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Bird Counts

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.

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - March Update

Tufted Duck/ Greater Scaup - Lyn Topinka
Tufted Duck/Greater Scaups - Lyn Topinka

Migrants continued to trickle in during March and we also found a few year around residents that had been missed in the first couple months of 2018. There was one bird that didn't fit either of these categories however. That was the female Tufted Duck found in the Columbia River at Woodland in a Greater Scaup flock on 3/24 and was still being seen daily as of this writing on 3/31. Most Tufted Ducks winter in Asia with western Washington seeing two or three in a typical winter.

For some reason this is the first one seen in Washington in 2018 and created quite a stir with all the state big year listers coming to find this bird to add to their year list of birds. Add that to the newly avid birders for whom this was a life time first as well as other local birders and there has been quite a few folks who have seen this individual.

Tufted Duck - Digiscoped - Lyn Topeka
Tufted Duck - Digiscoped - Lyn Topeka

This is the third record for this species in Cowlitz County and the first female, although all three have been in the Columbia River at Woodland. In 2013 there was a first winter male that was present for about three weeks and in 2015 an adult male was seen for only a few days.  

Download the pdf here.

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Vesper Sparrow - Terry Anderson
Vesper Sparrow - Terry Anderson

We arrive at the end of April during the heart of migration with new species arriving in the county daily. It's fun to be out there looking for them or just kicking back and seeing them arrive at our feeders.

The most exciting April sighting for a number of us was the second Cowlitz County record of Vesper Sparrow. This one day wonder was found foraging right at roadside along a fence line in the Woodland Bottoms and was seen by numerous birders for the rest of the day. Despite a number of people searching for hours, the bird could not be relocated the next morning as it had likely moved on.

Vesper Sparrow is a grassland species that is common in appropriate habitat east of the Cascades in Washington, with small nesting populations in a couple west side locations, notably Joint Base Lewis McChord and a beach area on San Juan Island. A few migrating birds are found annually in other western Washington spots and this one was a treat for some local birders.

Tufted Duck - Digiscoped - Lyn Topeka
Vesper Sparrow - Terry Anderson

Download the pdf here.