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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)

 

2019 Cowlitz County Bird List - January Update

Palm Warbler seen at Woodland Bottoms - Image courtesy of Lyn Topinka
Palm Warbler seen at Woodland Bottoms - Image courtesy of Lyn Topinka

As usual we jump started our year with a nice list of species from the Cowlitz/Columbia Christmas Bird Count on New Year's Day.

Our most unusual finds occurred in the Woodland Bottoms, starting with our fifth record of Brant on 1/4/19. This goose spends the winter eating eel grass in Willapa Bay and other coastal areas and rarely ventures this far inland.

Even more exciting was Cowlitz's third record of Palm Warbler found on 1/28/19 and still present at the end of the month. It had been seen by a number of birders. A species that breeds in boggy areas of Canada and very northeast U.S. east of the Rockies spends its winters in the southeast U.S. and the West Indies. A much smaller number winter annually from western California up into coastal Washington with numbers decreasing as you go north.

This winter there has been a much greater influx of this species into Washington as well as some a little farther inland, and our bird is a part of that phenomenon. 

Download the pdf here.

 

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - Final

Dunlin - Image by Charles J Sharp
Dunlin - Image by Charles J Sharp

The Cowlitz County Bird List is maintained by Russ Koppendrayer. Here is his take on 2018:

I believe this was the first time in the history of this project that we added NO new species in the final two month period. Never the less we had a very nice year breaking through the 200 barrier again with 201 species.

Three of those species were seen in the county for the first time ever. They were as follows: A Broad-winged Hawk was seen by an experienced hawk watcher who happened to be counting migrating Turkey Vultures in September at the Woodland Bottoms. A flock of Common Redpolls at a west Longview park in January that were part of a massive irruption of this species in all of Washington during the  winter of '17-'18. Also a Dickcissel made a stop at a bird bath north of Kelso in early June and was photographed by the owner.

The only species that was a big miss was Dunlin, a shorebird that can over winter here in small numbers, and if we miss them then we find them in spring migration. Not this year for whatever reason. On to a new year of exciting birding in Cowlitz County to see what it has to offer.

Download the pdf here.

 

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - August Update

Pine Grosbeak - Image by Ron Knight
Pine Grosbeak - Image by Ron Knight

As usual we did not find many new species for the year in the July/August segment. The most unusual one was the third record for the county of Pine Grosbeak, found near Goat Marsh Lake on the southwest shoulders of Mt. St. Helens. Typically found farther north and closer to the Cascade crest, this was the second time this species showed up in this area in the fall, with the third sighting being being in winter west of Coldwater Lake in the middle of winter.

The other new species added was Semipalmated Sandpiper. This species has an interesting migration pattern in that it is extremely rare in Washington in the spring by going north through the eastern half of the continent. However, in fall we get small numbers coming through our state and find them in Cowlitz County in most years.

Also added were a couple species that were reported on eBird earlier in the year that had somehow been missed.

Download the pdf here.

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - October Update

Surf Coters - Image by John Green
Surf Scoters - Image by John Green

We added three species to our Cowlitz year list  in the last two months, (Surf Scoter, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Pacific Loon) all of them being code 4. These codes are a way of determining the likelihood of finding a particular species and relate to the color of the square in the column immediately after the species name in the attached list.

  • Code 1 - Blue - You should find this species in appropriate habitat at the correct time of year.
  • Code 2 - Green - More difficult to find, but should be found in appropriate habitat in correct season with some effort.
  • Code 3 - Yellow - Recorded in the county annually, but you may or may not find one personally even with great effort. 
  • Code 4 - Orange - Five or more records of the species in the county, but does not occur every year.
  • Code 5 - Red - At least one, but less than five records within the county.
  • White - This species occurs on the Washington list, but has never been recorded in Cowlitz County.

Lets hope this makes the list more meaningful to some and one purpose of this project is to update these codes occasionally, usually in early January. 

To obtain a checklist of the birds found in any county in Washington with the code numbers go to wabirder.com and click on checklists on the left side of the page. There you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the desired county on the map and get a list that you can print out.

Download the pdf here.

 

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - June Update

Dickcissel - Royce Craig
Dickcissel - Photo by Royce Craig

2018 is half over and we have seen birds in winter, in migration and in breeding season. This means further additions will be slow, but usually of the unexpected variety for the last six months. 

Easily the highlight of the last couple months was a Dickcissel showing up at a bird bath on Pleasant Hill Road between Castle Rock and Kelso where it made use of the facilities and was never seen again. It certainly does pay to have a water feature in the yard. This first ever record for Cowlitz County was not only noticed by the residents, but well photographed. Assuming this bird is accepted by the Washington Bird Records Committee it will be the sixteenth record for the state. With the excellent photographic documentation we would expect no problem with acceptance.

Download the pdf here.

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