Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oregon in Spring WINGS Tour: A Gorgeous Day from Portland to the Coast

Today was the first of our 10 days of birding in the wonderful state of Oregon. We lucked out with the gorgeous weather today, but if the forecasts are right, we're in for a cool, showery week.

We started at Fernhill Wetlands where we were met by my friend Steve Nord. Normally, a calm, sunny day like today can make for slow birding, but it was really good.

Highlights here were 2 Bonaparte's Gulls, four Cackling Geese, and a good variety of shorebirds, including 3 Pectoral Sandpipers, quite rare in spring.

We then worked our way through the Coast Range, stopping for Virginia Rail, being led to a Red-breasted Sapsucker by local birder Lars Norgren, and stopping by the Gales Creek Bridge where this juvenile American Dipper was waiting for us.

We made a quick roadside stop near the town of Timber and had the best views of MacGillivray's Warbler that many have ever had. We also saw Hermit Warbler, Winter Wren (soon to be split as Pacific Wren), Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and "Oregon" Gray Jay.

We had picnic lunch at the Sunset rest area where yet another American Dipper (this one an adult) perched calmly nearby.

A walk out to Haystack Rock produced high-flying Tufted Puffins and some happy birders.

Then some of our best birds were at the Nehalem Sewage Ponds. This Semipalmated Sandpiper, very rare in the spring, was amongst a large group of Western Sandpipers.

A Greater White-fronted Goose and this Cackling Goose were with the Canada Geese here.

There were also a pair of Blue-winged Teal, a few dozen Red-necked Phalaropes, some Least Sandpipers, and some very tame Long-billed Dowitchers.

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