Bird Nerds at Laurance Lake
July 7, 2015
The Columbia Gorge Bird Nerds journeyed to Laurance Lake on Sunday to see what we could find. Of course we expected to find birds…. We stopped at the dam first and found this cute little chipmunk eating and posing! We saw an American Robin high in a tree, an Oregon Junco singing it’s heart out and a White-crowned Sparrow sitting on a fence. Across a clearing we saw warblers scampering about. They were mostly too fast for me, but I caught this juvenile Yellow-rumped warbler before we headed for the lake. We saw bumblebees playing in knapweed… …and Swallowtails drifting among tall stands of fireweed. At the lake we saw an Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler high in a conifer. Did I mention it was a gorgeous blue-sky day? The campground was full, the day after Independence Day but we arrived before most campers woke. I believe this is a Western Wood Pewee, hope you’ll correct me if I’m wrong. Looking for Pica on the rocky hillside as we walked down the path, half our group missed the Bald Eagle that flew low over our heads. Towards the end of the lake an Otter delighted us with his fishing skills. This end of the lake was full of activity, including a family of Mallards. Two of the kids bathed in the sun while Mama and 3 siblings stayed in the shade until they all went for a foraging swim. We saw Red-winged Blackbirds and a Merganser and an Osprey in flight. I was mesmerized by a flock of Cedar Waxwings including a parent feeding a juvenile. We watched a Northern Rough-winged Swallow skimming the surface of the lake and a Spotted Sandpiper skittering along a beaver dam. We all squeezed through a narrow path and found ourselves next to a beautiful little creek so clear we could see the rocky bottom. An American Dipper worked his way very close, until he noticed us & quickly left. It was a great place to snap some group shots, splash cold water on our hot heads and just enjoy the morning. As we exited, our last bird sighting was the same that we started the day with, an American Robin. Most of our group then headed up to Pinnacle Trail head where we found huckleberries!!! Mt. Hood photo at the top of this post was shot there. We ended the day with lunch and ice cream in Parkdale.
A few of the Columbia Gorge Bird Nerds cooling off by the creek. Photo courtesy of Ann Zuehlke.
Other birds that were heard and/or seen by others: Pileated Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Swainson’s Thrush, Chipping and Song Sparrows and a Western Tanager. Fun times!! See you next time, first Sunday in August.