Saturday, June 16, 2012

Neighborhood nests

Nesting season is well underway in the neighborhood. A few months ago, we found a bulky nest in the forest of Gabriel Park.

 Every once in a while, I see a Cooper's Hawk zoom to the nest, the dark mass in the photo above. I expect there will be more action at the nest when the nestlings grow larger and hungrier. 

Deeper in the forest, I heard the buzzy squawks of a baby Northern Flicker and found a large nestling looking out from a cavity in a broken redcedar. There is another flicker nest near our house, better hidden than the one above. Every ten minutes or so, the boisterous begging begins when the parents arrive with food.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Another trip to central Washington

Sarah and I hit the road to explore Central Washington once again. As you can see in the photos, the weather was darker and damper than we expected. During breaks in the rain, however, we found some good birds in the area's canyons and parks.

Oak Creek Canyon had oak trees, a wildfire site, and ponderosa pines. This is a perfect combination for Lewis's Woodpeckers and we saw plenty of them.

 The basaltic cliffs of Yakima Canyon are great nesting sites for Prairie Falcons. We found a fledgling calling from the top of an outcropping.

 My favorite area was Cowiche Canyon near the town of Naches.We tasted wines at the top of the canyon and then hiked downhill to find a very vocal Canyon Wren. As we hiked back to the winery, a Common Nighthawk called from the sky and made vrooming sounds with its wings.

The best bird of the trip was a Veery singing at Blackbird Island Park in the crazy town of Leavenworth. This small thrush, which neither of us had seen before, has a beautiful song and a limited distribution in the Northwest.We performed a small dance in celebration.
Once again, we had a great time exploring the towns and landscapes of central Washington. I hope to return next summer or earlier. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bad photos of good birds

Sarah and I just completed an amazing trip that took us from Mount Hood south to central Oregon, down to California, then up the Oregon coast to Pacific City. We found more species of birds that we could have imagined and we had great views of birds, such as a Ferruginous Hawk, that we don't often see.

We have become pretty good at finding birds, but, as you may have noticed in previous posts,we lack the equipment and patience needed to take respectable photographs of them. Below are some highlight birds from the trip, brought to you with assistance from PowerPoint.

 Cabin Lake Campground near Fort Rock

Hagelstein Park near Klamath Falls

 Harris Beach State Park near Brookings

 Life bird at Harris Beach

 Seal Rock near Newport

 Yaquina Bay in Newport

We have a few more trips on summer schedule. More birds, and more awful photos, to come!