Moody Blue’s bill

I learned something today. I learned that it is nearly impossible to capture a Great Blue Heron. No, I did not attempt this feat. And neither did anyone else. Allow me to explain.

I went birding at Commonwealth Lake Park yesterday, and came across a few Great Blue Herons. As per usual, when I see these magnificent birds near the water’s edge, I try to walk by slowly and “unintentionally” so as not to flush them.

I succeeded and got some great shots of this one. I’ll call him Moody. Moody Blue Heron.

Moody Blue

It wasn’t until I got home and examined the pictures more closely, that I noticed Moody’s bill. See it?…fishing line. Ultimate sad face.

Moody's billIn another angle the lure is visible.

Lure visible

I am incredibly bummed that I didn’t notice at the time (though I’m not quite sure what I could have done), but once I did realize I immediately contacted Audubon Wildlife Care Center. They asked if the bird was able to fly. If they could get ahold of it they could do something. Since I hadn’t flushed the bird, I didn’t know if it could fly or not.

I contacted Tualitin Hills Parks and Rec District next since they oversee Commonwealth Lake Park and this how I found out one of the biggest issues with wildlife capture is the animals “won’t allow themselves to be caught.” Natural Resources Specialist, Greg Creager, responded sincerely and thoughtfully to my concern about Moody, but he explained that unless the bird is immobile, the ability to capture these large powerful birds with sharp beaks is close to zero. Disheartening, but understandable.

He says they will keep an eye out, and they’ll continue working the problem from the front end: get people to clean up after themselves. Biodegradable fishing line, anyone?

Coincidentally, in the mail today, I received donation request documents from the Audubon Wildlife Care Center. I made a donation online in honor of Moody Blue. Hopefully it’ll help another bird somewhere.

To Moody,

Tweets and chirps

Lunch walk, tricked by a warbler, and Oaks Bottom

I had a pleasant walk during my lunch break yesterday.

First, I spent some quality time in the parking lot with this charming White-crowned Sparrow.

In my Little Brown Bird class, I learned these sparrows are common in flocks in the winter, and they frequent parking lots in summer. Rather peculiar.

I checked up on the Bushtit nest too but no one was home. Funny, they built their nest right next to the train tracks. I guess the thundering loud noise isn’t enough to deter them from a prime inner SE Portland home.

Bushtit nest

Location, location, location….

Bushtit nest

Bushtits weren’t home, but warblers were! This is what I saw:



The black, white, and yellow colors stood out to me, but I didn’t think it through. I jumped to “new warbler” and “Squeeeed” all the way back to the office. It wasn’t until after I left work to revisit the birds that I saw this:

Yellow rump

The unmistakable “butter butt” of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Alas, this is a year-round resident and not a migrant, whomp whomp. But, it still made my day.

Plus, it made it easier to identify the yellow-rumps on my walk today around Oak’s Bottom, they were everywhere!

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I didn’t have a lot of time to explore Oaks Bottom before my “getting to know your digital camera” class at PCC, but I did come across a few other birds:

Another peculiarity hanging at Oaks Bottom, a suet of donuts?…just who exactly are they trying to attract?


Sweets and chips,


Mom visit and incidental birding

Last week, my mom and her friend Carol flew in from Florida to visit me. While they were here, I had the pleasure of showing off some of Oregon’s natural wonders.

I took them to see waterfalls

Latourell Falls

And we saw a Pacific Wren!

I took them to the Tulip Festival in Woodburn

Tulip Festival

And saw owls.


To the coast!…

Cannon Beach

And saw Harlequin Duck, Common Murre, and Brandt’s Cormorant!

Harlequin Duck

Common Murre

Common Murre

Brandt's Cormorant

On a hike to Punchbowl Falls

Punchbowl Falls

We saw American Dippers! I’ve been looking forward to seeing these cool birds all year. I love the way they “bob” up and down on rocks by the river. Cornell says they are North America’s “only truly aquatic songbird.” Neat.

American Dipper

We also stopped at Camp 18 for a small bite to eat…

Camp 18

And were greeted by this hilarious cat:

"Chessy" the Cheshire Cat

As well as, Violet-green Swallows!

Violet-green Swallow

Finally, the Rhododendron Gardens…(azalea pictured). Did you know that all azaleas are Rhododendrons, but not all Rhododendrons are azaleas? I didn’t either.


Among other birds at the garden, we saw a Double-crested Cormorant and Wood Ducks, or as my company called them, “Darth Vader Ducks.” Alrighty, then.

Double-crested Cormorant

Wood Duck (male)

Wood Duck (female)

Not bad for a week of incidental birding…four new species!


Birding even when not birding.

Tweets and chirps,