Fink Family Farm Bird List

Fink Family Farm Bird List

The only list I faithfully keep is a list of all the birds seen on our farm since we moved here in 1977. I thought it would be fun to ad...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Black Oystercatchers

As soon as I say that Black Oystercatcher monitoring season is over for the year, I prove myself wrong. I just could not resist one more trip to Short Beach, between Oceanside and Cape Meares, to see if any fledglings came to bathe in the fresh water that flows down from a reservoir above. This is a favorite gathering spot for gulls and BLOY (Black Oystercatchers). As many as 28 were seen there last month.

However, on Friday, Oct. 25, there was only one. It happened to be a fledgling. This was exciting because we know that no chicks fledged from the Cape Meares or Short Beach nests, which means this bird almost certainly came from the Oceanside rocks, where we have yet to find nesting BLOY, although we're rather sure they must nest there. When this fledgling left the bathing area, it flew toward those rocks.

As soon as I get one site figured out...  ...another enigma arises.

Here is the fledgling... so timid around the gulls that he ended up taking his bath in the ocean instead of the fresh water.

In juveniles, the bill starts out short and dark and gradually lengthens and develops the bright red-orange color of the adult. Also, the eye develops its red ring gradually.

Somewhere in these rocks off Oceanside (photo taken from Short Beach), this bird was hatched... Another mystery to solve in another nesting season...


Today a flock of six Western Bluebirds visited our back fields as they seem to do each fall. I just wish they would come back in the spring to nest. Only one year did one pair nest here.

I was so excited about seeing and hearing bluebirds (I love their soft murmuring voices), that I ordered five more bluebird boxes to put up along another fence line in hopes that will make enough for everyone. The bluebirds have to compete with swallows and house sparrows for nest boxes. The swallows seem to mostly prefer the gourds. I just took down and cleaned twenty-four nest gourds and have them stored in the heated tack room for winter. The house sparrows prefer our five wooden bluebird houses and fight over them with the less-gourd-oriented swallows, so I'm hoping five more boxes, in a different location, will entice bluebirds to stick around next spring. Like this pair...

The bluebirds seem not at all camera shy, and I took many photos. Here are a few. Okay, more than a few. Bluebirds are very photogenic and, on this day at least, cooperative.

Okay, so maybe I did annoy this one.
Here's hoping for a bluebird spring!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Bird Out Of Place

Coots are common in inland waterways around me. I know what they look like on land and water. They are, according to The Sibley Guide to Birds, gregarious and dive for aquatic plants in marshy wetlands.

Therefore, a small bird hiding behind a rock at the base of a waterfall at the coast with nothing but a wide rocky beach in one direction and a steep cliff in the other, no other birds in sight but gulls, could not be a coot. Or so I decided. But I was wrong. I don't know why it was where it was, all by itself, but there it was. Another birding lesson learned. A coot is a coot wherever it is.

American Coot

Thursday, October 24, 2013

From Baskett Slough to Sheridan

As usual, my trip to the feed store took a few detours... Most of the photos did not come out great, but, oh well. I like the cormorant. Friend Dawn rode with me and hopefully got better photos.

From Baskett Slough...

Adult Bald Eagle
Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

to Livermore Road... 

Ring-necked Pheasant without the ring. I've read that cocks don't develop the white ring until they are 18 weeks old

And up Tucker Rd. ...

Female Kingfisher
We saw flocks of Pipits popping up and down out of a plowed field on Livermore, but this Pipit was all by itself on a power line along Tucker Rd.

American Pipit

At the slough on Ballston Rd. as you head toward the Sheridan Fishing Pond (and sewage ponds), we saw four Snipe. They were well camouflaged.

Common Snipe

Same bird as above, but zoomed in closer

Common Snipe above and below the water

Also above and below water was this Double-crested (double headed?) Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

 In the bushes between the fishing pond and the sewage ponds were Red-winged Blackbirds among other (not photographed) birds. In the ponds were gazillions of Ruddy Ducks (mostly sleeping) and Northern Shovelers (mostly with their heads under water),  skittish Ring-necked Ducks and lots of others too far for pictures (although I tried).

Red-winged Blackbird
I missed photos of Western Meadowlarks on Livermore Rd. They ducked down every time I finally had them in the viewfinder. Dawn did better. But I was sorry I couldn't find her a Horned Lark along Livermore where I usually see them. Maybe next time... I'll need feed again in another couple of weeks...

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

Fluffed up and patiently waiting for the quail/sparrows/towhees/jays/doves to venture into view again in front of the barn, where I had thrown seed for them... (I couldn't decide which photo to use...)

Friend Dawn Villaescusa had been watching the Cooper's in front of our barn before I joined her. She got some awesome photos of the hawk from the back before he turned around. I stole one of them. Thanks, Dawn!

The next morning this was the scene that greeted me when I tossed grain out for the birds again.

In spite of the apparent bluish cast to the feather below (an artifact of lighting, I guess), it was actually gray, black and white. This Fish & Wildlife Service web site identified it as a Mourning Dove feather.

We now have one fewer Mourning Doves in the neighborhood. And a juvenile Cooper's Hawk with a full belly, at least on that day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Arctic Loon?? Nope. Common Murre

It seems everyone except me knew that this colorful bird was a winter plumaged Common Murre. It looks nothing like the penguin look-alikes I see in the summer massed atop rocks. But I will forever now recognize it ... (hopefully)

Below was written B.E. (Before Enlightenment)

Help! This bird was swimming with surfers today at Cape Kiwanda. Very colorful, whatever it is.

You can see how close it was to the surfers here. Almost seemed to be deliberately swimming toward and near them.

Here it is blown up (and blurry).

It looks like a loon to me and with all that white on the flanks, an Arctic Loon. But is all the other white here and there because it's in the middle of a molt? Or is it something else?