Tagged: Scappoose Bottoms

Field Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Field Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the seventh installment of the “Field Guide”.  It is an account of one of the three sites found in proximity to the town of Scappoose – the Scappoose Bottoms.

This guide will be published in a series of installments:
Overview of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Habitats of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Birds of Columbia County – Overview (5/9/14 post)
Birding Sites of Columbia County – Individual installments, and associated Bird Lists of the Sites in Columbia County:
Introduction (5/12/14 post)

Columbia River Sites – South to North
Sauvie Island (5/12/14 post)
Scappoose WTP and Kessi Pond (5/14/14 post)
Crown Zellerbach Trail – East End (5/15/14 post)
Scappoose Bottoms. (5/19/14 post)

(A link to a downloadable copy of this guide is found in the first installment of this series)

Columbia River Birding Areas

4) Scappoose Bottoms – Honeyman Rd (OBT):

Location/Directions: The loop starts at the Dike Rd intersection right next to the Crown Z trail, 1.7 miles from Hwy 30 where it is Columbia Avenue. Here is a map of the area with suggested stops.

Habitat and Birds: Honeyman is 7.5 miles long from Dike Rd (zero your odometer) to when it intersects with W Lane Rd. It is mainly agricultural land managed for cattle. The last 1.4 miles is up out of the bottoms and into a rural residential area. There are numerous places to pull off the road and all are worth the stop to scan the fields and scrub plantations for raptors, herons, egrets and ducks. Sparrows can be thick and a special stop should be made 1.4 – 1.5 miles past Dike Rd. There is a small pullout on the west side of the road just past the line of tall Cottonwoods. These trees and the field to the east can be very productive. Especially in winter for sparrows where you can easily pick up all regular wintering sparrows including White-throated. Scan all of the visible tree tops for raptors, eagles, and falcons. Continuing on the road north there are all manner of opportunities to pull over and search the road sides for sparrows, scan for raptors and ducks in the flooded fields and sloughs. Traffic is typically light so stopping on the road is usually safe. At 3.6 miles past Dike road there is another place to pull over on the west, just past the Ellis’ ponded slough. There are usually ducks on the pond in winter and the willow thickets to the south are productive in migration. The fields should be scanned for geese, ducks and waders. At 3.9 miles at the 90 degree property line curve is a great place to pull out. Scanning the fence posts and trees in this area usually produces a Rough-legged Hawk in the winter. Short eared owls have been reported here as well and Northern Shrikes have turned up now and then in winter. The Ellis’ manure sprinkler draws large concentrations of gulls, but it is usually pretty far from the road but not always. A Glaucous Gull was reported from this area. The rest of the road is about the same; ponds, sloughs, and road side kack. At mile 4.9 there is another little pull off on the north and across the road is a stand of Garry Oaks. Who knows what can turn up here? I keep hoping for Acorn Woodpeckers. Note needs to be made of the Cal Portland Wildlife Preserve which is just another 1000 ft up the road. I personally do not know what this place holds as permission is required to enter and the office is always closed on the weekends. Maybe one could call ahead of time. Rarities include: Ross’ Goose, White-tailed Kite, Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Franklin’s Gull, Glaucous Gull, Short-eared Owl, and Black Phoebe.

Scappoose Bottoms (eHS) – 136 species (5/12/14)

Greater White-fronted Goose Snow Goose Ross’s Goose
Cackling Goose Canada Goose Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan Wood Duck Gadwall
Eurasian Wigeon American Wigeon Mallard
Cinnamon Teal Northern Shoveler Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal Canvasback Redhead
Ring-necked Duck Greater Scaup Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead Common Goldeneye Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser California Quail Ring-necked Pheasant
Pied-billed Grebe Double-crested Cormorant American Bittern
Great Blue Heron Great Egret Green Heron
Turkey Vulture Osprey White-tailed Kite
Golden Eagle Northern Harrier Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk Northern Goshawk Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk Rough-legged Hawk Virginia Rail
Sora American Coot Sandhill Crane
Killdeer Greater Yellowlegs Dunlin
Least Sandpiper Long-billed Dowitcher Wilson’s Snipe
Franklin’s Gull Mew Gull Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull California Gull Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull Glaucous-winged Gull Glaucous Gull
Rock Pigeon Band-tailed Pigeon Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove Great Horned Owl Short-eared Owl
Vaux’s Swift Anna’s Hummingbird Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher Red-breasted Sapsucker Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker Pileated Woodpecker American Kestrel
Merlin Peregrine Falcon Western Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher Black Phoebe Say’s Phoebe
Northern Shrike Steller’s Jay Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow Common Raven Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow Violet-green Swallow Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow Black-capped Chickadee Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit Red-breasted Nuthatch White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper Pacific Wren Marsh Wren
Bewick’s Wren Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush American Robin Varied Thrush
European Starling American Pipit Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler Common Yellowthroat Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee Savannah Sparrow Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow Golden-crowned Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak Lazuli Bunting Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark Brewer’s Blackbird Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock’s Oriole House Finch Purple Finch
Pine Siskin Lesser Goldfinch American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

 

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Field Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the third installment of the “Field Guide”.  It is an introduction to the selected birding sites in the County.

