Saturday, April 30, 2011

Great Crested Grebe

The walk along the shore of Lac de Neuchatel was great. The community was celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the first found written reference of the lake, in addition it was Easter, a Sunday and a glorious day. There were many birds to be photographed including Mute Swans, Mallards, Eurasian Coots, Red-crested Pochards and these Great Crested Grebes.
I found them among boats that were docked at a mooring. As I was watching one swim about, I discovered another sitting on a nest. While the one stayed on the nest, the other would dive and surface with food which it shared with it's nesting mate. They were gorgeous birds!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

European Greenfinch

I've been in Switzerland since Saturday on business. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in some birding as the weather was fabulous and the birds were in glorious song.
I flew into Zurich and then took a train for about two hours to a town named Neuchatel. It is located along Lac de Neuchatel, a huge fresh water lake. The image above is the view out my hotel balcony. This is looking across the narrow part of the lake, so you can get an feel for just how large the lake is.
I arrived around 2:00 PM on Sunday and decided I'd walk down to the lake to help me stay awake, since I had been up for about 21 hours, so I could adjust to the time difference. But before I did that, I noticed that there were a couple of small birds flying around in the tree you can see growing in the outdoor seating area just below my room.

When I got down there, I found a pair of finches. One was bright yellow and the other paler. The paler of the two spent most of its time fetching nesting material while the other, the male, just kinda hung out. :-)
It turns out these were European Greenfinches. Since they were accustomed to people, I was able to get some pretty close pictures although the female didn't sit still for very long.
I've identified just about every bird I saw during the trip and ended up seeing about 25 new life birds. I'm in Atlanta right now waiting for my flight to Portland and since I had a couple of hours I thought I'd get my first post from the trip out. I'll post more of the better pictures in the next few days.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Some more Sora pictures taken last Thursday at RNWR. Even got one of it pulling a worm from the muck.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Great Blue Heron

I usually post a Great Blue Heron about once month. They're big, pretty birds and you can get pretty close to them at RNWR on the auto tour. They haven't been as numerous at RNWR as they were last Autumn, but I usually get at least one opportunity to get some nice shots of them during each visit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I drove down Rentenaar Road on Sauvie Island on Saturday and took these Osprey shots via the moon roof on my car. I've seen several Osprey already this Spring; several sightings at Coffee Lake Creek on Grahams Ferry Road near Wilsonville.

Monday, April 18, 2011

American Bittern

Like the Wilson's Snipe, it's nice to have some green grass as a background when shooting an American Bittern. When I first started seeing Bitterns at RNWR, they were always along the canal after marker 12. More recently, though, I've started seeing them elsewhere. This one was along the canal near marker 2. It started out on the berm above and slowly made its way down to the water.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Many of the birds are exchanging their winter plumage for their breeding plumage. Such is the case with this Golden-crowned Sparrow. Just a few weeks ago, its crown's black and yellow stripes were not nearly as well defined as they are now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

Another gloomy day and I wasn't sure where to go birding. I wandered around a bit and ended up at Wapato State Park. The trail was pretty sloppy with mud in places and while trying to traverse one of these areas without slipping on my butt a Pileated Woodpecker swooped in announcing its arrival with its loud call.
It was near the top of a large tree and I was only able to get a few shots of it before it took off. Not the greatest pictures, but I don't see Pileateds very often. I heard it (and perhaps another) calling out throughout the rest of my walk through the park, occasionally seeing it flying from tree to tree, but I never got anymore close looks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Canada Goose - Goslings

These are first Canada Goose goslings I've seen this year. They crossed the road a ways in front of me, swam the canal and hung out on a berm. For a while they grazed, then eventually the goslings snuggled up to mom (dad?). Not sure if they were tired or trying to get out of the nasty rain, wind and cold.

Virginia Rail

The Soras and Virginia Rails continue to be very accessible along South Quigley Lake at RNWR. Yesterday I managed to see one catch a worm.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wilson's Snipe

Tonight is opening night for Bye Bye Birdie at Wilsonville High School. That means I have completed the lighting for the show (well almost, they called me in tonight because a lamp burned out) and can spend more time birding. I was so anxious that I decided to make a quick trip around the auto tour at RNWR.
I saw a lot of good birds, including my closest encounter with a Wilson's Snipe seen above. It's nice to have some grass to offset the Snipe. A striped, brown bird against dead grass makes for a boring picture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Savannah Sparrow

I saw my first Savannah Sparrows of the year at Jackson Bottom last Sunday. They were up to their old tricks of laying low in the grass and then flying away, just out of range, as I got near. It was great to see them again.