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)


2022 Cowlitz County Bird List - October Update

Long-billed Curlew_wikimedia
Long-billed Curlew - Image courtesy of Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

As frequently happens, the September and October period of fall migration brought a few new species to Cowlitz County for our year list. This year it was a total of six new species giving us 203 for 2022. Surf Scoter and Pectoral Sandpiper are annual or nearly so, while Semipalmated Sandpiper is a little less frequent but not a huge surprise. Both of these sandpipers are a bit unique in that they are very rare in western Washington in spring migration, but are expected to pass through in the fall. 

The biggest surprise of the period was the county's second record Long-billed Curlew found on a sandbar in the Columbia River in the Woodland Bottoms. Unfortunately it was only seen by a few before being displaced by the incoming tide and disappearing, not to be relocated.

The late September through early October migration of Turkey Vultures along the ridge line east of I-5 north of Woodland has been attracting more counters the last few years. This year the biggest day was October 8th when 1014 passed by. Counters also added Lewis's Woodpecker to the year list with single individuals seen on two different days. There's only been a handful of previous records of this woodpecker. Five years ago when vulture counting started our first record of Broad-winged Hawk was seen in Cowlitz County. This year three different birds were seen and that makes it four out of the last five years they have been seen migrating through. 

Download the pdf here.


2022 Cowlitz County Bird List - August Update

Common Tern_wikimedia
Common Tern - Image courtesy of Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

With a week to go in August I thought we'd have no additional species to report for the last two months.

Then in the last four days we added two species. Both Baird's Sandpiper and Common Tern were found at the mouth of the Kalama River on the gravel bars at low tide. Baird's Sandpiper is a species seen in Cowlitz County during fall migration, but only about one out of every three years. Common Tern is seen even less frequently as this is only the third ever record for the county, all in August or September.

With fall migration in high gear now we hope to make a few more additions in the next couple months..

Download the pdf here.

2022 Cowlitz County Bird List - May Update

Red-necked Grebe - Image courtesy of the USFWS
Red-necked Grebe - Image courtesy of the USFWS

By Russ Koppendrayer

May was a fun month for birders in Cowlitz County as the cool and especially rainy weather caused many birds to stop off here during their migration. For a number of species this meant we got to enjoy many more individuals of the species that pass through. The rarest find was a single Dusky Flycatcher which was the 6th record for the county. I noticed it shows as a code 5 species on the list while it should be a code 4. Hopefully we can get that updated for next year's list.

A more interesting occurrence in May was the first ever record of a couple species in that month. Red-necked Grebe is a fairly regularly occurring species in the lower Columbia River from fall through early spring. Typically they are gone by the end of March with a few April records. To have one in full breeding plumage spend a few days in May in the river near Kalama was a nice treat. The second unique May appearance was a Say's Phoebe. An individual or two of this very early migrant headed for arid areas east of the Cascades will put in an appearance in our county most years. Typically this is in very late February or March. By mid April a few of us were saying that we had likely missed them this year, when one showed up in the Woodland Bottoms during May and spent a few days to be enjoyed by numerous birders.

Download the pdf here.


2022 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Vesper Sparrow - Image courtesy wikipedia
Vesper Sparrow - Image courtesy of Wikipedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

Spring migration has really been heating up in late April as usual. I'm always impressed by the number of new species being reported in the county, especially towards the end of the month. A quick scan of the list showed that thirteen new species for the year were logged in the last seven days of April. That is some impressive influx of birds. Some of these birds are arriving to nest in the county, while others are just passing through.

The rarest species for here was a Vesper Sparrow found along Barlow Point Road. There were only two previous records in Cowlitz County for this species that nests in grassland and shrub-steppe habitats. Surprisingly both previous records were in 2018 in April and May just over a month apart on their way to some breeding spot.

Download the pdf here.


2022 Cowlitz County Bird List - March Update

Non breeding Caspian Tern - Image courtesy wikipedia
Non breeding Caspian Tern - Image courtesy Wikipedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

We were able to add nine species to our year list in March as migrants continued to trickle in. Nothing was particularly rare as all these species are expected in Cowlitz County. The arrival of Caspian Terns at the mouth of the Kalama River was a mild surprise as we typically don't expect them until early April, but what I found more interesting was that these appeared before any reports at the mouth of the Columbia River. Off the top of my head I don't recall that happening previously. The Ruffed Grouse of course is a year round resident that had escaped detection during the first two months of the year.

As April continues and we get into May migration will really ramp up and we'll add species at a faster pace. So get out there and enjoy migration from your yard or by checking more habitat types. 

Download the pdf here.



Upcoming Events

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