Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Seattle is very cold, or....

How much I miss the weather in Mexico!  Yes, we have arrived here in Seattle, well Puyallup actually. That is 30 miles south of Seattle, for those of you that have never been here. The great thing about this location is that it is only about a 20 drive to get to Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This place is amazing, as far as birds, and the access that is allowed here. They have established a beautiful series of boardwalks, that allow you to walk right thru the marshland, tidal flats and several different terrains that are found here. That is the upside. The fact that it is so damn cold here right now....We pulled in here Saturday night and were informed by the RV park manager that there might not be any water as it was going to be 14 degrees over night, and they were calling for some snow! Well, a fine welcome back to Washington that is! It only got down to 21 here, but we did get some snow. I did not get down to Nisqually until Monday morning, and it was still about 22-24, but there was a 25 MPH wind blowing in off the open salt water bay, that brought the wind chill down to some where about minus 200. I was sure I was going to lose at least my fingers, and possibly my nose to frost bite. But, there was some sunshine, and there were so many birds!  I moved back into the trees where the wind was blocked somewhat, and found Black-capped Chickadees, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Gold-crowned Sparrows, and Spotted Towhees. There were even 4 Barn Swallows hanging out on a small branch above one of the ponds, I am sure they were wondering what the heck the came back to Washington so soon for? I got a tip from another birder that a Saw-whet Owl had been spotted, and gave me some very precise directions to the roost it had been using for the last few days. And there it was.....only about 7 or 8 inches tall, and nestled back into the cedar boughs, it was not in the mood to be photographed, but I did manage to get a few partials.

Here is the Spotted Towhee.



This is the Red-breasted Sapsucker



This American Wigeon was on the edge of the tidal flats



I love the pose this Great Blue Heron took....it is quite obvious to me that it was as cold as I was.



This Northern Shoveler was quite happy just digging around in that chilly water!



And, last but not least......here is the little bit of a Saw-whet Owl I was able to get a shot of!








Thursday, February 15, 2018

Oregon has been very good to me!

Every since we blasted our way north, and got into my home state of Oregon, the bird numbers have been skyrocketing. Well, for me any way! I am sitting with my good friend, and newly minted bird guide, here in Philomath, Oregon. This is just a few miles west of Corvallis, and 40 miles north of Eugene. He has been incredible, showing me several great birding spots in this area, as well as providing us a place to park the 5th wheel, right next to their house.

Our Oregon Campaign started in Central Point, just north of Medford. This was a quick over night stop, as the night we got there, we got a call that my sister Sue, was in the hospital in Florence, Oregon. I had a quick evening and a very cold morning the next day, before heading out early to Eugene, where we dropped the 5th wheel off in a RV Park. This allowed us to make a quick run over to Florence on the Oregon coast. There a few new birds there in Central Point, and then after spending some time with Sue, we got a hotel room for the evening. Have I mentioned that our weather up to this point has been pretty incredible?  Cold yes, but sunny nearly every day. All that ended on the Oregon coast! We woke up to a pretty heavy down pour, and some strong winds. But, I was determined to make the best of this change in schedules, and see what I could find on the coast.

Again, I am very surprised how much I am not liking this cold weather. I still was right out there in it, looking at Surf Scoters, Common Loons, Western Grebes, and Buffleheads. Three Bald Eagles showed up for a nice treat, as well as Thayer's, Western and Herring Gulls. The highlight of this little side trip, other than my sister Sue, was a new Lifer, in the form of a Northern Shrike. I have to admit, this spotting was totally on my wife Jeanne, who nearly yelled, stop, slow down, back up. There at the base of a sand dune, was this very white bird. Great eyes sweetie!  I will get some pictures posted in the next few days, once I get my light room software working again.

Now that we are in Philomath, we have been on a whirlwind tour of Sewer Ponds, city parks, county parks, and William L Finely NWR. This has given me 7 new birds today. These include the Varied Thrush, Wood Ducks, Canadian Cacklers, Canvas Ducks, Trumpeter Swans and some Wild Turkeys. The highlight of the day for me was the Pileated Woodpecker!

With all that, the total now stands at 193 for the year. I will pull the numbers out in a couple of days and get some pictures posted, but for now, we get another full day here in this area, and then we are on our way to Seattle!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A down day in Sacramento.

Having a down day, in this case is not really a bad thing. As we got closer to Sacramento, the winds really started to pick up, gusting up over 20 MPH. That really throws our 5th wheel rig around quite a bit. We had considered pushing on a little farther, but the winds, and the traffic were enough, so we pulled into the Sacrament Expo Center and RV Park. This park is right along the American River, and the huge green belt that is set aside for birds. I was a pretty happy camper, when the California State Police put out a travel advisory for the highways north of Sacrament. They were calling for 25-35 MPH winds and recommended that all over sized trucks, campers and trailers not travel on I-5 on Sunday. Yee Haa...a full day of Birding!!

