White-tailed Kite- Image courtesy of Kevin Cole via Wikemedia
White-tailed Kite- Image courtesy of Kevin Cole via Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

Two species have been added to the list since the last report two months ago. This gives us the most species found in Cowlitz County in one year over the life of this project. The first addition was a Heermann's Gull that was actually seen in mid October, but didn't get through the eBird review in time for the October report. This was the third ever record for the county for this gull that has a strong attachment to salt water. While we have three records, Wahkiakum county just downstream on the Columbia River has only one record and the next county upstream (Clark) has never witnessed this visitor. Heermann's Gull is a handsome mostly gray gull whose favorite foraging technique is to follow Brown Pelicans when they plunge dive on baitfish and take advantage of any fish stirred up or spilled by the pelicans.  

The second addition was a White-tailed Kite that appeared for a couple days at Willow Grove. This species has become quite rare anywhere in Washington in the last twelve years. After being well established in the southwest part of the state, their range has regressed southward with the nearest population now in the Tillamook, Oregon area.

As previously stated there is now a new county highest total for species in a year. These 209 species include the three that were new to the county. We added Gray Flycatcher, Siberian Accentor, and American Redstart to our list in 2020.

We'll see what 2021 has to offer for birding excitement and pleasure, and good birding to all.

Download the pdf here.