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Bird Counts

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - August Update

Long-tailed Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger (taken with phone through scope) - Image by Ross Koppendrayer

As usual we did not add many species in the last two months at the end of breeding season and the onset of fall migration. The highlight of the period was definitely a Long-tailed Jaeger that showed up on a beach of the Columbia River in the Woodland Bottoms. This species is noted for following the Arctic Tern migration from whom they try to steal food. This occurs well out into the Pacific Ocean and they are seen from land quite infrequently.

There are a very limited number of records away from salt water in the state of Washington. This was one of the bigger surprise sightings of my 20 years of avidly birding in Cowlitz County. Just keeps me wanting to keep getting out there to see what shows up next, and late fall seems to be the best time of year for rarities to show up, so keep your eyes open.

Download the pdf here.

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - June Update

 

Red-eyed Vireo - Source Wikipedia Commens
Red-eyed Vireo - Source Wikipedia Commens

We only added two species in June and both were species that are annually late arriving summer residents; Red-eyed Vireo and Common Nighthawk. However the main reason these were the only two was our ability to find all the other typical breeding species by the end of May. Not only that, but this appears to be the highest number of species recorded in the county by the half way point in the year since the inception of this project.

As is my normal, I will only be updating this list every other month from now to year's end. We do typically get some rarities for the county in fall migration and early winter, so be on the look out.

Download the pdf here.

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - May Update

Black Phoebe - Image Russ Koppendrayer
Black Phoebe - Image Russ Koppendrayer

May saw a continuation of migrants both passing through and the breeding birds arriving. One highlight were the seven Franklin's Gulls that spent a day in the Woodland Bottoms. These gulls with black hoods were enjoyed by a number of birders as they made the second ever record for the county as they passed through to their more inland breeding sites.

Also of interest were a pair of Black Phoebes found at Washburn Road north of Kelso. In addition to being only the fifth record for Cowlitz County they also appeared to attempting to nest. This would be the first breeding record for the county of this species which continues to slowly move its range northward. 

Download the pdf here.

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Cassin's Finch - Source: USFWS / David Menke

There was a singing Cassin's Finch found near the parking lot of the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater Lake in early April. In the 11 years of this project, this is only the second time we have recorded this species.

They are more typically found on the east slope of the Cascades from the Ponderosa zone on up to the crest with a few found just on the west side of the Cascade crest. With the east edge of Cowlitz County quite a ways west of the crest this species is only found sporadically in our county. A nice addition to this years list.

Download the pdf here.

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - March Update

White-tailed Kite

The slow trickle of spring migrants continued in March, with the highlight of the month being a White-tailed Kite spending the end of the month along Barlow Point Road west of Longview. This species was once common in the Willow Grove/Barlow Point area until the December 2008 snow episode found this species eliminated from southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.

The nearly two feet of snow that lasted for two weeks left this beautiful raptor unable to find food and they perished. Since then there have been a few records of this species in western Washington, including one at Willow Grove in November 2011, all of which were a few days or less. Many birders have been enjoying "our" bird including many new to the hobby for whom it is their first ever sighting. Hopefully it will stick around and be the beginning of the re-population here of this species. 

Download the pdf here.