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WHAS - Bird Lists and Wildlife Sightings

Please send information about wildlife sightings to our Wildlife Sightings Chair.

To see some recent Washington State bird sightings go to the Tweeters list. To subscribe to Washington State Tweeters or to get more info about Tweeters visit WA Tweeters.

Sandhill Crane (WDFW Image)

 

2020 Cowlitz County Bird List - May Update

Western Kingbird
Western Kingbird - Image courtesy of the USFWS

By Russ Koppendrayer

This has been the spring to find flycatchers migrating through Cowlitz County that will do their nesting on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. We started with our unprecedented numbers of Western Kingbird sightings. While this species appears annually in Cowlitz County during spring migration, this year there were numerous records including one of ten individuals in one small area of the Woodland Bottoms. The previous record size for one group was six last year, and there were many fewer occurrences that year.

Next a Dusky Flycatcher made an appearance in the Woodland Bottoms producing the third county record for this species. Dusky Flycatcher always makes spring migration appearances in a few western Washington locations, but our bird seemed to be one of an abnormally high number of sightings.

Lastly a Gray Flycatcher was found along Barlow Point Road giving Cowlitz its first ever record for this species. Much more rarely seen in western Washington, our bird was also part of a bigger than usual count. Thurston and Pierce counties to our north also saw their first ever records of Gray Flycatcher. This species has been making a big population increase as a breeding species in eastern Washington in the last couple decades which may account for a few more using this side of the Cascades for a migration route, or the bonus sightings may have been an outlier. Time will tell.

Enjoy the breeding season and be safe and healthy.

Download the pdf here.

2020 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker - Image courtesy of Rob Kedenburg

By Russ Koppendrayer

I'm amazed at the size of our list at the end of April. As migration gets really going in earnest it is usually a month of lots of new species, but with the shelter in place rules I thought we'd struggle a bit this year to see them all. Our composite list does not seem to reflect that however.

With the reporting of birds found on personal property and folks getting out a bit to get some exercise we seem to have found a very nice selection of birds. However, even our most avid birders seem to have seen a smaller percentage of the species on this list than in a typical year.

While we had a few species found in April that are less than annual in Cowlitz, even those were not particularly rare, but seen in most years. Hopefully we can all continue to enjoy the ongoing migration and stay safe and healthy at the same time.

Download the pdf here.

2020 Cowlitz County Bird List - March Update

Say's Phoebe
Say's Phoebe - Image courtesy of Russ Koppendrayer

By Russ Koppendrayer

We only added 9 species to our year list in March. Two things would seem to account for this; first that we found many of the early arriving migrants on the last week of February leaving few for March, and second the coronavirus pandemic which has naturally caused much less birder action in the field.

Our mega vagrant from February, the Siberian Accentor, was last seen on March 26th giving it at least a fifty day stay. Whether it has left or just not seen because no one is making thorough efforts is unknown. A phenomenal visit in either case.

Two species that are less than annual put in brief appearances in Cowlitz County this month. A Say's Phoebe was seen in  the Woodland Bottoms and a Mountain Bluebird passed through Willow Grove. I know that migration will begin to pick up steam as spring advances, but above all stay safe and healthy.

If you do find new species at home of safe forays out please document to eBird, Tweeters or send me a personal note. 

Download the pdf here.

36th Cowlitz-Columbia CBC Results

By Bob Reistroffer

On Wednesday, January 1, 2020 the 36th Cowlitz-Columbia Christmas Bird Count (3CBC) was conducted. We had 18 field observers and 2 feeder watchers out for the day peering through rain and low clouds and finding 95 species of birds. The species count this year was in the normal range for this count.

The count circle was begun informally in 1982 with 57 species and 4,545 individual birds found. In 1984, after two informal years, we started our first official 3CBC.

This year (our 36th official count) we found 95 species and 11,732 individuals. We recorded some all time individual high counts; 32 Great Egret, 30 Wood Duck, 16 Thayer’s Gull, 27 Common Raven, plus 5 Eurasian Wigeon. There were some Low counts too, 24 Common Merganser, 15 House Finch. Also we had 5 count week birds Ross’s Goose, White-Throated Sparrow, Barred Owl, Ruffed Grouse, and Hermit Thrush

Thank you to all our field observers and feeder watchers.

Wahkiakum CBC Results

By Andrew Emlen

On December 30, 2019, 25 volunteers participated in the 22nd annual Wahkiakum CBC. Calm weather and 47 degree F temperatures allowed us to find over 51,000 individuals of 119 species, our second highest species tally and just one shy of our all-time high of 120 species.

The most abundant species in the circle this winter was Cackling Goose, with a tally of 20,967, breaking the previous high count of 16,099. Second was Greater Scaup with a tally of 4878, along with 3072 Greater/Lesser Scaup. Third was European Starling at 3663. A Northern Waterthrush at the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge tide gate was not only new to the count but also a Wahkiakum County first. Many birders went to see it in the days following the count.

A Lesser Yellowlegs in Brownsmead and a trio of California Quail on Shingle Mill Road were also new to the count. Other unusual species included Barrow's Goldeneye, Clark's Grebe, and Common Yellowthroat. For the third winter running, three Turkey Vultures are wintering on Puget Island; this winter, all three were seen on count day.

The endangered "Streaked" Horned Larks appear to be thriving under the Army Corps of Engineers' management for them on Whites Island; 36 were seen in the circle on count day.

New high counts were set for Cackling Goose, Trumpeter Swan (20, previous high 9), American Kestrel (39, previous high 20), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (144, previous high 119), Red-winged Blackbird (873, previous high 801), and Brown-headed Cowbird (13, previous high 9).

Notable misses included Rock Pigeon and Great Horned Owl.

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