This guide will be published in a series of installments:
Overview of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Habitats of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Birds of Columbia County – Overview (5/9/14 post)
Birding Sites of Columbia County – Individual installments, and associated Bird Lists of the Sites in Columbia County:
Introduction (5/12/14 post)

(A link to a downloadable copy of this guide is found in the first installment of this sereis)

Birding Sites for Columbia County:

This section is divided into three parts: 1) sites along the Columbia River; 2) sites in the Coast Range; followed by 3) a Site Specific listing of the birds seen at each site. Where eBird has a “Hotspot” listing for a site I have used that data. Where no “Hotspot” has been designated I have used my own personal patch lists – where available.

The vast majority of these sites are located along the Columbia River and adjacent bottom lands. In the Coast Range access is limited as most land is in private timber lands. Walk in access is widely available but that puts limits on the territory which can be covered. A third site category should be included; urban and suburban residential habitats. This is partly covered in some sites but could use a more thorough accounting.

Some of the sites listed have not been thoroughly explored and no site species listing has been included. They are mentioned because of their perceived potential to harbor decent habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Here is a map of all the locations mentioned in this guide.

Where Oregon Birding Trails has a guide for a particular location I have added (OBT) to the site name to indicate this.

For this on-line version of the Guide i will cover at least one site per future update and add the site species list with each site to keep things together.  There are a number of sites that do not have lists yet.  But i’m working on that.

Field Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the second installment of the “Field Guide”.  It is an overview of the birds that have been recorded in the County.

This guide will be published in a series of installments:
Overview of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Habitats of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Birds of Columbia County – Overview (5/9/14 post)
Birding Sites of Columbia County – Individual installments, and associated:
Bird Lists of the Sites in Columbia County

(A link to a downloadable copy of this guide is found in the first installment of this sereis)

Birds of Columbia County (as of 09 May 2014):

According to the East Cascades Audubon Society (ECAS) 324 species of birds have been recorded in Columbia County. Here (.pdf) is a link to the ECAS checklist for the County. Here is a descriptive guide to the county maintained by ECAS. It uses large portions of this guide as a reference.

eBird has 230 recorded species.

Oregon Birding Trails has a Trail and Site Guide (pdf) that covers parts of Columbia County. It is in the Willamette Valley section under the Columbia Loop Guide. The Guide has specie accounts but no count totals as it is not County specific.

 

Included in these lists (combined) are 69 rarities (or just difficult birds to find) for the County which should not be expected to be seen:

Ross’s Goose Emperor Goose Brant
White-winged Scoter Surf Scoter Red-breasted Merganser
Mountain Quail Red-throated Loon Red-necked Grebe
Clark’s Grebe Leach’s Storm-Petrel Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret Cattle Egret White-tailed Kite
Northern Goshawk Swainson’s Hawk Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle Gyrfalcon Common Moorhen
Pacific Golden-Plover Semipalmated Sandpiper Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet Marbled Godwit Sanderling
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Black Turnstone Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Red Phalarope Franklin’s Gull Heerman’s Gull
Sabine’s Gull Black-legged Kittywake Common Tern
White-winged Dove Snowy Owl Spotted Owl
Barred Owl Black Swift Calliope Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker Red-naped Sapsucker Black Pheobe
Tropical Kingbird Eastern Kingbird Loggerhead Shrike
Red-eyed Vireo Black-billed Magpie Bank Swallow
Rock Wren Mountain Bluebird Wrentit
Northern Mockingbird Bohemian Waxwing Palm Warbler
American Tree Sparrow Clay-colored Sparrow Brewer’s Sparrow
Lark Sparrow Black-throated Sparrow Swamp Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow Lapland Longspur Indigo Bunting
Bobolink Yellow-headed Blackbird Brambling

 

County Phenology:

An accounting of the phenology for migrating birds in the County is beyond the scope of this guide. However, it is possible to get a reasonably accurate sense of arrival and departure dates by looking up the County list on eBird. There one will find each of the 230 birds that are recorded for Columbia County in eBird. The occurrence of each species is shown for each week of the year. It is a very intuitive set of charts and a birder interested in birding the County will benefit from this data. This data set should be referenced for the dates specific birds are present before heading out to look for a target bird from a list.

Here is a data based accounting of Northern Willamette Valley Phenology. And here is a narrative based account for spring arrivals for the Willamette Valley in general. And this link will take you to a few calendar based accountings.

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!

Scappose Bottoms – November 2012

I made the Columbia/Honeyman loop a couple of times this month; once in the pouring rain so i just hung out out at the Crown Z trail head instead of walking down the trail, and once in a glorious November break in the weather. The trail, despite the foot traffic, is one of my favorite strolls in the county.  It rivals Rentenaar Rd for winter sparrows and is probably birded far less.  Not to mention i’m just nine birds short of the patch century mark now that i added eight new species this month: Tundra Swan flyover, Northern Shrike, Buffleheads, Brown Creeper, Western Gull, Pacific Wren, Varied Thrush and a flyover Double-crested Cormorant.

Out in the bottom lands i added another two species: a Common Goldeneye in the Ellis Channel, and a covey of California Quail, bringing that patch up to 108.  The Rough-legged Hawk was hunting the north end of the Ellis’s ranch as usual, but at scope distance so only marginal pictures were obtained.  And, with the low light, the shutter speed was too slow for blur-free flight shots.

Ecoregion:
Level IV: (3a) Portland/Vancouver Basin

eBird Reports:

11 November
Scappoose Water Works
Crown Z. Trail
Scappoose Bottoms

23 November
Scappoose Water Works
Crown Z. Trail
Scappoose Bottoms