Yes, I know. I’m WAY behind. Sorry. Anyhow, here are some highlight photos from 2014. I’ve broken this up into two parts.
Part 1 – West of the Cascades
I typically have good late fall/winter/early spring birding at Delta Ponds in Eugene. I didn’t spend much time there in 2014, but have a few decent pics.
A pair of Ring-necked Ducks
Great Blue Herons nest in the trees nearby.
Fern Ridge Reservoir has arguably the best birding in Western Oregon. It is the place to go for waterfowl migration in early spring and especially for shorebird migration in mid/late summer. The year 2014 didn’t disappoint.
Fern Ridge is great for shorebirds that are typically only seen in the Interior West. Small numbers of Black-necked Stilts breed annually at Fern Ridge.
Hooded Mergansers are not regular breeders on the Willamette Valley floor, so I was happy to find these at Fern Ridge in April.
Cinnamon Teal are common summer residents and are rather easy to find.
Large flocks of Dunlin overwinter at Fern Ridge.
Large flocks of shorebirds are typically not homogeneous. A handful of molting Black-bellied Plovers were hanging out with the Dunlin on this day.
A bad photo of an unusual find: This Bonaparte’s Gull was waaaay the heck out on the water.
An immature Cooper’s Hawk
I occasionally even find interesting stuff in my yard (and used to have an entire blog dedicated to this!).
Coastal Lane County is great during shorebird migration. I didn’t bird this area as heavily in 2014 as I did in the previous year, but still managed to find some good stuff.
A Snowy Plover on the beach near the Siltcoos Estuary. Snowys are classified as “near threatened” and a breeding program has dramatically increased their numbers on the Oregon coast over the past couple of decades. Note the bands on the legs.
This Baird’s Sandpiper was foraging near the Snowy. The poor lighting in this photo is unfortunate, as it’s the only pic I have of a Baird’s.
Poor photo of a Yellow-headed Blackbird. These are very uncommon west of the Cascades.
Part 2 – East of the Cascades
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, at the northern edge of the Great Basin in Southeast Oregon, is easily the best birding spot in the Pacific Northwest. One could argue that it’s the best in the country. I head out there at least once a year and always come back with some nice photos.
Clark’s Grebe. This species is far less common than the Western out here.
A “Western” Flycatcher. This is the old name for this species. To the chagrin of many, the powers-that-be split the Western Flycatcher into the Pacific-slope Flycatcher and the Cordilleran Flycatcher not too long ago. Eastern Oregon happens to be where their ranges overlap. Since they’re impossible to differentiate via plumage and this one wasn’t vocalizing, it’s a Western Flycatcher to me.
Western Wood-pewee. Also a flycatcher, but much easier to ID than many of the other flycatcher species.
An immature Bullock’s Oriole
This Cassin’s Vireo was hanging out in the shadows. I had to jack up the exposure on this one.
A mediocre photo of a Western Meadowlark. I’m posting this picture because, despite the fact that it’s our state bird, I rarely see them.
One of my favorite spots in Central Oregon is Whiskey Springs, located northeast of Black Butte in Jefferson County. No, whiskey does not flow from the spring. It’s a spring at approximately 5,000 ft. in elevation and, being in a high desert, the water attracts numerous summer breeders and fall migrants. The lighting is poor, though, so my publication-quality photos are limited.
Golden-crowned Kinglets are notoriously difficult to photograph. This one was more cooperative than most.
A Mountain Chickadee, omnipresent in the East Cascades.
Alright, so that was 2014 in a nutshell. I’ve taken MANY more photos this year and will begin posting them in October. Until then…