Birdmeister’s Blog

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Wallowa magic (02/14-16/2015)

Posted by birdmeister on February 18, 2015

Casy Cunningham and I spent President’s Day in the Wallowas. We found many good birds including Gyrfalcon (every day), Pine Grosbeak (every day), Gray-crowned Rosy-finches, Gray Partridge, American Tree Sparrow, Bohemian Waxwing, Spruce Grouse, Harris’s Sparrow and many lesser birds. See my post on OBOL from 2/16.


Adult Golden Eagle

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The amazing Gyrfalcon was easy to see every day along the Imnaha Hwy between Tenderfoot Valley and Tucker Down Rds.

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This male Spruce Grouse was at McCully Ck. Some other poor pix include American Tree Sparrow, Pine Grosbeak and Bohemian Waxwing.

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We even got the Snowy Owl north of Weston on the way back.

It was great fun!

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Baltimore Oriole (Netarts, OR, 1/11/15)

Posted by birdmeister on January 12, 2015

A wintering Baltimore Oriole is now being seen in Netarts, OR.

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Lots of other birds were also in the same yard, like this Varied Thrush.


The Tundra Bean Goose was fairly quickly located as well. This is from Christansen Rd at Nestucca NWR.



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A New Year’s Day trip to California (12/31-1/4/2015)

Posted by birdmeister on January 5, 2015

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Ok, neither is a good shot, but both the Arcata Brambling and the Colusa NWR Falcated Duck were nice birds for the new year.


Forster’s Tern


Greater White-fronted Goose


Probably the star of the show was the Abbott’s Lagoon LeConte’s Sparrow. A 2mi one-way walk to the location was well worth it.

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I probably wouldn’t have made the trip if it wasn’t for this Rustic Bunting in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

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While a little overexposed, this shows some of the rust-colored V on the bunting’s breast.


A Short-eared Owl at around 4pm at the Huichica Creek Unit of the Sonoma-Napa Marshes was a nice get.


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Some pix from a recent Okanogan trip (12/25-12/28/2014)`

Posted by birdmeister on December 29, 2014

Always a highlight for every trip. This Gyrfalcon posed for me, but I was fumbling with my gear and got what I deserved … As backlit as it can get.



This Snowy Owl was found just 2.5mi north of Waterville. The sun had already set.


While listening to singing Townsend’s Solitaires and watching a smallish flock of Bohemian Waxwings at Palmer Lake, I noticed this Cassin’s Finch.

What bothered me about this bird was the abundant blurry streaking, more reminiscent of Purple Finch (I was shooting for a possible Eastern here). The bird’s back seemed very crisp in the field. What made this a Cassin’s for me are the following (please speak up if you disagree):

  • Eye arcs!
  • Long primary projection
  • Very conical bill (not that visible in the shot below)
  • Crest is behind the eye
  • Crisp streaking on the vent (Eastern Purple doesn’t have that, Western usually does)



This poor shot shows the streaking on the vent.



The bills shows here …


Can you say Gray Partridge? Easily the best looks I ever had of a noisy, almost stationary flock.

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Astoria Snow Bunting (12/13/2014)

Posted by birdmeister on December 14, 2014


The Snow Bunting at the Astoria Riverwalk was quickly located, with help from Andrew Mattingly.



I dipped on the Fultano Pizza TK, but found several sluggish Red Phalaropes at the South Jetty, my other target for the morning. Looking for something more substantial, a Peregrine Falcon nailed a White-winged Scoter which had landed in one of the small pools at the jetty. That’s quite a large pray for the falcon which he couldn’t lift up as the scoter weighs about twice as much as the falcon.


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Testing the new Canon 7D Mark II on my recent AZ trip (11/27-12/01/2014)

Posted by birdmeister on December 4, 2014

Trip report is here:

Can you id all these birds? Ok, most of them are easy …


Baltimore Oriole at Sweetwater Wetlands (one of the few rarities that I didn’t dip on)


Female Blue Grosbeak at the San Pedro House. Late, real late …


Brewer’s Sparrow


Bridled Titmouse


A poor shot of a Chipping Sparrow



Clark’s Grebe at the Bill Williams River NWR


This is a male Common Ground-Dove. The scaling is quite muddled on this pink. The bi-colored bill rules out Ruddy.


Both Common Ground-Doves (female on the left) together now

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One of a few Costa’s Hummingbirds at the feeders at the Bill Williams River NWR visitor center. They are VERY reliable there.


This banded Curve-billed Thrasher was at the San Pedro House visitor center


An Eastern Meadowlark in the San Rafael Valley


Gila Woodpecker


Green Heron at Sweetwater Wetlands

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This Green-tailed Towhee was at the San Pedro House visitor center. He was really close, but hard to get a picture of.


Hutton’s Vireo


Ladder-backed Woodpecker


Lark Sparrow


Hard to believe, but this is a LeConte’s Thrasher at the Thrasher Spot at Baseline & Salome Hwy


Lesser Goldfinch (the dark-backed kind)


Hmmm, is the belly white or just gray? The outline of the ear coverts, throat and cheek suggests Eastern Bluebird.


There were a few Gray-headed Juncos around. This one is not clean as evidenced by the brown tones on the flank and on the crown. The bill is not bicolored, so Red-backed is out of the question.


Pink-sided Junco (darker lores and lighter throat)


There were many Pyrrhuloxias at the San Pedro House


Stakeout Red-breasted Sapsucker at McCormick Park. Male daggetti? The markings on the back are pretty extensive.


Red-naped Sapsucker


Tarantula at the San Pedro House

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Vermilion Flycatchers at different spots


This surely looks like a Western Bluebird to me … Now the belly is gray, not white.


And a Western Grebe



Finally, another stakeout from McCormick Park: A young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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