Oregon 2016


~I was very excited to locate a pair of BUSHTITS at Summerlake Park in Tigard, OR 4/4/16. This one is the female, the pale eye gives it away.~

All birders know that one of the best things about traveling to a new area for the first time is the possibility of seeing some new birds. It is very exciting knowing that at any turn you may see a bird for your first time ever. This is true even when birding is not your primary objective, as was the case for me last weekend when Tricia and I flew to Portland, Oregon to attend her cousin Rob’s wedding. It was a great weekend and it was awesome to get to know Rob’s wife Monica a little bit better and to meet her family. The wedding itself was beautiful and the food was just incredible. But most importantly, I picked up 14 life birds and 2 new sub-species over the long weekend.

I got out two times specifically to do some birding – I went to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge one morning with Tricia and her brother Kevin and then I got up early one morning and went to Summerlake Park, which is an eBird hotspot and only a few minutes from the hotel. Tualitin River NWR was a super birding spot that has a nice trail to walk. I added 4 life birds and one new sub-species during our walk: Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Scrub-jay, Orange-crowned Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow and the sub-species Pacific Cackling Goose. Unfortunately we were there midday which made for harsh lighting and not many of my photos turned out well. The next morning, I got out early to Summerlake Park and added BUSHTIT and Bewick’s Wren to my life list, and conditions for photos were much better.

The day after the wedding, Tricia, Kevin, and I drove out to the coast to go to the beach and take a hike. It was my first time ever at the Pacific Ocean, and the Cannon Beach with the gorgeous Haystack Rock was a dramatic introduction to it. The day ended up being very bird-centric (can you imagine?!?), and for not planning it, it was incredible how many great birds we had that day. It started off at Cannon Beach, where we quickly noticed that there were puffins flying around Haystack Rock – they were TUFTED PUFFINS! I spent some time on the beach while Tricia and Kevin toured the town and I added Pelagic Cormorant, Black Oystercatcher, Western Gull, and Glaucous-winged Gull. Afterwards, we headed to Oswald West State Park and took a long, amazing hike out to Cape Falcon. We had many Pacific Wrens on our walk, but for me the bird of the hike was certainly the pair of WRENTITS I found skulking around in the underbrush just off the trail.

I really did not want to leave Oregon. It was so gorgeous out there; I was struck at how lush it was and at how many huge evergreen trees there are. It was a really great extended weekend for many reasons and good birding was certainly one.

~A TUFTED PUFFIN flies alongside Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, 4/5/16.~
~Pretty heavy crop here. Tufted Puffin in flight at Cannon Beach, 4/5/16.~
~This was definitely one of my favorite birds of the trip – a Wrentit skulks around in the underbrush during our hike to Cape Falcon at Oswald West State Park, 4/5/16. It was pretty dark on the trail, especially where these birds were found; this photo was shot at ISO 8000!~
~My first life bird of the trip – a Spotted Towhee in the parking lot of our hotel in Tigard, OR 4/2/16.~
~I think Orange-crowned Warblers are pretty common where we were. This one was at Cape Falcon on the coast of Oregon, 4/5/16.~
~This is the male Bushtit, Summerlake Park in Tigard, OR 4/4/16. Notice the dark eyes.~
~Oregon Dark-eyed Junco at Crescent Grove Cemetery and Mausoleum, which was located across the street from our hotel, 4/3/16.~
~Bewick’s Wren at Summerlake Park , 4/4/16.~
~Golden-crowned Sparrows at Tualitin River NWR, 4/3/16. We were at the refuge at midday, which made for some harsh lighting and tough photos.~
~I have this as a Glaucous-winged Gull at Cannon Beach, 4/5/16.~
~I like this shot. Black Oystercatcher flies over the waves at Cannon Beach, 4/5/16.~
~I’m pretty sure this is a Pacific Cackling Goose. And I’m also pretty sure I saw this sub-species for the first time on this trip; I think the Cackling Geese (rarities!) we get in our area are typically Richardson’s. This was shot at Summerlake Park, 4/4/16.~
~Western Gull at Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast, 4/5/16.~

New Life Birds:

Pelagic Cormorant
Black Oystercatcher
Tufted Puffin
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Anna’s Hummingbird
Western Scrub-jay
Bewick’s Wren
Pacific Wren
Orange-crowned Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Golden-crowned Sparrow

New Sub-species:

Pacific Cackling Goose
Oregon Dark-eyed Junco

14 thoughts on “Oregon 2016”

  1. Nice wrap up of your trip, matt. It was reminiscent for me of the birds I saw on my Pacific NW trip, although you had several that I didn’t see. Nice Spotted Towhee pic (one of my favs), love the eye line on the Bewick’s Wren and we had Bushtits but not Wrentits. Glad you had a good time with your family, and glad you’re both home safely.

    1. Thanks Karen. I thought of immediately with the Tufted Puffins. Oh, and I figured you would like the Bewick’s Wren, ha ha. Matt

  2. Nice, Matt!!! Thanks so much for sharing (I’ve been dreaming of Puffins!). The female Bushtit is especially adorable. There is currently a California Gull in West Haven, CT!

  3. Hey Matt,
    Enjoyed reading about your trip. Congrats on all your lifers! It’s always great going to new places and getting to add lots of new birds.

  4. What a great trip Matt! You know I love the Cackling Geese and would have loved to see the Pacific Cackling Goose. Glad you had such a great trip! John

    1. I thought of you with the Cackling Geese. It was incredible having skeins of them constantly flying over, they sound like a pack of little barking dogs to me. Matt

  5. Congratulations on 14 Lifers! Sounds like a great trip. Love the pictures, too. I am glad that you posted them, as I may only see them virtually, for now. I have been to the Pacific Coast, but was not a birder back then. I will have to make another trip! 🙂

    1. Thanks Linda, I did better than I thought I would. You have to get back there now, there are lots of good birds to be seen! Matt

  6. I can appreciate the excitement of finding new birds specially when you find them on your own. Great finds! So happy for you on all around great trip!

    1. Thanks Maha, it really was a great trip. And I totally agree about finding birds on your own, it can be so rewarding. Matt

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