Laysan Albatross from USFWS
Laysan Albatross - Image courtesy of USFWS

By Russ Koppendrayer

For the first time there were zero new species found in the last two months of the year in Cowlitz County. It wasn't for lack of coverage as there was a normal amount of birding activity in November and December, just nothing was found that hadn't been recorded earlier in 2023. The only miss of a species that typically occurs annually was Red-throated Loon, and they are usually quite infrequent in the Columbia River in winter. We did finish with an above average total of 207 species for the year.

We did add two new species to our county list during 2023. Most amazing was the Laysan Albatross that was found injured at Willow Grove. This species of the open ocean met with success at a rehab center and later returned to the Pacific Ocean with an assist from the Coast Guard. The other new species was also a salt water specialist. The Brandt's Cormorant was initially found in the Columbia River near Kalama on January 1st and last seen from the Port of Longview the next day.

Here's to a great year of birding in 2024.

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