This area turned out to be awesome, adding not only 21 birds to my years list, but 4 brand new Life List birds!! I will list the 21 birds below, and high light the new lifers! 

Snow Geese
Canada Geese
Mallard
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Hooded Merganser
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Coopers Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Sand Hill Crane
Herring Gull
Nuttall's Woodpecker - New Lifer
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Oak Titmouse-New Lifer
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Wrentit-New Lifer
Gold-crowned Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow-New Lifer

I have a lot of photos to go thru but here are a few from the first afternoon when we arrived here.

These tiny little Bushtits are always on the move so they are quite difficult to get a good photo of!




I managed to snap off a couple of nice shots as this Peregrine Falcon flew thru the area, in their typical blazing speed!


This is my first ever Nuttall's Woodpecker!



Gold-crowned Sparrows are so beautiful, and I had not seen any since my trip to Kodiak, Alaska a few years back.



Common Mergansers are another bird that I have not seen in many years. In fact, I believe that last one was in Desolation Sound, BC on our way to Mexico.



These are Common Goldeneyes, a bird that is quite common in the Seattle area, as well as much of the coastal parts of the PNW.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Update from the road

As many of you might know by now, Jeanne and I are on the road! We have made it to Bakersfield California, not with out a few...well, issues! Lets just say we are still rookies to this whole RV'ing thing. But, we have worked thru them, and are still moving north towards Seattle.

Each stop has allowed me at least a little bit, sometimes a lot, of birding time, and my list continues to grow. As of sunset tonight I am at 155 for the year. I will keep posting as often as decent Wi-Fi allows, but for now, here is he current list:

