Rare Bird Alert

Updated every Thursday, the Rare Bird Alert covers the entire state and details where and when rare birds have been spotted. This could be anything from an east coast bird that flew off course to an Oregon bird found in an unlikely location.

Have you seen a rare or out of place bird? Contact Brodie Cass Talbott to report your sighting: bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

October 21

EMPEROR GOOSE Clay-colored Sparrow
Tundra Swans Broad-winged Hawk
Hammond’s Flycatcher Common Tern

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Is it the year of the EMPEROR GOOSE? An adult bird was reported from Racoon Point at Sauvie Island this week, fresh on the heels of the juvenile bird that continues at Southridge High School in Beaverton. The Raccoon Point bird has not been refound, which is not surprising given the large amount of inaccessible habitat. Clay-colored Sparrow also seem prevalent this year, with one reported at Wapato Access on Sauvie Island. 

Northern waterfowl are pouring into the region, with reports across the area, most notably of a flock of 48 Surf Scoter at Columbia Point. North of the river, Tundra Swans have returned to Ridgefield

Emperor Goose, photo by Lamerie.

A Broad-winged Hawk was reported flying over SW Portland. Always rare in Oregon, this represents one of the latest fall detections in the state. 

Other late birds include a Hammond’s Flycatcher outside of Mollalla, Osprey along the Willamette, and a Swainson’s Thrush at Portland Audubon. Meanwhile, the Common Tern continued to be seen by many in Washington County this week.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 14

EMPEROR GOOSE Mandarin Duck
Snowy Egret Common Tern
Rough-legged Hawk DUSKY WARBLER

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A juvenile EMPEROR GOOSE is the bird du jour in the Portland area, showing up near Southridge High School on Tuesday mixed into a flock of Cackling Geese. The bird continues to be seen, occasionally moving to nearby Koll Center wetlands. In Portland proper, all eyes are on the continuing Mandarin Duck at Oaks Bottom. The bird is thought to be the same bird from Crystal Springs last year, which was presumed to be a domestic escapee. 

Also in it for the long haul are the Snowy Egret at Smith & Bybee, and the Common Tern at Hagg Lake. Inthe new arrival department, a first-of-season Rough-legged Hawk was seen at Sauvie Island.

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk, photo by Hayley Crews.

The biggest little bird in the state this week though was a DUSKY WARBLER found at Stoneman State Wayside, south of Yachats. A first state record, these unassuming Asian songbirds have been found previously at multiple locations across the West Coast of North America.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

September 30

Parasitic Jaeger Franklin’s Gull
Baird’s Sandpipers Thayer’s Gull/Iceland Gull
Eared Grebe Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter Forster’s Tern
Horned Grebe Red-necked Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

With shorebird migration winding down, attention turns to our larger bodies of water for returning waterfowl, loons, grebes, and, everyone’s favorite: gulls. Sauvie Island was the site of much of the excitement for the last two weeks, with Parasitic Jaeger being reported from both the Columbia and Multnomah County sides of Sturgeon Lake. Visitors also encountered at least one Franklin’s Gull, and a somewhat late pair of Baird’s Sandpipers were seen at the boat launch. A single Thayer’s Gull (technically referred to as an Iceland Gull) was found at Harborview along the Willamette. 

Along the Columbia, the trickle of water birds has started, with an Eared Grebe at Columbia Point, and a Greater Scaup and Surf Scoter reported from Broughton Beach. Further upriver, four Forster’s Terns were reported from the mouth of the Sandy River.

Parasitic Jaeger, photo by Eric Ellingson.

Timothy Lake hosted a number of notables this week, including Eared, Horned, and Red-necked Grebes, as well as Common Loon and Snow Geese, which were also reported at Fernhill. 

Domestics have been well-reported this week, with lots of folks finding Ring-necked Pheasant on Sauvie Island (right in time for the Pheasant youth hunt, a coincidence I’m sure), as well as Chukar. Mandarin ducks are also being reported at a few lakes in the area, most likely the result of the males molting back into breeding plumage, and being much more conspicuous. 

