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, December 14, 2014

Lincoln County Christmas Bird Count

I spent 3 hours happily wandering around The Thumb, also known, I just learned, as Brahma Bull Butte or The Hump. My informant told me that from where he lives at Road's End, it looks like a Brahma bull drinking from the ocean. Well, I don't think it looks much like a bull or a thumb but I had a good time hiking it today, although mostly I sat on top and scanned for Black Oystercatchers, which I did not find.

I had high hopes of photographing the birds I saw. Well, I photographed some of them but it's hard to tell what they are.

Several flocks of Red Crossbills flew high in the trees. This 4-some perched but I had to shoot into the sun so you'll have to take my word for it that they are Red Crossbills.

Just figured out if I really zoom up on one bird, you can see the crossed bill. Sort of.

The Chestnut-backed Chickadees were everywhere, and impossible to photograph. There are two in this photo, believe it or not.

A very scruffy Anna's Hummingbird was more cooperative and also vocal... but, well, scruffy.

Dark-eyed Juncos, Oregon variety, were the most cooperative, pecking in the gravel in front of me.

Way out in the ocean sits Wizard Island (at least that's what I know it by). Today there was nothing on it but a Peregrine Falcon, much too far for photos but I tried anyway.

You may wonder how I knew it was a falcon. I didn't for sure until I was watching with binoculars and it flew somewhat closer to me.

By cropping to a bigger but very blurry bird, you can see, I think, that this is a mustachioed peregrine.

Other birds seen but mercifully not photographed were Steller's Jay, Raven, Crow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Varied Thrush, Wrentit, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Pacific Wren, gulls and a fly-by Cormorant. 

After leaving the Thumb/Hump, I drove to Oceanlake to see if I could find my missing Black Oystercatchers on the rocks there, since it was low tide and some rocks were exposed. However, since most of the rocks were accessible from the beach, they were covered with people. A few were too far for people to venture onto and there I found three of my missing BLOY.

And a Turnstone. I thought it was a Ruddy when I saw it as it had a very rounded dark area on its breast and light legs. And it was alone rather than in a flock, as I've always seen Black Turnstones. But it looks more like a Black Turnstone in photos so I'll wait for the experts to tell me. ... And the answer is: Ruddys are rare in Oregon in the winter and have lighter heads and upperparts than my bird has.

Turnstone behind Black Oystercatcher

Also in the water and on the rocks were about a dozen Surfbirds.

Although this photo is blurry, it shows their flashy black and white tails and yellow legs.

Of course, there were Western Gulls of all ages foraging, too.

From Oceanlake I drove to the Salmon River and East 3 Rocks Road where I saw one of the two White-tailed Kites that have been seen there recently. Then I headed home.

What a lovely, warm, sunny day for mid-December. The birds were just a bonus.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Farm Bird #150!! Pygmy Owl

We have seen Pygmy Owls all around our neighborhood, but not here. Until today. I hiked down to the creek and was looking across the cold, wild water at an oddly colored lump by some logs on the far bank. The lump turned out to be a dead salmon.

 I sat there wondering if it was from one of the Grand Ronde tribal "fish flings" where they throw milked out salmon into the creek upstream from us to replenish nutrients, or if it was a spawned out salmon that died naturally in Agency Creek. A tiny kinglet interrupted my reverie as it flew across and landed in a tree near me. I had no binoculars with me but did have my camera so tried to get a photo of the rapidly moving little bird. I gave up and put my camera down, noticing then an odd lump on a branch in that tree. I used my camera to zoom in closer to see what it might be.

 The lump is circled with an arrow pointing to it in the photo below.

 A little closer and the lump turned into a Pygmy Owl. See it?

Here it is, looking at me.

I took many photos. In most of them, it looked like a lump.

Sometimes, a very fluffy lump.

I checked the photos I had taken and noticed that part of the owl was blurry in them so started to take more... at which point the owl had given up finding lunch, apparently, and flew off. I saw it fly and watched it go but have no idea if it kept going or landed somewhere. It simply vanished. If I had not taken these photos, I would have thought I'd imagined the whole thing.

What a thrilling way to get farm bird #150!