Saturday, June 15, 2013

NOPO morning


 
We birded north Portland on Monday morning, starting at St. John's Prairie, where we conducted volunteer bird counts for Metro (our tri-county regional government). This site was once known as St. John's Landfill and has since been capped and seeded with native plants.

 
It now hosts what must be the largest nesting colony of Savannah Sparrows in the Portland metro area. You can hear the little brown sparrows singing and chipping in every direction. When traveling from point to point, we stick to the paths cut by maintenance crews, so as not to step on and squish a sparrow nest. That would ruin your day.

After finishing the counts, we drove out to Vanport Wetlands, one of the few places to find Yellow-headed Blackbirds in the Portland area.


The wetlands were full of birds, but the parking and viewing area was far from the action. We managed to see the blackbirds, along with a Redhead and a Male Ruddy Duck, all in splendid breeding plumage, but too far for a photo op.

 
The only birds that came in close were swifts and swallows, swooping into the clouds of midges that hung around our heads.

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