Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-6

Fall migration is a good time to go out and scout for birds in the Columbia River Gorge.  Our local group of ‘Bird Nerds’ had a wonderful time walking one section of The Dalles waterfront on Sunday.

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After a wonderful breakfast at La Petite Provence in The Dalles our first encounter was a Great Blue Heron that saw us before we saw him.  He flew out of the cove and onto a diving platform in the Columbia River.

Brewer's Blackbird at The Dalles waterfront. Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-3

While standing in that cove we also saw a Brewer’s Blackbird and his mate…

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…and at least one Killdeer as well as several ducks … possibly Mallards … possibly females …. definitely brown.

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It was thrilling to watch a trio of terns fishing from the next cove.

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They also made use of the diving platform that the heron had abandoned.

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We saw many smaller birds flying overhead ~ I managed to capture this one, a Scrub Jay.

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As we walked into the next section I caught a Raven taking a break in the sun.

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We spotted a Western Grebe swimming in the distance.

Steider Studios.Osprey in Flight.9.13.15

A couple of Ospreys hunted from overhead.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-14We saw many sweet little American Goldfinches in trees and in flight.  Lucky for me one landed on a close branch.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-12I caught a Cormorant in flight as we continued our easterly walk along the shoreline.

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A rack of American Coots drifted in the Columbia River….

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….and more ducks flying overhead that we couldn’t identify…

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…and some in flight that brought discussion ~ is it a crow or a raven and the characteristics to look for.

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The surrounding bushes were filled with delightful song, but alas we couldn’t see the choir.

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We saw plenty of gulls, most were white but some were brown.  Without an expert along we just enjoyed the sightings and hoped we’d figure out who was who later.

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My highlight of the day was a Great Egret who gracefully flew directly in front of us.

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This bird is simply stunning.  It felt so magical to watch that I almost forgot to lift my camera!

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Heading back to the parking lot a flock of Cedar Waxwings landed in a tree ahead of us.

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A friend said to watch for a Red-necked Grebe, but I didn’t see one.  I believe this is a Pied-billed Grebe.  Check out the tiny fish jumping out of the water all around him!!!

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Returning to our starting point the ducks were gone but a lone Domestic Goose brunched his way across the pond.  Those of us who met on Sunday consider ourselves novices, but we did ok locating and identifying most of what we saw.  Most being the operative word, we also saw plenty of LBBs (little brown birds), Peeps, Gulls and Waterfowl.

Steider Studios.Big-horn Sheep Fight.9.13.15

Afterwards I took a Sunday Drive and found Bighorn Sheep east of the John Day River.

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Returning home the region filled with smoke from yet another wildfire.  This shot is from the Westbound Cellilo exit on 84.  It was the first point I could see brown mixed with the white smoke, giving me an idea of where the fire was, east of Horsethief Lake.

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This shot of the Horsethief Fire in the Columbia River Gorge was taken from directly across the Columbia River and digitally enhanced to see through the smoke.  Sounds like it is close to controlled as of this post according to the Goldendale Sentinel.

If any of my birding friends have corrections for me, they are always welcome!!




Rare Bird Sighting

November 4, 2014

Steider Studios.Northern Waterthrush

It was dark and raining near dawn Friday morning, but there it was – a rare bird skittering near the water’s edge, a Northern Waterthrush. Seldom seen in our area of the Pacific Northwest, two local birding experts had invited me along to document and wanted to be sure they were correct in their assessment.  My photos are not the best, but in spite of the not-so-sharp image you can see his markings.

Steider Studios. Northern Waterthrush

We stood in the sand across the pond, rain pouring down as we watched him run back and forth between water’s edge and the cover of false indigo shrubs. He’s actually in the warbler family and I learned a lot from these experts. While there I peppered them with all my bird-related questions, some of which they could answer & others they couldn’t.

Steider Studios.Shorebird.10.31.14.The Dalles

We also watched a trio of Dunlins traversing the beach at The Dalles Waterfront Park, close to where we saw the Northern Waterthrush.

Steider Studios.Merlin.10.31.14.The Dalles

…and a little Merlin decided to grace us with his presence.

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We finished our travels at the boat ramp where a raft of American Coots and assorted ducks swam closer to us.

Steider Studios.Mourning Dove.10.31.14.Bingen

Back at the Ranch, so to speak we came upon a Mourning Dove near the parking lot where we started.

Sunday I joined a group of birders on the Hood River waterfront – the more I immerse myself in a bird’s world, the more I learn and I think my photos are improving.  Oh, I’ll still show you a blur now and again if it reminds me of a special experience that I want to share with you.  I’ll post pics from Sunday in a day or two…..

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