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)


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.


2014 Leadbetter Point Count Recap

By Suzy Whittey ~ Organizer ~ Long Beach, WA

I want to thank the 23 property owners who live around Willapa Bay and other key locations that granted the 42 birders in 8 sectors access to count birds on December 20, 2014 for the 115th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. The information gathered in the Christmas Bird Counts that happened all across North America is invaluable to ornithologists who monitor bird populations.

The hardy birders, some who traveled over 100 miles to have the opportunity to count birds in Pacific County braved a wet and windy day with posted high surf advisories that did not allow the Pacific beach to be counted this year. But the stormy weather brought species like Red Phalaropes, Western Sandpipers and Snowy Plovers inland to be seen in puddles along G Street in Surfside and the Beach Barron Field on Sandridge Road. The Bay Center Group saw 7 Snow Geese and 16,000 Dunlin in Willapa Bay. But, their highlight was a rare sighting of a Townsend Solitaire. Other groups documented a Barred Owl, Wilson Snipe, Canvasback Ducks, Eurasian Widgeon, White-winged Scoter, Trumpeter Swans and Spotted Sandpipers just to mention a few.

Even though the number of birds and the number of species were down this year, most of it can be attributed to the stormy weather. Thank you birders for your time and expertise in making the Leadbetter Christmas Bird Count a huge success. I also want to thank the Berry Patch Restaurant in Ocean Park and the Hunters Inn in Naselle for serving us breakfast and dinner.

We had several high counts: 3 American Bitterns, 32 Great Egrets, 221 Buffleheads, 69 Ruddy Duck,s 306 Eurasian Collared-Doves, 24 Belted Kingfishers, 29 Anna’s Hummingbirds, 20 Common Ravens 13 Brown Creepers, 25 Western Meadowlarks.

Seen during count week: 5 Cinnamon Teals, 1 Ruffed Grouse, 1 Ring-billed Gulls, 1 Horned Larks, 3 Cedar Waxwings.

New to the count this year: 1 Sora, 1 Rusty Blackbird

Thank you to Don Coggswell, Darrel Whipple, Stephen & Irene Bachhuber, Jeff Jendro, Julius & Sue Strid, Rachelle Rogers, Ramona Leber, Russ Koppendrayer, John & Margaret Green, Rachel Perry, Sam Sudar, Denise & James Caldwell, Charlotte Persons, Mary Huels, Becky Kent, and Pat & Bob Reistroffer for a great job.

2014 Great Backyard Bird Count

February 14 - 17

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers
of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the
continent and in Hawaii. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It
takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of
the event. It’s fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. Everyone is encouraged to make the
most of the 2014 GBBC. The count is led by the National Audubon Society and the
Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The GBBC website includes more information at www.birdcount.org ,
along with photos from last year's count, and other materials, including a tally sheet.

Hope to see you all next year on Thursday, Jan 1, 201

2014 Wahkiakum CBC Results

December 30, 2014, was the Wahkiakum Christmas Bird Count. The count circle straddles the lower Columbia River, including Puget Island, Cathlamet, Skamokawa, and the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge in Washington and Westport, Nicolai Mountain, Brownsmead, Knappa and the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The day dawned clear and 28 degrees F, with a light east wind. Twenty-five volunteers found 120 species plus two additional count week species, equaling our highest previous total. The most abundant species in the circle, for the third straight year, was Cackling Goose, with over 16,000 found. This was a new high count for this species.

We had high counts for ten other species, most notably Double-crested Cormorant, European Starling, and Horned Lark. Whites Island is our local breeding area for the endangered (and recently federally listed) “Streaked” Horned Lark, and the count of 45 more than doubled our previous high count. New to the count this year was a Barrow’s Goldeneye found by Mike Passmore on the Wahkiakum ferry trip to Westport. A Redhead was in Net Rack Slough. The Northern Mockingbird that was at 80 North Welcome Slough on Puget Island on last year’s count spent the entire year there and was seen on this one as well.

Other species that have been expanding their range northward, Black Phoebe and Red-shouldered Hawk, continue to remain established here. Seven Trumpeter Swans flew over the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge. We missed Virginia Rail for the first time in the Wahkiakum CBC’s seventeen years. The Snowy Egret reported on Sunday was not relocated. Thanks to all volunteers!


Upcoming Events

Dec 17;
Leadbetter CBC
Dec 29;
Wahkiakum CBC
Jan 01;
Cowlitz Columbia CBC