1 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna autumnalis La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
2 Brant - Branta bernicla Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
3 Blue-winged Teal - Spatula discors La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
4 Cinnamon Teal - Spatula cyanoptera La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
5 Northern Shoveler - Spatula clypeata El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
6 Gadwall - Mareca strepera Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
7 American Wigeon - Mareca americana La Paz Sewer Ponds 6-Jan-18
8 Northern Pintail - Anas acuta El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
9 Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
10 Redhead - Aythya americana Marina Palmira 1-Jan-18
11 Ring-necked Duck - Aythya collaris Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
12 Lesser Scaup - Aythya affinis El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
13 Bufflehead - Bucephala albeola Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
14 Red-breasted Merganser - Mergus serrator Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
15 Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
16 California Quail - Callipepla californica Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
17 Common Loon - Gavia immer Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
18 Least Grebe - Tachybaptus dominicus Presa La Buena Mujer 26-Jan-18
19 Pied-billed Grebe - Podilymbus podiceps Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
20 Horned Grebe - Podiceps auritus Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
21 Eared Grebe - Podiceps nigricollis Marina Palmira 1-Jan-18
22 Magnificent Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
23 Blue-footed Booby - Sula nebouxii Marina Palmira 23-Jan-18
24 Brown Booby - Sula leucogaster Marina Palmira 1-Jan-18
25 Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
26 American White Pelican - Pelecanus erythrorhynchos El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
27 Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
28 Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
29 Great Egret - Ardea alba El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
30 Snowy Egret - Egretta thula El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
31 Little Blue Heron - Egretta caerulea Marina Palmira 2-Jan-18
32 Tricolored Heron - Egretta tricolor El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
33 Reddish Egret - Egretta rufescens El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
34 Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
35 Green Heron - Butorides virescens Marina Palmira 2-Jan-18
36 Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
37 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - Nyctanassa violacea El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
38 White Ibis - Eudocimus albus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
39 White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi La Paz Sewer Ponds 6-Jan-18
40 Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
41 Osprey - Pandion haliaetus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
42 Northern Harrier - Circus hudsonius Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
43 Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii La Ventana 27-Jan-18
44 Harris's Hawk - Parabuteo unicinctus Marina Palmira 1-Jan-18
45 Zone-tailed Hawk - Buteo albonotatus Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
46 Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
47 Ridgway's Rail - Rallus obsoletus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
48 American Coot - Fulica americana El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
49 Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
50 American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
51 American Oystercatcher - Haematopus palliatus La Paz Centro-malecon 9-Jan-18
52 Black-bellied Plover - Pluvialis squatarola El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
53 Pacific Golden-Plover - Pluvialis fulva Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
54 Snowy Plover - Charadrius nivosus San Quintin Fidel Pabellon 5-Feb-18
55 Wilson's Plover - Charadrius wilsonia El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
56 Semipalmated Plover - Charadrius semipalmatus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
57 Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
58 Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
59 Long-billed Curlew - Numenius americanus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
60 Marbled Godwit - Limosa fedoa El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
61 Sanderling - Calidris alba El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
62 Dunlin - Calidris alpina El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
63 Least Sandpiper - Calidris minutilla El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
64 Western Sandpiper - Calidris mauri El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
65 Short-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
66 Long-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
67 Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
68 Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
69 Willet - Tringa semipalmata El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
70 Lesser Yellowlegs - Tringa flavipes El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
71 Bonaparte's Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphia El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
72 Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus atricilla La Paz Centro-malecon 29-Jan-18
73 Heermann's Gull - Larus heermanni Marina Palmira 1-Jan-18
74 Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
75 Western Gull - Larus occidentalis Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
76 Yellow-footed Gull - Larus livens El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
77 California Gull - Larus californicus Guerro Negro 3-Feb-18
78 Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
79 Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
80 Forster's Tern - Sterna forsteri El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
81 Royal Tern - Thalasseus maximus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
82 Black Skimmer - Rynchops niger El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
83 Rock Pigeon - Columba livia El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
84 Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
85 Common Ground-Dove - Columbina passerina El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
86 White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
87 Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
88 Greater Roadrunner - Geococcyx californianus Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
89 Great Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus Marina Palmira 15-Jan-18
90 Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
91 Costa's Hummingbird - Calypte costae El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
92 Xantus's Hummingbird - Hylocharis xantusii Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
93 Belted Kingfisher - Megaceryle alcyon Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
94 Gila Woodpecker - Melanerpes uropygialis El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
95 Ladder-backed Woodpecker - Picoides scalaris insurgentes 1-Feb-18
96 Gilded Flicker - Colaptes chrysoides Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
97 Crested Caracara - Caracara cheriway El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
98 American Kestrel - Falco sparverius El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
99 Merlin - Falco columbarius Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
100 Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
101 Monk Parakeet - Myiopsitta monachus La Paz, Mexico 30-Jan-18
102 Gray Flycatcher - Empidonax wrightii Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
103 Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
104 Say's Phoebe - Sayornis saya Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
105 Vermilion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubinus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
106 Ash-throated Flycatcher - Myiarchus cinerascens Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
107 Cassin's Kingbird - Tyrannus vociferans La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
108 Western Kingbird - Tyrannus verticalis La Ventana 17-Jan-18
109 Loggerhead Shrike - Lanius ludovicianus Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
110 Black-throated Magpie-Jay - Calocitta colliei Marina Palmira 23-Jan-18
111 California Scrub-Jay - Aphelocoma californica Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
112 American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos Pechanga RV park 9-Feb-18
113 Common Raven - Corvus corax El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
114 Horned Lark - Eremophila alpestris Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
115 Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis La Paz Sewer Ponds 6-Jan-18
116 Verdin - Auriparus flaviceps Marina Palmira 3-Jan-18
117 Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus Esytero Beach, Ensenada 6-Feb-18
118 Cactus Wren - Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
119 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
120 California Gnatcatcher - Polioptila californica La Ventana 17-Jan-18
121 Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus Pechanga RV park 9-Feb-18
122 American Robin - Turdus migratorius Bakersfield RV Resort 9-Feb-18
123 Gray Thrasher - Toxostoma cinereum Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
124 California Thrasher - Toxostoma redivivum Pechanga RV park 9-Feb-18
125 Sage Thrasher - Oreoscoptes montanus Observatory Road 5-Feb-18
126 Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
127 European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
128 American Pipit - Anthus rubescens La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
129 Phainopepla - Phainopepla nitens Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
130 Orange-crowned Warbler - Oreothlypis celata La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
131 Yellow Warbler - Setophaga petechia El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
132 Yellow-rumped Warbler - Setophaga coronata El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
133 Brewer's Sparrow - Spizella breweri Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
134 Black-throated Sparrow - Amphispiza bilineata Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
135 Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacus El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
136 Lark Bunting - Calamospiza melanocorys El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
137 Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis Pechanga RV park 9-Feb-18
138 White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys Observatory Road 5-Feb-18
139 Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis El Centenario Tidal Flats 1-Jan-18
140 Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia Pechanga RV park 9-Feb-18
141 California Towhee - Melozone crissalis Presa La Buena Mujer 26-Jan-18
142 Spotted Towhee - Pipilo maculatus Pechanga RV park 9-Feb-18
143 Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis Conquista Agraria 7-Jan-18
144 Pyrrhuloxia - Cardinalis sinuatus Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
145 Lazuli Bunting - Passerina amoena Presa La Buena Mujer 1-Jan-18
146 Varied Bunting - Passerina versicolor Presa La Buena Mujer 26-Jan-18
147 Yellow-headed Blackbird - Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
148 Western Meadowlark - Sturnella neglecta insurgentes 1-Feb-18
149 Hooded Oriole - Icterus cucullatus Marina Palmira 2-Jan-18
150 Scott's Oriole - Icterus parisorum Presa La Buena Mujer 26-Jan-18
151 Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
152 Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
153 Brewer's Blackbird - Euphagus cyanocephalus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
154 House Finch - Haemorhous mexicanus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18
155 House Sparrow - Passer domesticus La Paz Sewer Ponds 1-Jan-18