Alderwood Trail

January 8, 2015 0 By Audrey

9 Species Identified

Cooper’s Hawk
Spotted Towhee
American Robin
Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron
Black-capped Chickadee

After a rather bird-less Cape Horn hike, determinedly I set out the next morning to try again. This time at a location closer to home and at an earlier time. I arrived at the Alderwood Trail, a not-so-obvious nature path in an industrial part of Portland near the Airport at around 8am. I was rewarded along the way with a beautiful sunrise:


The temperature was still very cold, a chilly 30 degrees, but the sun was bright so I felt hopeful. I walked along the trail, shadowed on one side by tall alder and cottonwood trees, bordered by a field on the other side. An arm of the Columbia Slough runs along the south portion of the trail. The area is a fitting habitat for a variety of birds and mammals; I’d once seen three coyotes and several wild bunny rabbits on an early morning run at this location.

This morning, my eyes were peeled for birds and it didn’t take long for them to emerge.

The highlights from the walk were a spotted towhee, buffleheads, a black-capped chickadee, and an Accipiter that was either a Cooper’s hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk.

The lighting wasn’t ideal, I saw the bird’s back and banded tail. I’m leaning more towards Cooper’s based on the larger sized head compared to the body. Here’s a good link to compare these birds with similar features.

At one point during my walk, I noticed birds screeching loudly and looked up to find crows dive-bombing a larger bird that I believe was a red-tailed hawk.  The persistence of the crows attacks eventually drove the bird away. Brave little fellas!

Another treat I saw was a rather large flock of American robins flying back and forth from a large tree and a smaller berry bush. So many birds in one bush!

It's Where's Waldo for American Robins

It’s Where’s Waldo for American Robins

A couple of other interesting notes, after I got home and reviewed my photos, that was when I spotted the great blue heron in the background of my shot of the mallards, great camouflage! (he’s on the right bank).


I have one photo of some ducks that I am unsure of the species type. I’m still learning my waterfowl and it’s a tough category of birds to remember! If I had to guess, I’d say they’re Wigeons, American Wigeons maybe? Anyone have a positive ID? I’ve signed up for a free Audobon birding outing at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden which will hopefully give me insight to the waterfowl of this area.


Once you start birding, it’s hard to stop! I saw this red-tailed hawk later in the day when I made a Home Depot trip. What a beauty! The pale breast and streaked belly band helped me identify it.

Lastly, I have to include the Anna’s hummingbird I spotted in our yard when I got home. I’ll post a “birding in my backyard” blog in the future, but am including this sighting for today. I adore the company of these birds.