Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Beautiful Oregon Coast

The most amazing thing I think I have ever seen is the rocks that are along the Oregon coastline. Well maybe not rocks but boulders, cliffs, even the beaches are different! 
If you have never been to Oregon coast maybe you noticed the sand at some of the beaches are hard and not as soft as sand on the east coast! 
All the driftwood laying on the beaches is something I've never seen, and is actually amazing to me.

This is Three Arch Rock. 

The rock in the middle there is the first rock out in the water that I saw and when I saw it we were on a trail walking down to the Cape Meares Lighthouse. I ran over to the lookout and was very excited and couldn't stop smiling! It really was unlike anything I have ever seen! 

Cape Meares Lighthouse

The view from Cape Meares Lighthouse. On the right is Three Arch Rocks.

These two shots were taken on the Spruce Tree Trail at Cape Meares NWR.

Cannon Beach

 At Cannon Beach there was some rocks near the beach and plenty of people enjoying their day at the beach! 

Our last stop of the day was Lincoln City to see the Harbor Seals. We saw them and this nice pier behind Mo's Restaurant. 

We didn't really see much birds but we did see three lifers that day. Pacific Wren, Brandt's Cormorant, and Pelagic Cormorant. We didn't get good pictures at all so I won't be posting any of those!

Here is our best shot of the Harbor Seals!! So cute!! It was windy and cold when we got there to Lincoln City but we still watched and took pictures of them for about 20 minutes! Then we enjoyed a lovely meal at Mo's Restaurant, if you are ever in the area check it out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Portland Parks and a Barn Owl

This past weekend we had a few days in Portland area, so we decided to rent a car and head off to some parks around Portland. We went to Mt. Tabor Park, Laurelhurst Park, and Wapato State Access Area at Sauvie Island.

Mt. Tabor Park was very beautiful but not too many birds there. We heard birds but couldn't see them high up in the trees. We did see some Red Crossbills and on the way out we spotted a Varied Thrush (Lifer), and Hermit Thrush. Just past the parking lot there was a viewing of a pond. There was some gulls and some ducks in the pond and decided to walk down the about 50 stairs! Once down there we saw a flock of American Robins and Glaucous-winged Gull.
Fox Sparrow

Down the path we saw a group of people looking into the trees. We headed down there and saw a flock of Cedar Waxwing in the trees eating berries. They were doing a Christmas Bird Count. Then we caught sight of a Red-breasted Sapsucker (Lifer). It's always so exciting when we see a new bird, but sadly we did not get a very good shot of it. One of the ladies with that group of birders told us about the next park we went to and also Sauvie Island.

Once up the stairs again we were met with a cute little Fox Sparrow.

Cedar Waxwing

After that we headed for Laurelhurst Park..more stairs...got my exercise in that day! Another beautiful park with Titmice(I can never seem to get a good shot of those). We headed over to the pond only to find some Muscovy Ducks, Mallards, and Buffleheads. The Bufflheads are so fun to watch as they dive under for food and come back up. I was unsuccessfully at getting any good photos of them diving.

After checking out the ducks Simon spotted a Cooper's Hawk high in the tree. We got some bad pictures and then it flew off after some prey. It flew over the pond and was flying low to the ground. We headed over there to see if we could get some shots of it, but on the way there we heard a chickadee chirping. Simon spotted our next LIFER, Chestnut-backed Chickadee. We took a bunch of shots and never before have I seen a chickadee sit in one spot of such a long time. 

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Next we headed to Sauvie Island and found Wapato State Access Area and nothing new there just Hooded Meransers, Canada Geese, Ring-necked Ducks, Pintails, and some chickadees. We got three lifers that day; Varied Thrush, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Red-breasted Sapsucker. Sunday we headed to the coastline of Portland and that will be my next blog post. 

When we got back to our truck Simon took the dogs out and spotted a Barn Owl flying off as it was startled my the dogs! Simon rushed back to get the camera and me, we looked in the freezing cold for the owl for about 30 minutes. We found nothing. Later on that evening we went out again and saw the Barn Owl!! We took some shots of it and came back to upload them and nothing! The SDCard failed and the pictures were gone...needless to say I'm not using that card anymore! Simon went back out in search for the Owl but nothing. 

Sunday after returning from the coast we went back out there and spotted the owl again and got some shots but not too good, but we could tell without a doubt it was a Barn Owl. Another lifer!! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sonny Bono NWR

Been awhile since I've had time to sit down and write something! I've been busy birding this past week!! Well it's the beginning of 2013 and that means starting the year lists over! Last year we ended with 351 and I think we will be able to beat that!

View from the platform at Unit 1
Snowy Egret

The first of January we headed for Salton Sea in southern California. What a beautiful drive over there through the Chocolate Mountains! Once we got there we went to Unit 1 of Sonny Bono NWR. There we first saw flocks of Sandhill Cranes grazing in the fields, American Coots, Northern Shovelers and American Wigeons in the ponds. Along with Great Blue Heron, Cattle, Snowy and Great Egret standing along side the canals. Just past that we spotted more cranes and a whole field of Snow Geese.

Sandhill Cranes
We then headed over to the headquarters and headed for the platform to check out the Snow Geese hoping to spot some Ross's Geese, but no luck there. So I spotted this big rock in the distance and then looked through my lens and saw people on it! Then we saw Rock Hill Trail and hoped that would take us there and it did! On the way to the rock we only seen Desert Cottontails and Egrets. We finally spotted the sea and all the gulls by the shore! We decided to walk down to the shoreline and see if we could spot a Yellow-footed Gull, which had been spotted there the week before, no luck with that gull.

Black-necked Stilt

Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs

We did spot some nice shorebirds; Black-bellied Plover, Least Sandpiper,Greater Yellowlegs, American Avocet, Willet, Long-billed Dowitcher and Marbled Godwit. The gulls there were mainly Ring-billed Gulls with a few Herring and Glaucous-winged Gulls.

Marbled Godwits

After that we spotted some Eared Grebes, Clark's Grebe and Western Grebe swimming near the shore.

Eared Grebe

Clark's Grebe
We climbed to the top and and got some nice shots of Salton Sea and rested for a little bit.

At the Top!

Salton Sea

Old abandoned dock near the marina.

After we were rested we headed back down the hill and headed for our truck. We didn't see anything new along the way. We got 1 new lifer there the Glaucous-winged Gull.

**Next blog about our Oregon coast birding and also Portland area birding**

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Big Year in a Nut Shell

After finishing our big year we did some calculations and and we spent 1269 dollars this year; for park fees, gas, rental cars. We got a total of 351 species and that comes out to be a cost of each bird $3.62. While birding we had a lot of fun and problems too! We had a great time and hope to do it again in 2014!! 

This year we will just be trying to add around a hundred new species to our lifer list. We are currently at 375 Life List. Hope you all stick around and enjoy our birding this year!!

Happy Birding!!!

Salton Sea, CA

Well we have decided to try and add some lifers to our list this year. We will be blogging about our birding adventures. January 1st we went to Salton Sea in southern California. There we saw 63 species and I'm still going through pictures. Will post some now and some more later on. These were taken at Sonny Bono NWR.

Sandhill Cranes

Black-necked Stilt

Snowy Egret