Last year I struggled with the reality that is summer birding is so slow. This year I feel more prepared and I’m appreciating the birds that are still around.
One summer evening, Jen invited Tomas and I up to Larch Mountain to watch the Common Nighthawk show and we happily accepted.
They swoop and dive through the air catching insects all the while calling, “peent, peent, peent.” Then in a courtship-territorial display they dive sharply toward the treetops with a “boom” noise from the friction of air passing through their wing feathers. It’s amazing! Especially when the booms and peents are right over your head.
We also saw an Aligator Lizard (neat to see a lizard on the west side of the Cascades!)
And about 40 Band-tailed Pigeon. No joke. I photographed 1/40.
One mid-week sunny summer day I skipped work for a hike with Jen with near Mt Hood Meadows.
Rumor was this hike comes with a side of Clark’s Nutcracker. I’d been on the lookout for CLNU since at least my Black Butte hike. Unfortunately, I dipped then, and I dipped on this day too. Not for lack of trying. Dang those birds.
Still, we had a lovely hike and enjoyed the birds that showed up, like Townsend’s Solitaire, Mountain Bluebird, Chipping Sparrow, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Western Tanager.
Followed by a lovely lunch buffet at Timberline Lodge. Rumor was Clark’s Nutcrackers frequent the lodge property. Unfortunately, not this day.
The following weekend, I decided to try my nutcracker luck again with my friend Kristen. Her boyfriend’s name is Clark, so I thought maaaaybe….yeah, that’s silly. Nevertheless, we hiked the four miles and looked but no such luck. But I was able to get a better look at the Elephant’s Head flower that Jen had spotted on the first go-round.
Afterwards, Kristen and I headed to Timberline Lodge for the lunch buffet, because, why not? And it was Kristen’s first time at the lodge!
Low and behold, my lunch was delayed by a single Clark’s Nutcracker I spotted in the lodge parking lot.
It flew down and hopped along under the parked cars.
Yep, dirty parking lot bird.
I hiked over 12 miles through acres of wilderness, to end up finding the bird in a parking lot? The things a birder will go through for a lifer. Dang birds.
So good and so bad. Is it fall yet?
Booms and peents,
That nighthawk video!
My face in that video! Jaw-dropping good times.