Here is what bird list maintainer Russ Koppendrayer's says of 2016:
We had another fine year with 204 species in the county. We seem to be able to break the 200 species barrier with more regularity in recent years, likely a product of both more birders as well as better reporting. Thanks to all who shared their finds on Tweeters and/or eBird as well as those who contacted me separately.
Our only miss of birds usually seen annually in the county was Long-billed Dowitcher, a shorebird that migrates through both spring and fall. We missed it in the spring, and the really dry summer and fall left us with almost none of its preferred mudflat habitat for possible fall sightings.
Highlights from the last two months included an Acorn Woodpecker that visited a feeder in the Goble Creek area for about a week and was seen by numerous birders. This was the third ever record for the county, and amazingly they are in 2014, 2015, and 2016 all in late fall or winter. Also found was our second ever Palm Warbler that spent a couple days in Willow Grove Park during a snow event, foraging on the ground in snow free spots under trees and near sidewalks.
Once again it is time to organize the annual Christmas Bird Count. This event gives all of us the opportunity to share birding with others.
If you are a novice, it provides a wonderful opportunity to learn from the more experienced birders. This citizen science program is in its 117th year and provides data used to understand and develop bird conservation programs.
Beginners provide extra eyes and experienced birders provide accuracy. If you are joining the group, come prepared for weather and an extended tour: raingear, field glasses, water, and lunch.
This is your chance to help collect the information which will direct decisions in future, decisions which will affect how much natural beauty, including birds, remains for future generations. To sign up follow the read more...
Only three species added to the list in the last couple months as is typical for this time of year. Also fairly typical was the fact that all three are rare visitors to our area. An amazing ten Clark's Nutcrackers were seen at the Forest Learning Center near the Mt. St. Helens National Monument. This species is common to the Cascade crest near Mt. Adams, but this is only the third record in Cowlitz County. A Brown Pelican was photographed flying rapidly UPSTREAM at Woodland, a species that rarely comes anywhere near this far up the Columbia and is more associated with salt water. Also a third record for Cowlitz was a Pelagic Cormorantphotographed swimming in the Columbia at Woodland. As its name suggests this too is a species that rarely gets upstream past the brackish water of the estuary.
Two months left for some more exciting finds, so as usual get out there and do some birding.
The Vaux's Swifts are still coming through Rainier on their southbound migration, roosting at night in the chimney of Carpet One. Linda Jennings counted 1,026 on Sunday evening; Darrel Whipple counted 1,070 last night.
We are declaring a WHAS field trip to Carpet One this Saturday, Sept.10. Meet at the front steps of Rainier City Hall (Highway 30 and First Street) at 7 pm. Binocs and camera are optional. The swirling and funneling into the chimney will likely begin a few minutes after sunset; enjoy the spectacle. The wee birds should all be in bed by 8 pm.
As is fairly typical of the July - August period we added only a few species, primarily regular species that we had missed earlier and some that we find most years, but also sometimes miss.
Coming up is that late fall and early winter season which can be most productive for vagrants that have never been encountered in the county before or only once or twice. Many times these are young birds that get their migration route a little confused.
Let's get out there and enjoy the movement of the birds.
Linda Jennings reported that on Saturday, August 13, 259 Vaux's Swifts roosted in the chimney of Carpet One in Rainier, across highway 30 from the City Hall. And on Monday, August 15, she counted 374 using the chimney.
People wishing to check out this phenomenon for themselves will have the best chance from half an hour before sunset until half an hour after sunset. (The southward migration of the swifts from all over the Northwest usually starts in September, affording us more opportunities to view hundreds of them entering the chimney.) You can park along Highway 30 or along A Street, or in parking lots nearby.