WHAS - Bird Lists and Wildlife Sightings

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 theĀ pdf here.