And finally, it appears that the St. John’s Black-crowned Night Herons have returned to their evening roosts, and have been reported multiple times flying out at dusk in the direction of Smith & Bybee, with the most recent report of 21 birds, an apparent Multnomah County high count.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

September 16

Sabine’s Gull Common Nighthawk
Yellow-headed Blackbird American White Pelican
Golden-crowned Sparrow Merlin
Cackling Goose Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Bird of the Week award goes to Sabine’s Gull this week, as these diminutive Arctic Tundra breeders seem to be popping up everywhere. Multiple birds seemed to stream by Broughton Beach and Columbia Point mid-week (and, as expected, seen from the Washington side of the river as well) while the individual at Hagg Lake continued, and reports continue to come in in from around the state. 

Other local notables include a Common Nighthawk also found at Columbia Point, and a Yellow-headed Blackbird at Fernhill.

Sabine's Gull, photo by Christopher Lindsey

More expected migrants at this time of year, American White Pelicans have been delighting birders across the region, as they travel through in large numbers. A good time of year to add this to your yard list! 

Winter migrants are streaming in, with First of Season reports of Golden-crowned Sparrow, Merlin, Cackling Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, and even a lone Snow Goose at Cathedral Park.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

September 9

Whimbrel Stilt Sandpiper
Common Tern Pacific Golden Plover
American Avocet Sabine’s Gull
Black-backed Woodpecker CANADA WARBLER
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Exciting shorebirds continue to drop in to local wetlands, with a Whimbrel visiting Sturgeon Lake on Sauvie Island, where other notables this week included Stilt Sandpiper (also found and seen by many at Fernhill this week) and Common Tern, another of which was spotted flying near the mouth of the Sandy River. The mouth of the Sandy also hosted a Pacific Golden Plover, perhaps marking the first time that two of this species have been reported in Multnomah County in the same year. Nearby, from the Corbett viewpoint on the Columbia, an American Avocet was a first for Multnomah County for the year, although the bird itself was on the Washington side of the river (cue contentious listing rules debate here). Meanwhile, a Sabine’s Gull, not normally known as a long-staying migrant, has been very obliging out at Hagg lake this week. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler, photo by Víctor Manuel Espinosa

Just up the hill from Corbett, a remarkable 6 Black-backed Woodpeckers were estimated to be foraging along the trails between Multnomah Falls and Wahkeena Falls, demonstrating that this species is quite fond of the post-burn Gorge.

There have been a number of exotic pheasant sightings of late, with male and female Golden Pheasants reported in Clark county and Fairview, respectively, and a Ring-necked found in Milwaukie. These birds are presumed to be released or escaped from captivity. 

Statewide, eastern Warblers seem to be the theme, with a CANADA WARBLER found at Malheur HQ, as well as at least two CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS reported, one again at Malheur HQ and another in Florence.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

September 2

Black Swift Western Kingbird
Nashville Warbler Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Swainson’s Hawk Common Tern
Herring Gull Merlin
Horned Grebe Say’s Phoebe
Pacific Golden Plover Stilt Sandpiper
BROWN BOOBY

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Many birders this week noticed the earnest start to fall migration, with neotropical migrants like Western Tanagers and a variety of warblers being reported from backyards and neighborhood parks. 

A Black Swift was spotted with Vaux’s Swifts at the Willamette Overlook Bluff, while Western Kingbird was observed at Company Lake, and Nashville Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet were seen at Mt. Tabor. A rare fall Swainson’s Hawk was reported from near the airport.

Brown Booby, photo by Tom Murray

The first Common Tern of the year was reported from Sturgeon Lake on Sauvie Island, where birders also found Herring Gull and Merlin this week. Horned Grebe was reported this week in Fairview, as well as at Smith & Bybee, where a Say’s Phoebe was reported along with the dwindling reports of Pacific Golden Plover and Stilt Sandpiper

Statewide, the bird of the week has been the very cooperative BROWN BOOBY currently being seen in Coos Bay at the North Spit.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

August 26

WIlson’s Phalarope Stilt Sandpiper
Pacific Golden Plover Snowy Egret
Surf Scoter, Horned Grebe Red-necked Grebe
Tundra Swan Eastern Kingbird
White-tailed Kite Franklin’s Gull

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Patagonia Picnic Table Effect was in full swing this week at Smith & Bybee, starting with a WIlson’s Phalarope (while common in Washington County, they are much harder to find in Multnomah County). The next day, searchers failed to relocate the Phalarope, finding a Stilt Sandpiper instead. The following day, neither the Sandpiper nor the Phalarope were refound, but instead a Pacific Golden Plover was discovered, a year to the day since the last Multnomah County record. The bird continues to be seen by many. For good measure, the Snowy Egret is back at Smith & Bybee for another year. 

