Category: Oregon Level IV 3a

Columbia County Early September

A weekend along the Columbia and the roads less birded.  Saturday on the Crown Z trail and Scappoose Water Works.  Sunday on Sauvie Island, visiting Oak Island and Steelman Rd.

An out of place Brewer’s Sparrow along the Oak Island access road, a Red Shouldered Hawk, FOS Golden-crowned Sparrow, an exposed American Bittern, and calling Virginia Rails on the Crown Z trail were my highlights.

Level IV: 3a Portland/Vancouver Basin
Sauvie Island eBird Report
Crown Z Report
Scappoose WW Report

Crown Z. Trail


Level IV (3a) Portland/Vancouver Basin

Sauvie Island in July


Level IV: 3a Vancouver/Portland Basin

Columbia County, Early June Photo Essay

Crown Z Trail and Scappoose highlands.

Level IV: 3a Portland/Vancouver Basin

Level IV: 1d Coast Range Volcanics

The Orinithologists of Emerson School

On Monday, the 6th of May, i was privileged to accompany the children of Emerson School in Portland on their field trip to Smith-Bybee Lakes. Below is a brief recap and photo essay of the day.

The kids chose to study birds for the current section of their school year  — how COOL is that!  Earlier in the month they graciously hosted me for an hour at the school to put up a slide show of local birds, and hand out a list of local yard birds that was put together by  local expert,  Greg Gillson.  (Pacific NW Birder.  Use by permission fide personal communication).  Yesterday they took to the field.

I was impressed by their retention of bird facts and enthusiasm for field craft.  It was truly a pleasure to be in their company.  They have another trip planned for later in the month to Oaks Bottoms.  Unfortunately, i will be at Malheur NWR at that time so kids, if you’re reading this; remember that the most important asset out in the field is — your EARS!

Of note; i was impressed that a number of parents were in attendance as chaperones.  It was very encouraging to see their involvement with the children’s education.  Mega respect and kudos and  to them!

Thanks Olivia, Tiffany, Ariel and Maureen!  It was a blast and i am deeply honored to have been given the opportunity to share my time with the children of Emerson.

First some pictures followed by a list of birds for the day: (click on any image for a slide show presentation)

List of birds seen and/or heard:

Species Name
Canada Goose
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
American Coot
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Marsh Wren
Bewick’s Wren
American Robin
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Black-headed Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch

Also seen, plants in flower:
Osier Dogwood
Ball-head Waterleaf
Bedstraw – that was a blast!
Yellow Flag (Water Iris — unfortunately an invasive specie)
Wild Rose
Black Cottonwood
Water Speedwell
Blue Elderberry
Buttercup sp.
Hedge Nettle

Odonata (Dragonflys an Damselflys):
Pacific Forktail
California Darner

American Bittern

One of the most reliable local places that i know of to actually SEE American Bittern is the Crown Zellerbach Trail in Scappoose in the spring. It is not uncommon to see one to three individuals haunting the Polygonum bogs along the trail.

Below is an insane amount of pictures taken of Bitterns this spring.  Geesh, when they just stand there it’s hard to stop snapping pictures!

Those That Get Away

As an amateur field naturalist it’s always a matter of luck in timing to witness “cool” natural events.  Of course knowing where to be to increase those odds comes into play, but that’s kind of a given.  You don’t go to the Cascades to look for diving Brown Pelicans to photograph.  While it is really special to witness these events, it is doubly so to be able to document them with a photo.

We also take into the field our limitations of knowledge, observational skills, and technology.  So to get all these things perfectly lined up is a special time indeed.  Sometimes we just get lucky:

Mink.  Carr Slough, Columbia Co., Oregon

Mink. Carr Slough, Columbia Co., Oregon

as in the case of this Mink crossing my path.

However there seems to be far more times where the stars just don’t line up:

Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks.  Scappoose Bottoms, Columbia Co., Oregon.

Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks. Scappoose Bottoms, Columbia Co., Oregon.

as in the case of this interaction when a Rough-legged Hawk came cruising in to dislodge the Red-tail from a favored perch.  Drat!