WHAS - Bird Lists and Wildlife Sightings

2021 Cowlitz County Bird List - May Update

Black Tern - Image courtesy of Wikimedia
Black Tern - Image courtesy of Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

We had a nice month of May with newly returning migrants found on a regular basis. Mixed in with the more expected species were a couple that are rarely found in Cowlitz County.

Very early in the month the third county record of Lewis's Woodpecker showed up on Port of Kalama property and put on a nice show for a few birders for at least two days. While it can look plain black in flight this woodpecker is quite striking when seen well. Dark green back and head gives way to a red face with a white throat and upper breast with a red/pink belly. Quite an unusual look for a woodpecker that also has an unusual favorite feeding style for that family. It will find a high perch to survey the area and then sally forth to catch large insects that it spots in flight. A foraging technique more common to flycatchers than woodpeckers.

Late in the month a Black Tern put on a show at Coldwater Lake for a single birder while feeding over the lake. This individual seemed to be part of a rare incursion of this species into western Washington as there were quite a number of reports both north and south of us. Most years this species is completely absent west of the Cascades. While this was a treat for the individuals that got to see them, hopefully it doesn't mean there are problems for them in their usual haunts and they are searching new territory. Time will tell.

Download the pdf here.