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)


June 2015 Cowlitz County Bird List

Russ Koppendrayer take on June:

In the last few years with the growing breeding colony of American White Pelicans on Miller Sands Island in the Columbia estuary coupled with the frequent sightings in the Ridgefield and Sauvie Island areas and into some Portland/Vancouver sites, I assumed these were some of the same individuals. It seemed they needed to be passing through along the Columbia here in Cowlitz County as they traveled between locales, but we had only a couple of reports. That changed this year in an interesting way. We've had a number of reports and over half of them are of someone checking out a soaring raptor and noticing a flock of pelicans high above the raptor. When they pass through they are soaring at altitudes where they are not noticed with the naked eye. Keep your eyes skyward in locations near the river for a chance to see this impressive species.

Download the pdf file here.

April 2015 Cowlitz County Bird List

Sage Thrasher Courtesy of the USFWS

In April many of the neotropical migrants were making their return earlier than normal by as much as two weeks. This was most likely due to the lack of any weather systems that would ground the birds on their trip between here and their wintering areas. The most unusual appearance was made by a Sage Thrasher which apparently took a wrong turn on it's way to the shrub-steppe habitats of eastern Washington. The bird put in a one day showing at the Longview Mint Farm where it was seen by at least seven birders. This species seems to be found in one or two western Washington locales each spring, but this was the first ever record for Cowlitz County.


Download the pdf file here.

May 2015 Cowlitz County Bird List

Image courtesy of WAFWS

There are only a handful of records of Swainson's Hawk for Cowlitz County and we can go years between sightings. In early May there was an adult of this species at the south end of the Woodland Bottoms and amazingly a yearling at the same spot in late May.

Possibly more interesting than the rare bird sightings this spring has been the nesting Great Egrets along Kuhnis Road in the Woodland Bottoms. The only previous western Washington nesting records for this species are from the Port of Kalama for a number of years, but not 2014 or 2015. The Great Egrets join the already nesting Great Blue Herons about a month later and build nests above and alongside just as the trees begin to leaf out, making observation a bit difficult. It appears that there are as many as 10 Great Egret nests this year and can best be seen with a scope from a pull out along Dike Road west of Kuhnis Road near the house boats in the Lewis River.

Download the pdf file here.

Black Phoebe’s at Julia Butler-Hansen Refuge

By Jon Heale

Black Phoebe - Image by Jon Heale

Historically an occasional visitor, the Black Phoebe was a rare sight at the Julia Butler-Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer; there had been a few sightings each year, but no known nests.

In 2014 refuge staff noticed a pair frequenting the covered corner of a tide gate and decided to check it out…a nest! Staff thought there had been a successful first brood, as two to three more Phoebe’s were hanging around throughout late spring-early summer. However, a second clutch of eggs was apparently unsuccessful as they remain in the unattended nest throughout summer.

As I write this (March 13), the Phoebe’s are in the process of building a new nest in the opposite corner of the tide gate. The pair is hard at work gathering blades of grass, stems, and mud. Make a stop into the refuge office and check them out!

They can often be spotted from the Headquarters observation deck, near the tide gate under Steamboat Slough Road.

2014 Cowlitz Columbia CBC Recap

By Bob Reistroffer

23 field observers and eight feeder watchers joined and spent the cool sunny day finding 17,172 birds with 98 species recorded during the 33rd Cowlity Columbia Christmas Bird Count. The temperature ranged from 21° to 41°. Also during count week an additional 7 species were reported.

We had several high counts: 54 Pied-billed Grebes, 430 Northern Shovelers, 225 Buffelheads, 78 Hooded Mergansers, 4 Cooper’s Hawks, 2 Red-shouldered Hawks, 72 Red-tailed Hawks, 22 Bald Eagles, 264 Mourning Doves, 24 Kingfishers, 24 Downy Woodpeckers, 11 Red-breasted Sapsuckers, 23 Common Ravens, 70 Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 22 Red-breasted Nuthatchs, 946 Oregon Dark-eyed Juncos, 175 White-crowned Sparrows, and 510 Golden-crowned Sparrows.

Seen during count week: Green Heron, Rough-legged Hawk, Long-billed Dowitcher, Horned Lark, Pygmy Owl, Saw-whet Owl, and Gray Jay.

Not seen for many years: 1 Hutton’s Vireo, 4 Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Thank you all for a great job. Hope to see you all next year on Friday, Jan 1, 2016.



Upcoming Events

Aug 08, 2020
WHAS Annual Picnic
Sep 12-13, 2020
Puget Sound Bird Fest now online
Sep 24-27, 2020
Wings Over Willapa
Oct 24, 2020
WHAS Board Meeting