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300 Birds in 50 Miles and 9 hours

September 27, 2014

Steider Studios:  Sunrise Silhouette

September 20th I participated in the Klickitat County Bird Count at Conboy National Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite places.  We arrived just as the sun rose on a cool morning with mist hanging in the air below the hills.  An explosion of birds took off as I pulled my car into a sheltered spot – sorry, I didn’t mean to wake or alarm you!  We counted over 300 birds, traversing just over 50 miles in 9 hours time.  A long but very fun day with 1954 images on my memory cards!

Steider Studios.Heron in TreeWe saw 13 herons that we could count, but think there were more.

Steider Studios.Vulture in Flight

Flying high in the sky, we could clearly see that two of those black silhouettes were Turkey Vultures.

Steider Studios.Wood Duck Trio

We counted three Wood Ducks – not these three, but aren’t they cute?!!

Steider Studios.Flock of ducks.Conboy 9.20.14

We watched several groups of Mallards take off – in one blurry photo that I blew up I counted 84!

Steider Studios.Green winged teal trio

I do not know ducks so asked for help with these Green-winged Teal.  Hope that’s what they are so I don’t mess up the official bird count with wrong identifications!

Steider Studios.Female Ring-necked duck

We counted one Ring-necked Duck, but think we saw 3 more.  I had help identifying her also, thanks so much to the Backyard Bird Counters!

Steider Studios.Northern Harrier in Morning at Conboy.9.20.14

We watched 10 or 11 Northern Harriers hunt from the sky and in the marshes.

Steider Studios.Kestrel.Conboy 9.20.14

I spotted an American Kestrel on a utility wire with another on a stump nearby – love these little guys!

Steider Studios.Wild Turkey

We saw 8 wild turkeys, but not until we were leaving, late in the afternoon.

Steider Studios.American Coot.9.7.14_

One American Coot identified, but there were probably more in the canals.

Steider Studios.Sand Hill Cranes.Conboy.5.24.14

We heard 1 or 2 Sandhill Cranes but did not see them.  I’m hoping to see hundreds at Ridgefield’s Birdfest next weekend!

Steider Studios.CA Gull.Conboy 9.20.14

Forgive this blurry shot, but I’d not seen a California Gull before!  At least not here in the Pacific Northwest.

Steider Studios.Herd of Elk at Conboy 9.20.14

As we waited quietly in the canal area hoping more waterfowl would appear we heard a loud rustling in the tall grass. Much to our shock and awe, a herd of Elk appeared instead!  We startled them as much as they startled us.

Steider Studios.Flying Flicker

Our attention turned back to birds – six Northern Flickers tried to hide from us, but we spotted them.

Steider Studios.Pileated Woodpecker

We couldn’t find, but heard 1 Pileated Woodpecker through the woods.  This shot is a snag outside my back door.

Steider Studios.Raven Duo

There were so many Ravens that again I had to blow up a blurry picture to count all 30 but I think there were more.  American crows in the fields were just as plentiful, more than 40.

Steider Studios.Mountain Chickadee at Conboy 9.20.14

Three Mountain Chickadees were scampering from cone to cone.

Steider Studios.Western Bluebird.Conboy.9.3.14

We counted four Western Bluebirds, but there were more that we couldn’t properly identify.

Steider Studios.Robin in Forest

Only two American Robins presented themselves to us.

Steider Studios.Yellow Rumped Warbler.9.20.14

We counted nine sweet little Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Steider Studios.Sparrow.Rufous-winged at Conboy 9.20.14

The sparrows gave me a headache trying to identify them!  I think this one is a Rufous-winged…

Steider Studios. Savannah Sparrow

I had help with this Savannah…

Steider Studios.Lincoln's Sparrow.Morning at Conboy.9.20.14

and more help with this Lincoln’s Sparrow.

Steider Studios.White Crowned Sparrow at Conboy 9.20.14 I DO know the White-crowned Sparrows because they’re in my garden.  Maybe the others are too and I’ve been calling them finches!!

Steider Studios.Dragonfly on Reed Flower

At the end of the day a swarm of dragonflies captured our attention and away we went on a new adventure…You can see more dragonflies in my Facebook album.

Between our notes, photos, Peterson’s & Audubon’s field guides and help from birding groups on Facebook I finished our report and turned it in.  Hoping to have helped in some small way even though we weren’t at all sure what we were doing!

Over 300 birds within about 50 miles in 9 hours time…whew!!

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6 Responses to “300 Birds in 50 Miles and 9 hours”


  1. Awesome photos & post! I felt like I was there with you.


  2. Thanks so much Gail – that’s my intent, to bring everyone along with me!

  3. cfortglass Says:

    Linda, this is totally AWESOME! I love your photos and all the little comments embedded along the way. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Karina Says:

    Wow! What a great adventure and tremendously wonderful shots! I have a question. What is the difference between a Raven and a Crow? I’m guessing size? Thanks for sharing your amazing photos! I’m so happy for you! Love, Karina


  5. Thanks Karina! Ravens are larger & have a longer beak & sound different, but this link can explain it better than I can: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=2501


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