Thursday, November 7, 2013

The pursuit of rustiness


Last Thursday, a Rusty Blackbird was spotted at one of our favorite birding spots, Dawson Creek Park in Hillsboro. Neither Sarah or I had seen this species before, so we hatched a plan to drive out there and find it as soon as we finished work. Since it was Halloween, I also planned to wear a Rusty Blackbird costume that night.
The first plan failed. By the time we got to the park, the bird had moved on for the day.

 
I wore my Rusty Blackbird costume anyway. I didn't scare any of the trick-or-treaters that came to our house, but I'm sure they all walked away confused.
On Friday morning, we tried Dawson Creek again. Again, we missed the Rusty, as did everyone else who looked that day. Later that night, we learned of a second Rusty hanging out at the Monmouth Sewage Ponds, about an hour south of our house. Decided to try our luck there the next morning.

 
The treatment plant workers left a gap in the gate for birders to wiggle through and view the main pond. After a few minutes of looking, we finally found our bird!

 
This female was not as rusty as the one in Hillsboro, but we had a great time watching her just the same. She acted just like a shorebird (which I had been told Rusties do), walking along the edge of the pond from rock to rock, eating whatever it is that lives in a sewage pond. We were eventually joined by other birders, who were delighted to see the Rusty, and a police officer, who had been told we were trespassing. We assured him that we had permission to wiggle through the gate and had not climbed the fence (this was apparently an important distinction), so he left us to our blackbird-watching.
As we drove back to Portland, we learned that the Hillsboro Rusty had returned to Dawson Creek that morning. Of course it did! Maybe we'll look for that one again. Maybe I'll wear my costume.

2 comments:

  1. I think one should always dress as the bird they are chasing. Far more entertaining ;)

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  2. Haha, that costume is awesome!! You should most definitely wear it to Hillsboro.

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