Male Redheads
Male Redhead - Image courtesy of wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

In spite of having the Christmas Bird Count at the end of 2023 this year, we are off to a resounding beginning to 2024. We have recorded 124 species in January which is a reflection of the increased coverage of Cowlitz County by birders as well as their documenting their finds on eBird. It's definitely a pleasure to see.

The highlight of the month was a Long-tailed Duck found at the Kalama River mouth. This bird stayed around for almost two weeks and was enjoyed by numerous birders. A female, this individual was only the second record for the county. Also interesting in January, but not nearly as rare were multiple Redheads seen both at Woodland Bottoms and Willow Grove. Until the last two winters we could sometimes go a few years between sightings of this species. Nearly as fun were multiple Surf Scoters seen at both Willow Grove and the Kalama River mouth. While regular in fall migration, it's been a long time since we've had them spend the winter this far up the Columbia.   

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