Pacific Golden Plover, photo by Mick Thompson

Hagg Lake in Washington County has had a raft of early migrants, including Surf Scoter, Horned Grebe, and Red-necked Grebe, while at Fernhill, the Tundra Swan resurfaced, eclipsed this week by a very-locally-rare Eastern Kingbird

Two reports of White-tailed Kite came in this week, once at Sauvie Island, and another at Tualatin River NWR, with neither having accompanying photographs, unfortunately. Also on Sauvie Island, the annual Franklin’s Gull continued into the week.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

August 19

Dunlin Franklin’s Gull
Black-necked Stilt Common Poorwill
Black-backed Woodpecker Eastern Kingbird
RED-NECKED STINT

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Peak shorebird season is upon us, with lots of reports of expected birds this week (like Red-necked Phalarope, Semipalmated Plover, Baird’s Sandpiper, and Pectoral Sandpiper), as well as a few less-expected visitors. A Dunlin was found on Sauvie Island at the Narrows, a full three weeks ahead of schedule, along with a Franklin’s Gull. Meanwhile, a Black-necked Stilt was found at Shillapoo Lake in Clark County, the site of many good birds this year. 

A surprising find this week was a Common Poorwill vocalizing at dawn near Larch Mountain, where intrepid birders continue to report Black-backed Woodpecker. 

Eastern Kingbirds also seem to be on the move, with reports coming from Columbia County and Clark County. 

Last week, a RED-NECKED STINT was found at Sunset Beach, nabbing top Oregon shorebird honors so far this year.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Common Poorwill, photo by Scott Carpenter.

August 5

Black Terns Franklin’s Gull
Canyon Wren Mountain Quail
Costa’s Hummingbird Nashville Warbler
Tundra Swan Common Loon
Red-shouldered Hawk BLACKPOLL WARBLER

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Last week we mentioned that a pair of Black Terns was being seen at Smith & Bybee, prompting speculation of potential nesting, but noting the lack of juveniles that would seemingly clinch such theories, and, as if we summoned one with our collective willpower, this week a juvenile was photographed foraging in the same area where the parents have been seen. This species has been known to breed across the Columbia in Clark County, but this would be the first time in the breeding area in decades, at least. 

Other notable Larids this week include a non-breeding plumaged Franklin’s Gull photographed flying by Broughton Beach, where birders have been enjoying the return of Semipalmated Plovers. Further up the Columbia, a Canyon Wren was heard singing near Wahclella Falls. These birds have also caused some speculation of breeding, particularly after the Eagle Creek Fire, but virtually all of the previous reports seemed to come in winter. Nearby, another rare county breeder, Mountain Quail, was found near Larch Mountain.

Black Tern, photo by Mick Thompson.

The Columbia County Costa’s Hummingbird Continued into the week, but has not been reported since Friday. On Sauvie’s Island, a Nashville Warbler was spotted by a pair of birders. 

In Washington County, the Tundra Swan continues, as does the Hagg Lake Common Loon. Another Common Loon was found at Timothy Lake this week, as was an even less-expected Red-shouldered Hawk

Up north, the Sandhill Cranes, Redheads, and Eastern Kingbirds all continue in Clark County. 

And further afield, a BLACKPOLL WARBLER was reported at Ona Beach in Lincoln County, the site of several exceptional warbler finds over the years.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

July 29

COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD Black Tern
Common Loon Red-shouldered Hawk
Redhead

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A female COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD was photographed coming to a feeder for what would be an apparent first Columbia County record. Interestingly, the bird was found in the same yard that produced the first county record of Rose-breasted Grosbeak just 6 weeks ago. 

Two Black Terns were reported from Smith & Bybee, marking the third time the species has been seen there this summer, and the first time that two were reported together, leading to speculation that these birds are at least attempting breeding. No reports of juveniles yet…Other continuing birds this week include the Hagg Lake Common Loon, the Ivor Davies Red-shouldered Hawk, and the Shillapoo Lake Redheads

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Costa's Hummingbird, photo by Mick Thompson

July 22

Tundra Swan Common Loon
Redhead Yellow-headed Blackbird
Red-shouldered Hawk Glaucous-winged Gull

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

While shorebirds continue to trickle into the region, rare birds were hard to come by this week. A Tundra Swan continues at Fernhill, and the Common Loon persists at Hagg Lake, and the Redheads continue at Shillapoo Lake in Clark County.

Most of the rest of our “rarities” reported in the area this week are birds that may be rare at the county level, but are uncommon at best in other counties. Among these are Yellow-headed Blackbirds at Tualatin River NWR, Red-shouldered Hawk in Clark and Clackamas Counties, Glaucous-winged Gull in Clackamas County, and Chipping Sparrows at two different locations in Multnomah County.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Red-shouldered Hawk by Audrey Addison

July 15

Solitary Sandpiper Tundra Swan
Common Loon Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Redhead Eastern Kingbird
Sandhill Crane Wilson’s Phalarope

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Washington County had the most notable birds of the week, with an early Solitary Sandpiper and a Tundra Swan at Fernhill Wetlands, along with the continuing Common Loon at Hagg Lake. 

It was rather quiet in the rest of the Portland area, with a notable Ruby-crowned Kinglet atop Mt. Tabor. 

Many of Clark County’s rarities, including Redhead, Eastern Kingbird, Sandhill Crane, and, most notably, Wilson’s Phalarope, continue at their respective haunts.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Solitary Sandpiper, photo by Jen Goellnitz.

July 8

Semipalmated Sandpiper Black Tern
AMERICAN REDSTART Common Loon
Sandhill Crane Eastern Kingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Just in time to rescue us from the doldrums of summer birding, southbound shorebird migration is under way! A Semipalmated Sandpiper was among the vanguard of peeps hanging out at Vanport Wetlands this week, along with Yellowlegs and others. 

A Black Tern was yet again reported from Smith & Bybee, but was not refound by searchers. Intriguingly, there have been two unconfirmed reports of Black Tern along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, leading to speculation that a single adult-plumaged bird may be moving around the area. 

Another intriguing bird reported this week was a heard-only AMERICAN REDSTART at the Sandy River Delta. While the bird was reported by an experienced observer, it was not refound. 

Continuing birds this week include the Hagg Lake Common Loon  and the Sandhill Cranes and Eastern Kingbirds that have been reported recently in Clark County. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Female American Redstart, photo by Kelly Colgan Azar

July 1

Chipping Sparrow Common Loon
Redhead Wilson’s Phalarope

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Rare birds continued to be rare this week, and the all-important factor of observer output may have lagged a little as well, due to the unprecedented heat spell that likely claimed many birds, and some of our human community as well. 

An adult Chipping Sparrow was found at Company Lake on the last day of June, making it the latest eBird record for that species in Multnomah County. A Common Loon continues at Hagg Lake. 

Clark County boasted continuing Redhead and Wilson’s Phalarope at Shillapoo Lake.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Common Loon, photo by Scott Heron

June 24

American Avocet Redhead
Lincoln’s Sparrow Black-backed Woodpecker
White-throated Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Rare birds continue to be hard to find, as is typical of the heart of breeding season. An American Avocet at Fernhill was certainly a highlight: this is only the second June record for the Portland metro area, per eBird. The bird has been confiding and long-staying. Other birds more often seen in migration than during the breeding season include Redhead reported from Shilllapoo Lake in Clark County, and a singing Lincoln’s Sparrow on Larch Mountain (these birds breed in certain mountain locations, but not typically in Multnomah County). Nearby, Black-backed Woodpecker was once again reported. 

A White-throated Sparrow has also been reported singing in Beaverton, one of the latest records in the state for that bird. Could Oregon get its first July record? He’ll have to survive the heat wave first…

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Redhead, photo by John Friedman

June 9

WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER American Golden Plover
Wilson’s Phalarope Red-necked Phalarope
Black Tern Eastern Kingbird
Whimbrel Franklin’s Gull
White-faced Ibis

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Its gotten markedly quieter in recent days as birds turn in earnest to raising young, and migration slows down. The migration highlights this week were definitely concentrated around Columbia riparian areas, and we’ll start with birds on the north side of the river, where a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was found along River Road west of Vancouver by keen-eyed observers. Rare across the Pacific Northwest, this is perhaps the first record for the Portland area. Observers also found a very surprising American Golden Plover, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Red-necked Phalarope at the same location. Black Tern and Eastern Kingbird were seen in the area, cementing Clark County as the top spot for migrants this week.

White-rumped Sandpiper, by Silver Leapers

Across the water, a Whimbrel was found on the Columbia County side of Sauvie’s Island, as were Wilson’s Phalarope and Franklin’s Gull, for a very nice slate of spring birds there. 

White-faced Ibis were reported flying over at two different locations in Portland this week, continuing a strong year for them across the region.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

June 2

Black-chinned Hummingbird Black-throated Sparrow
Swainson’s Hawk Forster’s Tern
Black Tern Black-backed Woodpecker
Greater Scaup Eared Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A few short weeks ago, slow migration was all that local birders could talk about, but those complaints have evaporated with the sustained onslaught of surprising rare birds. 

Starting the rush was the possible first Multnomah county record of Black-chinned Hummingbird, photographed at a feeder in SE Portland (and unfortunately never refound). Next up was a Black-throated Sparrow found in a developing lot in Troutdale where a number of rare dryside birds have turned up over the years. This bird was much more obliging, remaining for several days and seen by many. One of those chasers noticed some interesting buteos on his return along Marine Drive, which ended up being three Swainson’s Hawks, one of which remained for several days. While reports of this migratory raptor have increased over the last few years, having a number of hunting birds is remarkable, and likely related to the rain that came in. 

Then on the first of June, a pair of Forster’s Terns turned up at Smith and Bybee, for what is possibly a first spring record. They seemed to remain for only one day, but the next day, a birder searching for those two found instead a Black Tern, the first record in decades in Multnomah County (although they are much less rare in neighboring counties). And for good measure, Black-backed Woodpecker was once again reported from the mountains above Multnomah Falls. 

Other local finds over the past week include a surprising Greater Scaup joining Eared Grebe at Henry Hagg Lake, and some early reports of Common Nighthawk.

May 20

GARGANEY RED KNOT
White-faced Ibis Swainson’s Hawk
Ash-throated Flycatcher Semipalmated Plover
Short-billed Dowitcher Lesser Yellowlegs

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

All eyes were on Baskett Slough this last week after a male GARGANEY was spotted. This Eurasian duck is a very rare visitor to the state, with thelast record occurring 15 years ago. The bird stayed for two days, allowing scores of birders distant views, before disappearing for good sometime before Monday morning. 

The other highest profile migrants statewide this week have been the bountiful RED KNOTS that have been seen all along the coast, but in staggering numbers at the mouth of the Columbia, where perhaps 1,000 birds were staging on their epic northward migration. Double digits are generally considered a large number for Oregon of this handsome shorebird.

Red Knot, photo by Adam Stunkel.

Locally, a White-faced Ibis was once again the highlight of the week, this time turning up at Koll Center wetlands, making it perhaps the first Ibis reported in Washington County since 2005, and making Washington County the fourth Portland-area county with a sighting this spring. Clackamas county birders, you can do it! 

Swainson’s Hawk continues to be reported in the area, with new reports from Sauvie Island and Whitaker Ponds. Portland’s first Ash-throated Flycatcher of the year was also reported from Gabriel Park, a touch on the early side for this dryside specialty. 

