February Birding

February 1, 2012

Wednesday February birding for 2012 East Cascades Audubon Society was filled with fun birds for everyone.

We started off with a hunt for the elusive reported White-winged Crossbills and the Common Redpolls. We headed up Skyliner Rd to Forest Rd 430 to see if we could find them. I was still recovering from a bad fall on the ice where I smacked my knee but didn’t break my camera (WHEW).

A tromp through the forest snow seemed daunting but while birding we stop a lot and “Pish”. “Pishing” is a noise that people make that seems to elicit a response from hiding birds (or it’s some random thing to make sure you are designated as a crazy birding person…if so, I’ve succumbed.)

We tromped and pished and tromped and pished and saw no White-winged Crossbills or Common Redpolls. However, for me, the day was amazing. The light was stunning, magical, often breaking through and just illuminating one tree like this one.

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The colors of the forest were breathtaking. There is little snow down in town, so it was like being in a magical fairy forest. We were on forest Rd 430 that goes up to the OMSI camp.

skyliner 430 trail.

After a full trek and no birds we pished up a few Nuthatches and while I was looking for them I manages to pick off a life bird. A little Brown Creeper scurried up a tree. It was so fast that this is a blurry shot of it, but the only one I got. FYI I think they should be renamed "Brown Racers".

Oregon birds brown creeper

Then…Judy said “LOOK AT THAT!” I turned to see the snow blowing through the sunbeams spread out behind a tree. It was breathtaking and all gone in three shots.

forest snow sun burst

All in all it was a really lovely day. Birds or no birds. The die-hard birders might have been a little disappointed, but this girl was enthralled. Wednesday February Birding might be off to a slow start but February Wednesday Birding photography is rolling!

Oregon snowy forest

February 8, 2012

Our Wednesday February birding on the 8th was just two of us. Judy and I, good for me since Judy knows her stuff!

We jumped in the old faithful Subaru (The state car of Oregon) and headed off to the Redmond Sewer ponds where we found this lovely Great Egret.

Oregon Bird Great Egret

great egret flying

We moved on to the Redmond golf course where we spotted the Eurasian Wigeon duck hiding out in a pack of American Wigeons.

Two life birds for me so far today!

 Eurasian Wigeon duck

From there we moved our February Wednesday birding to White Rock Loop where we spotted a cool Great Blue Heron hanging out on top of an old barn. I was happy enough with the cool barn. The bird was icing.

 Great Blue Heron on Barn

 Great Blue Heron on Barn

We also checked out Tetherow Crossing and Twin Bridges but it was cold and grumpy and the birdies were hunkered down.

February 15, 2012

Wednesday February birding on the 15th found us back on the Forest Rd 430 trail in search once again of the elusive White-winged Crossbills and the Common Redpolls. There had been many more sightings and we were determined to find them on our February Wednesday Birding. (Hahahaha..not as determined as they were to not be found.)

I was lucky enough this day to walk in the footsteps (literally…he has big feet) of Kevin Smith. He was kind enough to give me tips on getting better bird photos. It was my second day with my new camera and so I got to look super dumb because I didn’t know where a lot of stuff was. Still we had a great time.

Once again there was magical light on the trail so I was already happy. (I don't care how dumb I look as long as there are shots to be had.)

skyliner trail light

We found some adorable Mountain Chickadees and my new camera performed nicely. This is the best shot I have ever gotten (so far) of a chickadee. I am still at the stage of birding where I find them and nuthatches charming.

Oregon Mountain Chickadee

The Red Breasted Nuthatches were putting on quite a show and I had a great time taking pictures of them. The day was lovely and the looked great against the bright blue sky. This trail is a popular spot for birding. MAP

Oregon Red Breasted Nuthatch

Oregon Red Breasted Nuthatch

While we were out on the trail we ran into Steve and his pooches. They were having so much fun playing in the snow how could I resist a few pictures?

Border Collies in Snow

Steve invited us to come check out his bird feeders because there had been a Blue Jay (Not a scrub jay a real blue jay) hanging out. They are rare here in Oregon so we all piled in the cars and headed over.

We didn’t see the jay but there were some Pine Siskins having a nice feed. There were some Cassin’s Finches there as well but I didn’t get any decent shots of them. A golden eagle was soaring above us. Really sweet.

Pine Siskin

February 22, 2012

This Wednesday February birding day started off with a brilliant rainbow as we drove in to Sisters, Oregon. I pegged it as a good omen. For a while it looked like I made a mistake on that one.

Morning Rainbow

We first went to the Forestry offices and checked out their trees and feeders. We scored a bunch of playful Pine Siskins …

Pine Siskin

…and some Pygmy Nuthatches, who were making the most of the rain and bathing.

Pygmy Nuthatch

We went to the forest in Sisters to the burn area looking for woodpeckers and struck out and then on to the hotel that has feeders and struck out there too. It started to rain harder. The prospects were getting bleaker.

We decided (we being Howard) to go down to Lower Bridge. (Did I mention Howard is a genius?) There were birds galore!

As we pulled up there was a lovely little Belted Kingfisher hanging out above the river on a wire.

Belted Kingfisher

The river reeds were full of Red-Winged Blackbirds flying around. For many of us this was the first of spring (FOS) spotting. I had seen one at my feeder the day before so not for me but exciting. They photographed so well against the red reeds.

Red-Winged Blackbird flying

There were several Great Blue Herons flying around the river making the best of the sunshine that had now come out.

Great Blue Heron flying

There were also hawks soaring in the lovely blue skies.

Red-Tailed Hawk flying

The reeds were also full of Song Sparrows singing away. This one was unafraid and stood on a branch right in front of me and sang away.

Song Sparrow

On our way out we stopped where there was a field that the hawks fly in and the light that was playing on and off of Smith Rock was lovely. A really nice end to a day that turned out to be really good after all.

Smith Rock light

February 29, 2012

Snow was dumping and ODOT advised only going out for urgent circumstances. Even though we consider birding urgent…we abided...no Wednesday February birding.

All in all February birding was a good (to me). I learned a lot and got some really good images. Many were accepted as stock images to my Dreamstime portfolio. All play, some work :)

February Birding Stock Images

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