Skip navigation

Tag Archives: birding

The girls and I had a field trip day at the big river this week. Somehow, we picked the nicest day ever this year, so far. It got up to 64 and sunny with clear blue skies! I had hoped we might see or hear some cranes but no luck. I feel like they are late getting up here. We did see many herons and cormorants on their nests and flying back and forth. Also, a few raptors, lots of ducks, some loons (maybe some that we see during the summer in the Highlands?), killdeer, many blackbirds, a pair of grebes I have not identified (probably Horned or Eared) and others. And a beaver. Willow found lots of sticks and stinky things. And she likes to watch birds. Sky really just enjoyed the day, getting in and out of the river and finding her own sticks. If you look closely at the big nest near the end, you will see the top of the head of its resident.

Female goldeneyes are always hard for me to ID. There are two kinds – Barrow’s and Common. The males are easy to separate so if I see a female and male together, I often assume they are the same species. Last week we saw two females, one with ducklings and one on her own. Looking at the All About Birds site from Cornell University, I think both of these are Barrow’s Goldeneyes. But I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Or maybe it should be End of Winter Birds or Blues. Spring doesn’t begin til Sunday in the northern hemisphere. We still have some snow on the ground but it is decreasing everyday. Say’s Phoebes and Violet-green Swallows are here along the Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks and the Dusky Grouse are making appearances too. Here are a few bluebirds and a Western Meadowlark from recent walks on our hill

A friend and I (no dogs, can you believe it?) went birding a couple days ago. We drove down the Methow, up the big river and then north on the east side of the county and back across the Loup. The weather was outstanding. Sunny and bright, cold in the morning but warm enough for light jackets in the afternoon. There were many water birds, few little brown jobs (sparrows and finches and such) and a good number of raptors. It was a good day birding.

One of our favorites was this nearby Pied-billed Grebe eating its lunch. It was very close and gave us such good views! The lump in its throat in the last image is the fish.

We noticed this Bufflehead sitting on a frozen lake separated by a dike from the big river. It was a ‘sitting duck’. Not a good thing in an area where we observed several Bald Eagles, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Northern Harrier. I don’t know if it was injured or it had mistakenly landed on the ice and could not get enough lift to get over the dike to the open water. It would fly low to the ice and land clumsily and finally it walked over to some cattails where it could be under cover while it planned its next move. According to All About Birds, Bufflehead are seldom seen on dry land: females walk only when they lead their ducklings from the nest to the water or when they’re forced to switch ponds with their ducklings.

We saw lots of other birds and had grand views of the mountains to the west. A good day birding.

Our bird list:

Common Loon

Horned Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Western Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Canada Goose


American Wigeon

Green-winged Teal



Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Common Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye


Hood Merganser

Common Merganser

Northern Harrier

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Bald Eagle


American Kestrel

California Quail

Ring-necked Pheasant

American Coot

Mew Gull

Mourning Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Rock Pigeon

Northern Flicker

Say’s Phoebe

Northern Shrike

Black-billed Magpie

Common Raven

American Crow

Horned Lark

Black-capped Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

American Robin

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Yellow-rumped Warblee

American Tree Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Snow Bunting

Red-winged Blackbird

House Finch

House Sparrow

Bald Eagles often perch in the snags below our house. I imagine they are hoping for roadkill or spawned out salmon or some other tasty tidbit. Eagles tend to be scavengers rather than hunters around here. This one seemed to take offense that a Black-billed Magpie chose to share its snag perch.

%d bloggers like this: