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Bird Counts

Final 2015 Cowlitz County Bird List

Rusty Blackbird - Image courtesy of the US FWS

The Cowlitz County Bird List is maintained by Russ Koppendrayer.

Thank you Russ!

Here is his review of 2015:

What a finish to a record breaking year! We finished with 207 species in 2015 which is four more than our previous high.

Capping the final months was a Yellow-throated Warbler that spent two weeks at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview and was seen by more than 50 birders and well documented with photographs. As well as a first for Cowlitz, this bird was only the third ever for all of Washington. While searching for the warbler a pair of birders found Cowlitz's first ever Northern Mockingbird a couple blocks from the park. This bird also was also seen by many observers during its twelve day stay.

To end our fantastic stretch the county's third record of Rusty Blackbird was found in the Woodland Bottoms just before sunset on December 31.

Download the pdf file here.

August 2015 Cowlitz County Bird List

Russ Koppendrayer's outlook into the fall:

Fall migration of neotropical species winds down in the first half of September, but we should have some spurts of these birds for a couple of weeks. Shorebird species have about the same time frame, but they can be extremely difficult in Cowlitz during the fall as all the shallow ponds tend to dry up leaving very little appropriate habitat. The former Longview Sewage Treatment Ponds out at the west end of town (Ocean Beach Highway at Coal Creek Rd.) seem to be worth checking however. These have been decommissioned and the edges offer a bit of mud for shorebirds as they dry out in late summer. Be warned that a spotting scope is really needed to thoroughly check this site from the pull-out along Coal Creek Rd and walking along the gated dike.

Download the pdf file here.

October 2015 Cowlitz County Bird List

Russ Koppendrayer's review of early fall:

The last two months has been highlighted by a couple of flycatchers. A Black Phoebe was found in the north end of the Woodland Bottoms in mid-September and has been seen sporadically since. While both our neighboring counties (Clark and Wahkiakum) have had nesting records of this species making its northward expansion, this is only the second record for Cowlitz. It is very possible this bird could over winter at this spot.  
The Tropical Kingbird found at Willow Grove in late October was a much bigger surprise. While a small number of this species head north instead of south each fall in migration, they are typically found only on the outer coast in Washington and British Columbia. Finding one even this far inland is quite unusual and was a first record for Cowlitz. Unfortunately, it didn't stay around for many to see.
Image Tropical Kingbird, source: MDF CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
 

Download the pdf file here.

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.