Shorebirds seem to be dwindling, but Tualatin River NWR still had reports of Semipalmated Plover and Short-billed Dowitcher (a great bird for spring) this week, and Lesser Yellowlegs was reported from Vanport.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

May 13

White-faced Ibis Swainson’s Hawk
Acorn Woodpeckers Palm Warbler
Black Swift Black-chinned Hummingbird
Wrentit Pectoral Sandpiper
Sanderling Semipalmated Sandpiper
Mandarin Ducks

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Are migrants simply late this year? That’s an emerging hypothesis as migration seemed to ramp up a notch over the last two weeks. Top of line were two different reports of White-faced Ibis, one from the Reeder Road observation platform, and the other of a flyover at Vanport Wetlands, both of which were observed by the same birder who was participating in a bicycle “Big Day.” An impressive feat to see that species in either Multnomah or Columbia County, where combined there were possibly less than a dozen records. For the same birder to do both in the same day is truly impressive, as was his tally of 109 species. 

Also from Sauvie Island this week came two reports of Swainson’s Hawk, which photos and timing indicate could have been the same bird. Two more were photographed from nearby Scappoose Bottoms the following day, and another was reported as a flyover in North Portland, for an impressive movement of these rare dryside Buteos.

White-faced Ibis, photo by Tara Lemezis

The Acorn Woodpeckers have also been reported again from Oak Island on Sauvie. Photos indicate there may be two females of different ages. These birds have been reported last spring and fall as well, but have been difficult to reliably find. An observer trying to find these birds turned up a Palm Warbler in the same area, which are always rare in the Portland area, but especially in winter, as they tend to show up mostly in winter. To top it all off, other searchers were rewarded with views of Black Swift, one of several reports so far this spring. 

Mt. Tabor has generally had a very quiet season thus far, but reports came in this week of both Black-chinned Hummingbird and Wrentit, neither of which was photographed or refound, unfortunately. 

Shorebird migration continues to be decent, with a Pectoral Sandpiper reported at Tualatin River NWR, and a Sanderling found at Broughton Beach, where last week a Semipalmated Sandpiper was found.

Mandarin Ducks, presumed domestic escapees, continue to be reported from Happy Valley Nature Park and Mary S. Young park in West Linn.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

April 29

Common Poorwill Long-billed Curlew
Whimbrel Swainson’s Hawk
Golden Eagle Western Kingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

While theories abound for why, the consensus seems to be growing that this year has been a slower migration season than recent years, possibly because the nice weather encourages migrants to just keep pushing north, rather than stop to rest and forage. 

The most unusual find this week was a Common Poorwill photographed roosting in the Mt. Tabor area, where they have been reported a number of years in the past in this timeframe, but  rarely seen. 

Other notable finds of the week were in the shorebird and raptor families. On Sauvie Island, both a Long-billed Curlew and Whimbrel were reported by multiple observers at multiple locations along Sturgeon Lake. At the nearby Crown Zellerbach trail, a migrating Swainson’s Hawk was photographed, and Golden Eagles were reported at the Sandy River Delta, and photographed in Gaston.

Common Poorwill, photo by Scott Carpenter.

Western Kingbirds were reported in abundance this last week, popping up all over the Portland Metro region. 

Early birds this week include Black-headed Grosbeak, Swainson’s Thrush, and Western Wood-Pewee, while late birds include Snow Goose and Slate-colored Junco. A number of exotic and domesticated birds have also been reported this week, including free-roaming Indian Peafowl, Mandarin Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, and Muscovy Duck.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

April 22

Solitary Sandpipers Lesser Yellowlegs
Blue-winged Teal Black-crowned Night-heron
Nashville Warbler Cassin’s Vireo
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Hammond’s Flycatcher
Black-headed Grosbeak Swainson’s Hawk
Golden Eagle

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Everyone’s newest favorite wetland, the mitigation wetland on 158th and NE Airport Way, this week added not one but three Solitary Sandpipers, joining the continuing Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, and assorted waterfowl. The nearby Blue-winged Teal pair also continued in the slough behind the Kinco warehouse. A Black-crowned Night-heron was also reported in the same slough.

On Mt. Tabor, Nashville Warbler was the headliner this week, joined by Cassin’s Vireo, Pacific Slope-flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Evening Grosbeak, Wilson’s Warbler, and Townsend’s Solitaire, which was also reported at Rocky Butte. A Black-headed Grosbeak was slightly early in the Scapoose area, while Western Tanagers were reported in several areas.

A Swainson’s Hawk was reported from Cooper Mountain, while a Golden Eagle was reported from Forest Grove.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Solitary Sandpiper, photo by Jen Goellnitz.

April 15

Blue-winged Teal Lesser Yellowlegs
Swainson’s Hawks Chipping Sparrows
Hammond’s Flycatcher Western Tanager
Swainson’s Thrush Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Snow Geese Swamp Sparrow
Mountain Bluebirds Canyon Wren

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Spring migration is well underway, bringing a few notable migrants to the region. A drake Blue-winged Teal was seen keeping company with two drake Cinnamon Teal in a slough pond near NE 187th, and nearby on NE 156th, a wetland mitigation project is hosting a number of shorebirds including a single Lesser Yellowlegs. At least one if not two Swainson’s Hawks were also seen flying north, first at Mt. Tabor and then at Rose City Cemetery, which was visited often this week by birders in search of a long-staying group of Chipping Sparrows

Early birds this week included a couple reports of Hammond’s Flycatcher, Western Tanager, Swainson’s Thrush, and Pacific-slope Flycatcher. Late birds include Snow Geese on Sauvie Island, as well as Swamp Sparrow at Jackson Bottom. 

Meanwhile, Mountain Bluebirds are still being seen at Powell Butte, and Canyon Wren was reported from Wahclella Falls.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Blue-winged Teal, photo by Jim Cruce.

April 8

YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER Swamp Sparrow
Yellow-headed Blackbird Great-tailed Grackle
Mountain Bluebird LESSER NIGHTHAWK

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The topline bird of the week is the YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER reported from Scappoose on Wednesday afternoon, the second Columbia County record for the species. Other notable Columbia county birds this week include early Black-throated Gray Warbler and Purple Martin (both of which were reported sparingly across the region), as well as a late Swamp Sparrow that continues on Rentenaar Road. 

Other early birds include Vaux’s Swifts a couple weeks ahead of schedule at Oaks Bottom, where the same birder last saw them in November, a shockingly late date for these aerial insectivores. Yellow-headed Blackbird has returned to Vanport Wetlands, one of their few local breeding locations. Meanwhile, “McGrackle,” the Great-tailed Grackle residing at the Columbia Blvd McDonald’s, continues his watch.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, photo by Tom Murray.

Mountain Bluebirds continue their on-again-off-again pattern at Powell Butte, being seen again on Wednesday, and having been reported sporadically for three weeks, but never reliably. 

Statewide, the big news of the week was a LESSER NIGHTHAWK reported from Tillamook Bay. A third state record, it is the first since 2010, and the first outside Harney County.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

April 1

Brant Black-bellied Plover
Black-necked Stilt Yellow-headed Blackbird
Cliff Swallow Common Yellowthroat
Black-throated Gray Warbler GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE
Harris’s Sparrow Vesper Sparrow
Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Migration seems to be heating up, with several notable reports of short-staying birds, including an impressive combo of Brant (one day) and Black-bellied Plover (less than one day) being reported from Broughton Beach, and a Black-necked Stilt pair showing up at Fernhill (one day). A also showed up at Vanport Wetlands. 

Early returners this week include a Yellow-headed Blackbird at Vanport Wetlands; Cliff Swallows in Washington County; and a Common Yellowthroat at Reed College. Reports also came in of a Black-throated Gray Warbler but, rather than being an early migrant, is said to have been visiting a feeder in Oregon City for the last two months, one of only a small handful of wintering records. 

Black-bellied Plover, photo by Mick Thompson.

Meanwhile, a longevity battle is underway between a few long-staying birds. The GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (in its 20th straight week on this report) was reported again from the Columbia Ave. McDonald’s, but reports also came from Vanport Wetlands and Elrod Slough. This prompted speculation of multiple birds, but most likely represents growing restlessness from McGrackle, who has yet to find a replacement mate for the female last reported in November. Meanwhile the Rentenaar Road Harris’s Sparrow continues for the 13th consecutive week, once again being visited by the Vesper Sparrow. The Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird remains the longevity record holder, however, having been consistently reported for a whopping 32 weeks. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

March 25

Black-throated Gray Warbler Barn Swallow
Bonaparte’s Gull Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird Vesper Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow Canyon Wren
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The slow trickle of early migration continues, with multiple reports of Black-throated Gray Warbler and a couple reports of Barn Swallow. A Bonaparte’s Gull was reported from the mouth of the Sandy River, representing a very rare spring find for the species. 

