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I love birdwatchers

Birdwatchers are often thought of as an odd bunch. Weirdos that hang out all day with camera, scope, binoculars, and as many bird guides as they can carry, sneaking thru the brush waiting and hoping and pursuing anything with wings.

And we get excited about things other people don’t even notice. Like this sign.

Only a birdwatcher, upon seeing this sign, would immediately stop in their tracks, disregard whatever it was they were doing, and spend the rest of the day scanning the field. My heart warms a little bit, knowing there’s another birdwatcher out there, sharing his find.

bird watchers unite


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Day 338 photo. movement.

January 5. Movement.


A day at Smith & Bybee Lakes. June 13, 2012

I went out to Smith & Bybee Lakes yesterday. I haven’t been able to get out there as often as I’d like, but it’s great to visit and track the changes going on there over the year. Check out my last visit from April 24. I started visiting last October and plan to visit about once a month for a whole year. I love watching the changes of nature over time.

It was 59 degrees and lightly overcast. Very little wind and no precipitation.

As soon as I took two steps into the forest you could tell it was springtime. Warm, wet weather (it has just poured rain the day before). The bird song and bird calls were so loud they took over like someone turned on a giant bird radio. The plants were lush and green and full. Flowers were open and colorful. The cottonwoods were dropping cotton flakes, floating through the air like a light snowfall. What a difference from the last time I was there!

The trees had a strange rusty dust on the trunks. I have no idea what that was but it was everywhere.

I keep saying this each time I post, but the water level was the highest it’s been since I started visiting in October. I don’t know why it surprises me that it keeps going up, but it continues to surprise me each time! You can’t even get out to view Smith Lake, the path down there is so flooded. People launch their kayaks and canoes from that path, it’s a great place to do so. There is a view of Smith Lake from the other side from a viewing platform along the walking path.  But my original spot to take pictures of Smith has been inaccessible for quite some time.  I can’t wait to see at what point the water level goes down again.

The water was also covered with a green film. Algae or moss or whatever hangs out on top of water. The grass surrounding Bybee was so tall it was above my head.

Birds and bird families were everywhere. The robins pretty much dominated. Parents feeding fledglings on the ground. Yellow warblers were the next most abundant. Nests seen all over. I spied a morning dove sitting quietly on a nest, it was in really good cover so I couldn’t snap a good picture, but it was adorable. The osprey nest also has a young. I saw the parent fly away and one little head remained tucked down. I also saw female mallards with their little groups of teenagers.

Species list for the day:

  • osprey
  • northern flicker
  • barn swallow
  • tree swallow
  • crow
  • robin
  • yellow warbler
  • mallard
  • wood duck
  • great blue heron
  • towhee
  • morning dove
  • marsh wren
  • song sparrow
  • bushtit
  • chickadee
  • cedar waxwing


Smith & Bybee Lakes 04.24.12

I haven’t been out to Smith and Bybee Lakes since beginning of March. Honestly I’ve been trying to get out there the whole month of April but this month somehow slipped past me in a whirlwind.  I feel like since it’s been so long I’ve missed a critical transition from Winter to Spring. It would have really been nice to have captured some pictures from about 3-4 weeks ago.

It was 56 degrees out, overcast and gray, no rain. The weather basically has gone back to “normal” after 3 days of 80 degree summerish weather.

All plant life was bountiful with new green growth. Its really starting to fill in. The last several times I went out was so wintery with all trees bare.  The water level was amazingly high. I feel like each time I go out there I’m saying it was higher than the last time. It is true. I now wish I had had the forethought to mark the path down to Smith Lake somehow so I’d have some way to measure the water level.  Today the water level flooded most of the path to Smith Lake.  So just a picture of the flooded path today, no picture of the actual Smith Lake.

The Yellow-rumped Warblers and House Finches were the most plentiful today. The forest was absolutely filled with them. You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing ten in one spot.  I saw one adult bald eagle soar in a circle, but a juvenile sat perched for me so I could get a photo. I also spotted a Towhee up in a tree. I had never seen one perched in a tree before; they are always on the ground.  Some highlights for me today: was three Yellow Warblers- they were so bright and cheery in an otherwise overcast and gray day, and also a Tree Swallow that had trouble catching its lunch so went to the ground to tackle it.

Species list for today:

  • House Finch
  • Tree Swallow
  • Crow
  • Coot
  • Mourning Dove
  • Bewicks Wren
  • Brewers Blackbird
  • Red winged Blackbird
  • Robin
  • Canada Goose
  • Banana slug (is that even what they’re really called? or is that just what kids call them??)
  • Song Sparrows
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Bald Eagle adult
  • Bald Eagle juvenile
  • Yellow Rumped Warbler
  • Red Tailed Hawk
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Mallard
  • Marsh Wren
  • heard a zillions frogs like mad in the grasses by Bybee Lake
  • Osprey- also have an active nest just on the other side of the bridge to the entrance
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Hairy Woodpecker

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Jackson Bottom birdwatching

I went out to Jackson Bottom Wetlands today. It was a cold, windy, rainy day, so a bit miserable out. But still gorgeous and peaceful, and lots of wildlife. It will be a great place to visit in about a month or so, when Spring will bring even more birds to the abundant ponds.

Species list for today:

  • douglas squirrel, its so nice to see native squirrels since most of the squirrels around are non-native invasive species
  • mink
  • skunk
  • juvenile bald eagle eating a dead, baby deer. pics turned out blurry but was totally cool
  • red tailed hawk
  • downy woodpecker
  • chickadee
  • mallard
  • deer
  • golden crowned sparrow
  • robin
  • song sparrow
  • dark eyed junco
  • ring necked duck
  • canada goose
  • northern shoveler
  • yellow rumped warbler
  • bufflehead
  • coot
  • great blue heron
  • common merganser
  • red winged blackbird
  • killdeer
  • kingfisher
  • northern flicker

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Bird Duos

I was looking thru some old bird photos that I have, and thought it would be fun to put this series next to each other.

two pelicans

two egrets

two whimbrels

The pelican photo was taken this past November at Smith Lake in Portland OR.

The egret photo was taken at Bybee Lakes in Portland OR back in 2007.

The whimbrel photo was taken along the coast in Yachats OR in 2006.

I love finding commonality between things that have nothing to do with each other.