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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 - August Update

Eastern Kingbird babies waiting to be fed - Image (digiscoped) courtesy of Russ Koppendrayer
Eastern Kingbird babies waiting to be fed - Image (digiscoped) courtesy of Russ Koppendrayer

By Russ Koppendrayer

In the last two months we have only added three species to our Cowlitz list. Semipalmated and Baird's Sandpipers were both seen in August as is frequently the case. For whatever reason these two species fit with some other shorebird species that migrate north through the middle of the continent in spring, but a few are found going through Washington in the fall. Also found was a Yellow-headed Blackbird which are not seen every year in the county, but seem to pop up at any time of year when they do appear.
 
Our big thrill for the time period was confirming breeding of the Eastern Kingbird pair first found at the Toutle Sediment Retention Dam on June 18. Further monitoring of these birds led us to suspect nesting, but this was confirmed on August 2 when two recently fledged chicks were observed being fed by two adults. This third ever record of Eastern Kingbird in Cowlitz County resulted in the first ever record of breeding here.

Download the pdf here.

2019 Cowlitz County Bird List - May Update

Dusky Flycatcher - Image courtesy of Mxmerce
Dusky Flycatcher - Image courtesy of Mxmerce

By Russ Koppendrayer

A couple species more typically found in eastern Washington were observed in Cowlitz County during this May.

The first was the third county record of Dusky Flycatcher, a species that may occur here occasionally in spring migration, but very difficult to distinguish from the much more prevalent Hammond's Flycatcher.

The second was the first ever county record of Lark Sparrow. This species prefers to nest on arid grassland or sagebrush with rocky soil in eastern Washington. Lark Sparrow seems to make an appearance somewhere in western Washington with a bit of regularity at random locations. With this record in Cowlitz County, only Wahkiakum and Mason counties have never hosted this handsome bird.

Download the pdf here.

2019 Cowlitz County Bird List - June Update

Cassins Auklet - Image courtesy of Duncan Wright
Cassins Auklet - Image courtesy of Duncan Wright

By Russ Koppendrayer

We had a couple very impressive finds in Cowlitz County during June. First was a pair of Eastern Kingbirds found at the Toutle River Sediment Retention Dam. Just the third record of this species in the county, they were observed building a nest. Later in the month only one individual was being seen. Whether the nesting attempt was aborted or a hidden nest was in use is not known at this time.

The second great find was a Cassin's Auklet in the Columbia River just downstream from Kalama. Not only was this the first ever record of this species in Cowlitz County, but I couldn't find any other record for this sea going alcid in fresh water anywhere in Washington prior to this find. It was observed swimming for about ten minutes including a couple of dives before it flew off and was not relocated. An unusual occurrence indeed.

Download the pdf here.

2019 Cowlitz County Bird List - March Update

Black-crowned Night-Heron - Image courtesy of Becky Kent
Black-crowned Night-Heron - Image courtesy of Becky Kent

By Russ Koppendrayer

Migrants started to trickle in through the month of March and we found a few wintering species that had eluded us earlier.

The big find of the month was a Black-crowned Night-Heron. While there are previous records for this species in Cowlitz County this is the first appearance for this species that I'm aware of in the last twenty years. As it's name implies a Black-crowned Night-Heron usually is active and feeds at night and hunkers down on a day roost that can be quite hidden. Fortunately for those wanting to see this bird it was found on two mornings about a week apart and each time remained on that roost throughout the day. Word got around and numerous people got to see it each time.

Get out and enjoy the arrival of migrants whether in your neighborhood or out in the field. The pace will pick up over the next weeks.

Download the pdf here.

2019 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Male Calliope - Image courtesy of Kai Fleming
Male Calliope - Image courtesy of Kati Fleming

By Russ Koppendrayer

As is typical for April the arrival of migrants started slowly and steadily ramped up as the month progressed, with numerous species making a first appearance in the county during the last week.

This included our third ever record of Calliope Hummingbird on the very last day. This smallest bird species north of Mexico breeds east of the Cascades, but a few are seen briefly in places west of those mountains in late April or early May each year. The male with the striking rose-colored streaked gorget fit this pattern. It made multiple morning visits to a window feeder in Woodland to the delight of the residents, only to not be seen again.

We still have numerous species to make an appearance and migration will continue strong all through May, so get out there and enjoy this annual phenomenon, whether it be in your yard or in the forests and fields.

Download the pdf here.

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