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 - August Update

Common Tern - Image courtesy of Badjoby - Wikemedia
Common Tern - Image courtesy of Badjoby - Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

As usual we only added a few species during July and August, having already welcomed all of our migrant nesters previously. But of the four additions this year there were some nice finds. The rarest for the county was the Common Tern. This second ever record for Cowlitz County was found resting on a small sandbar in the Columbia River one afternoon and seen by five birders before the tide flooded its roosting spot and the bird was not seen again. While enjoying this bird one of the onlookers noted that in Cowlitz County the Caspian Tern is the common tern and the Common Tern is the rarer tern.

A couple of Red-necked Phalaropes were found on the former Longview Sewage Ponds providing the fourth record for the county. Found late in the afternoon of August 31st, they squeaked onto this list in the nick of time. Western Sandpipers were seen on numerous days in multiple locations to be added to the year list. Notable mostly because in 2019 we inexplicably missed this normally annual species completely. Nice to have them on the list again.

Download the pdf here.


2020 Cowlitz County Bird List - June Update

American Redstart - Image courtesy of Terry Anderson
American Redstart - Image courtesy of Terry Anderson

By Russ Koppendrayer

For the month of June we only added a half dozen species to our Cowlitz County year list, however two of them were quite unusual. A female Acorn Woodpecker put in a morning appearance on 6/11 at a feeder on Pleasant Hill Road and was photographed, only to never be seen again. This supplied the fifth record for the county and an exciting lifer for the home owners. 

The very next morning on 6/12 an adult male American Redstart was found singing on some Port of Kalama property that is accessible to the public. This first ever record for Cowlitz County was joined by a female a few days later and both birds persist at that location until this writing at the end of June and have been seen by numerous birders. No evidence of nesting at this point, except for the presence of the pair. I consider this an "about time" find as we are the thirty-fifth out of the thirty-nine Washington counties to record this species. However the vast majority of counties have only records of migrating birds, especially in the fall, so having a pair on territory is a special treat. We'll try to keep a watch on this pair to see if there are further developments.    

Be healthy and safe out there.

Download the pdf here.

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.


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