Lloyd Lunch Walk II

Bingo.

Red-tailed Hawk

That, my friends, is a red tail.

I found the nest! One advantage to working super early on the 10th floor, I’m up with the birds.

Stressing out the neighbors

Stressing out the neighbors

10th floor perspective

10th floor perspective

Incoming

Incoming

Red-tailed Hawk

Later in the day, I found a better vantage point of the nest. But no one was home. I’ll check back another day.

Nest

Earlier this same week there was Red-tailed drama in the sky.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Upon closer inspection on the second bird…

Flight

White breast, blackish barred undersides, dark mustache visible – that’s a Peregrine Falcon! In the Lloyd District!

Okay, then. Wow. I will have to keep an eye out for that one.

In cuter, fluffier news. I found a Bushtit nest!

Bushtit nest

Sadly, I did not have the camera poised when the birds were flying to-from the nest and I had to get back to work before they came back. Next time!

And finally, a Rock Pigeon, because this is a bird walk in the city after all.

Rock Pigeon

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey

Smith and Bybee with Angela

A few weeks ago, my cousin, Angela, from Seattle expressed an interest in birding together. I was tickled. She is currently earning her Master of Arts degree in Museology from University of Washington, and is also a talented science illustrator focusing on “microhabitats” such as slime molds, mosses, and ferns. She’s pretty kick-ass.

We met at Smith and Bybee wetlands to see what we could find.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Juvenile Bald Eagle eating a catfish

Juvenile Bald Eagle eating a catfish

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Cooperative Tree Swallow

Eurasian-collared Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian-collared Dove..."koo-KOO-kook"

Eurasian Collared-Dove…”koo-KOO-kook”

 

From Bald Eagles to Eurasian Collared-Doves, Smith and Bybee did not disappoint. Overall, we saw (and/or heard) 23 bird species. Angela’s favorite sighting was this Anna’s Hummingbird flittering from flower to flower in the Red-flowering Currant.

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Angela also pointed out a Bombus melanopygus, the Western bumblebee on the currant I hadn’t noticed (and failed to get a picture of).

My favorite point of the trip was when she rolled over a log on the forest floor, uncovering a Long-toed Salamander.

Long-toed Salamander

Long-toed Salamander

Long-toed Salamander

Long-toed Salamander

 

It was fun birding with Angela. She’s a naturalist at heart who takes interest in learning about the world around her. Just earlier in the month she’d been on a nature walk with an entire class of biologists, graduate students, and nature-nerds identifying the full spectrum of flora and fauna of the woods. This was a fun way to explore Smith and Bybee too.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Original weekend plans for Indian Heaven Wilderness thwarted by rain, my boyfriend and I headed east instead to explore a new state park, celebrate our 50th monthiversary, and see what birds we could find!

The rugged, dry-side Cottonwood Canyon State Park, established recently in 2013, is rich in sagebrush, wildlife, stunning canyon views, and plenty of open space to explore at over 8,000 acres making it the second largest state park in Oregon (after Silver Falls). Only a 2-hour drive from Portland it’s equipped with primitive campsites, but we opted for backpacking and solitude from civilization.

With our packs suited up, we headed out. We chose a campsite along the John Day River with a large basalt canyon on one side, and sagebrush filled hills on the other. Sweet spot!

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

I considered changing this blog’s title to: “Chasing Meadowlarks.” Because that’s how I spent much of my time. They were everywhere! And nowhere…sneaky birds were easy to hear, hard to see. What bird?…Where?

Ohhhh….there it is.

Western Meadowlark

The bird’s yellow markings blend in nicely with the flowers in bloom.

Western Meadowlark

It was neat to wake up in camp listening to their captivating calls. More than meadowlarks, I caught glimpses of a few new birds too! I had a hard time wrapping my head around some of these, seeing new birds can be a stunning experience.

The Loggerhead Shrike! Not to be confused with the Northern Shrike. The loggerhead has a broader mask, stubby bill without obvious hook, and is darker grey on top than the Northern Shrike (my photo is a bit overexposed). Northern Shrike are also rarer in this region.
Loggerhead Shrike

The Say’s Pheobe was a cool sighting, the bird hovered in the wind above the branch a couple of times before quickly flying away. Lacking confidence ID-ing this bird on my own, I conferred with WhatBird and folks weighed in noting the “coloration on the undersides of the bird – the uniformity and distribution of this rufousy-brown color is a very good field mark for Say’s Phoebe.” Field guides also mention it “wags its tail when perched” which I hadn’t known to look for before, but I do now!
Say's Phoebe

I figured out the Townsend’s Solitaire on my own. A type of thrush, in the family Turdidae. The long and slim TOSO has a drab grey color overall, but a distinctive white eye-ring that really stands out. Also, Sibley mentions, “in winter almost always found among juniper trees.” Indeed, that’s precisely where it perched.
Townsend's Solitaire

I watched it for a while as it swirled around the juniper catching insects in the air.
Townsend's Solitaire

Another bird I braved to ID on my own was this little brown fella. The lack of belly streaks ruled out most of my guesses (Savannah Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow), not much stands out. Then I read on Cornell about the “bird without a field mark,” the Brewer’s Sparrow, and it seems to fit. Another clue is the habitat, “notable for their reliance on sagebrush breeding habitat” and “most abundant bird across the vast sagebrush steppe” sealed the deal for me. I’m curious about this bird’s bill, it seems to be a bit crossed.
Brewer's Sparrow

Other cool bird sightings:

I had hoped to possibly see a Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, or perhaps resident upland gamebirds, the Chukar Partridge or Ring-necked Pheasant, (or bighorn sheep!) but no such luck. According to Wiki, the Bullock’s Oriole and Lazuli Bunting are summer visitors to the park, but the searing summer heat will probably keep me away. All in all it was a great trip!

And wouldn’t you know it, I got the best view (and photos) of the Western Meadowlark on the drive back when we stopped by Marryhill Stonehenge, in Washington.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

I’ve almost seen 100 bird species this year!

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey