It was really fun to lead a unique tour in Oregon to some of my favorite places. We drove down the coast as far as Cape Blanco, met up with some birding friends, and enjoy some very nice restaurants. This Tropical Kingbird was at Terry’s family ranch in Curry County, and while it is normally a rare find this far north, we ended up seeing a total of five on this tour, including one way north at Kalaloch Beach, Washington.
The final place we visited was Marys Peak, which in early November could be closed with too much snow, or impossibly windy and wet. Instead we had a warm air inversion. It was foggy and quite chilly on the floor of the Willamette Valley and sunny and some 15 degrees (F) warmer on the peak. Simply gorgeous, and we could even see Mt Rainier in the distance. This is Mt Jefferson behind Susanne.
After dropping Susanne off at her B&B in Seattle, I flew back home and had just that one night (i.e., a few hours) before my morning shuttle to the Portland airport for my Minas Gerais, Brazil tour. This tour went really well – birds were cooperative, it was a great group, and the weather was fantastic (especially compared to last year’s daily rain). Everyone’s favorite time was at Caraça Sanctuary. We were here three nights and were lucky to have the Maned Wolf come to the kitchen scraps early on our first evening.
Some of the best birds here were Tufted and Long-tailed Antshrike, a female Frilled Coquette building a nest, and a singing male Blackish-blue Seedeater. But my favorite sighting was this little metalmark, which judging from the name must have been described from this very spot: Aricoris caracensis.
It was a short tour, so I had the latter half of November in my new home to start really moving in. Had I known that I was buying a house, I probably wouldn’t have booked nine weeks of five back-to-back tours. I was glad to finally start making it my home. And I was looking forward to being able to visit all my favorite places in Oregon at times of year other than my regular WINGS tours. This started this month with a day trip to Marys Peak with three new birding friends from Eugene – Martin, Rachael, and Gerry. We were hoping for the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches that had been here in recent weeks (which Susanne and I saw), but they weren’t around this day.
My second Northern Pygmy-Owl in a month was a nice treat, especially getting a photo of it with Mt Jefferson in the distance.
I also started learning some new local birding spots. My friend Vjera showed me Golden Gardens City Park, well within biking distance of my home.
We didn’t find anything truly rare here, and my best photos are of a common Yellow-rumped Warbler, probably an older male with such nice colors in what would be the drabbest plumage of the year.