bumped and most of the photos were not useable. It happens to everyone eventually I guess. Lesson learned. Regardless, my list for the day topped out at 44 species, bring my Big Year total to 69 species so far. I have a good start on the year, that’s for sure.
The stars of today included the Tundra Bean-goose (from Russia), a few Common Loon’s, a female Ruddy Duck, a couple of Lesser Scaups, Canvasbacks, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Western Grebe. I had amazing views of a Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, and of course the goose.
List of species seen today:
- Herring Gull
- Great Blue Heron
- Common Merganser
- Western Gull
- American Crow
- Red-necked Grebe
- Surf Scoter
- Bald Eagle
- Common Loon
Bay Ocean Spit, Tillamook County, Oregon:
- Stellars Jay
- Great Blue Heron
- Common Loon
- Common Raven
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Ring-necked Duck
- American Wigeon
- Northern Pintail
- American Coot
- Song Sparrow
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Northern Shoveler
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Western Grebe
- Belted Kingfisher
- Lesser Scaup
- Ruddy Duck
- European Starling
- American Robin
- American Crow
- Mourning Dove
- Brewer’s Blackbird
- Rock Dove
- Tundra Bean-goose (Nestucca WLR)
- Canada Goose (Nestucca WLR)
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Nestucca WLR)
- Dark-eyed Junco (Nestucca WLR)
- Coopers Hawk (Hwy 101)
- Red-tailed Hawk (Hwy 101)
- Mallard (Hwy 101)
- Northern Shoveler (Scappoose, Oregon)
- Sandhill Crane (Scappoose, Oregon)
- Canada Goose (Scappoose, Oregon)
- Western Scrub Jay (Scappoose, Oregon)
- Golden-crowned Sparrow (Scappoose, Oregon)
- Black-capped Chickadee (Scappoose, Oregon)
As most mornings do, this particular morning promised me an adventure. This day I was to explore the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant park that had a paved trail that wrapped around trees, ponds, and fields. The wintery Oregon weather was typical, clouds, mist, temperatures not cold but certainly not warm. I challenged my birding chances by heading out at the worst time of day to see any birding activity. I was going to squeeze as many birds as I could from this park – and squeeze I did. It took me about three hours to walk the three miles or so that I did to feel satisfied that I’ve done my very best. Yes, this year is about getting as many bird species as I can on my list, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy watching the birds any less than I typically do.
I first stopped at the Graham Road ponds off of Highway 30, just passed Goble, Oregon. It was about 11:30 a.m. My first bird was this lovely (and unexpected) Varied Thrush. He sat there looking at me, just like I was looking at him. Such a patient fellow.
I think looked out across the pond. Several hundred ducks mixed with swans and geese sat resting, feeding and otherwise goofing about here.
I did notice a Great Egret sitting in a tree across the way. While heron’s roost in trees, I’ve never seen an egret just sit atop a tree before. If I had a longer lens, I would have been able to bring him in closer, but alas, there he is, the white dot atop the tree. As it turned out, after looking at these photos, I discovered the second one. It is such a pleasure adding new species to my 2015 list, and I did add some on this particular day. These very interesting and beautiful Hood Mergansers were rather plentiful on the pond. I managed to catch a few in mid-stride.
Enter the swan. These Tundra Swans are quite something to look at and admire. Grace, power, respect and love…all wrapped up in a feathered flying bundle. One cannot be without awe when watching them.
After the swans, I went over to the other side of the pond where I discovered what used to a be path to a blind. It was quite over-grown with blackberry bushes, but it wasn’t unpassable. I saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Bald Eagle, and a Song Sparrow while I made my way to the blind.
On my way back, I was lucky enough to see this Great Egreat and Great Blue Heron fly off together. It was quite the sight. I wasn’t ready for this, so my photograph was quite blurred.
The holes you see in this tree may be evidence of a sapsucker. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are known for this behavior, however, that would be a rather rare sighting here in Oregon since they are an east coast specie. I took this photo, however, because I haven’t noticed this pattern in a tree before.
So with Joey’s muddy feet and a list of birds any birder would be proud of for this area, I called it a day. Thirty species in a couple of hours, great exercise, plenty of beauty, and fun buddy along for the walk – that’s a good day.