Highs and lows

Spring is here! Migration is happening and I’m still slowly recovering from ankle surgery. The cast is off, the boot is on, but I still can’t walk. Yet. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look at birds. At least those accessible from flat ground.

Which is why I was so happy to get a message from my friend Eric alerting me to Western Bluebirds at his local (flat) patch last week. Luckily, it was on the way home from the medical supply store so I could convince Tomas to make a stop.

Dharma Rain Zen Center

If I stood out birding before with binocs and a huge camera lens, I’m pretty much a beacon now with crutches, binoculars, and a boot.

But it was totally worth it because we got the birds! Two Western Bluebirds, a new county bird for me. Since I can’t carry a camera and crutches at the same time, Tomas used a video camera to get diagnostic evidence.

And we got a bonus Say’s Phoebe, peeping and calling.

It was a good stop. Another bright spot in my week was a text from Jen giving me a heads up on a tiny owl in the neighborhood. I was at work, and since I still can’t drive and am mostly reliant on Tomas for transportation I waited patiently until we were both off of work. This time I took along my knee scooter I’ve rented to get around the office more easily.

Not meant for off-roading, I took it along a paved road as far as I could before crutching the last little bit.

The blisters were worth it, because at the end of the trail we found the sleepy little Northern Saw-whet Owl. Tiny owls make the pain go away.

I’ve had to get creative to see some things, and I’ve missed out on others, like a county Mountain Bluebird that migrated to Powell Butte that is way to steep for me to scoot or crutch up. Hopefully I’ll get another chance. But I’m super thankful for the tips my able-bodied friends have passed along. I even got a tip from a coworker of an Anna’s Hummingbird nest in the park outside our office!

So adorable. I’d love to get some photos in better light before the tree leafs out.

Lastly, today’s adventure started when Sarah texted me about a Sabine’s Gull in Salem. I almost didn’t go, but I happened to have the day off so I decided last minute to get a Lyft ride to her house. From there, Max, Sarah, and I went to Salem and easily got the gull.

Flying around with Tree Swallows like it’s totally normal for a pelagic bird.

Such fun times! Even while on crutches. A few lows, but mostly highs thanks to my supportive friends and Tomas for getting me out of the house.

Hobbles and scoots,

Audrey

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:

Warbler

Warbler

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?

Donuts

Sweets and chips,

Audrey

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