Other new notables for the week include a Say’s Phoebe along Pleasant Valley Rd. where the Northern Mockingbird continues. 

A Vesper Sparrow continues to keep the Harris’ Sparrow company on Rentenaar Rd, while the Canyon Wren continues to be heard and seen on the Multnomah Falls trail, and the Great-tailed Grackle continues at the Columbia Blvd. McDonald’s.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Black-throated Gray Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler, photo by Hayley Crews.

March 18

Prairie Falcon Mountain Bluebird
Swainson’s Hawk Common Yellowthroat
Canyon Wren Black-backed Woodpecker
Harris’s Sparrow Black-crowned Night Heron
American White Pelicans Great-tailed Grackle

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The most unusual find of the week goes to the Prairie Falcon photographed at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, one of only a handful of records for Washington County.

In the “right on schedule” department,  Mountain Bluebird was reported from the Sandy River Delta on March 16. In the “way ahead of schedule” department, a dark morph Swainson’s Hawk was reported flying over a SE Portland home this week, possibly six weeks early for this most strongly-migratory member of the Buteo family. Other northbound migrants reported this week included a slightly early Common Yellowthroat from Clark County.

Prairie Falcon, photo by Wendy Miller.

In the “rare resident” department, a birder found both a Canyon Wren and Black-backed Woodpecker uphill from Multnomah Falls, where the Eagle Creek fire is thought to have created more habitat for both of these hard-to-find species. 

In the “fan favorites” department, the Rentenaar Harris’s Sparrow, St. John’s Black-crowned Night Heron, Sauvie’s Island American White Pelicans, and Smith & Bybee Sora all continued this week, as did the Great-tailed Grackle, but at Elrod Slough instead of its normal haunt at the Columbia Blvd. McDonald’s.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

March 11

Say’s Phoebes Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk
Red-breasted Merganser Canyon Wren
Yellow-headed Blackbird Great-tailed Grackle
Black-crowned Night Heron Harris’s Sparrow
American White Pelican

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Mid-March is the traditional time for migrant Say’s Phoebes to pass through the region (although this year has seen two birds uncharacteristically winter in the area), and, right on time, one was found at Scappoose Bottoms. A Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk was also seen in the area. 

In the Columbia Gorge, a Red-breasted Merganser was found at Rooster Rock, while a Canyon Wren was heard along the Wahclella Falls trail. They seem to be becoming more reliable in the area in winter. In North Portland, Yellow-headed Blackbird continue at Rivergate, while the Great-tailed Grackle continues on Columbia Blvd, and Black-crowned Night Heron continue their dusk transit through the St. John’s neighborhood.

Harris’s Sparrow and American White Pelican continue to be seen on Sauvie Island.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Red-breasted Merganser, photo by Adam Stunkel.

March 4

American White Pelicans Harris’s Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow Black-crowned Night Heron
Sora Great-tailed Grackle
Townsend’s Solitaire WINTER WREN
COMMON GRACKLE

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Early spring migrants continue to trickle in, including widespread reports of Turkey Vulture and Rufous Hummingbird, and a report of Western Bluebirds at their traditional location of Powell Butte on their traditional date of March 1. Rare birds were hard to find this locally this week, but many overwintering rarities continued, including American White Pelicans on Sauvie Island; Harris’s Sparrow and Vesper Sparrow on Rentenaar Road; the nightly Black-crowned Night Heron flyovers in St. John’s; the Smith & Bybee Sora; the Great-tailed Grackle at the Columbia Blvd. McDonald’s; and sporadic reports of Townsend’s Solitaire.

Winter Wren (the actual one spotted), photo by Noah Strycker.

Statewide, the biggest news of the week was of a WINTER WREN reported outside of Corvallis. These birds were once considered the same species as our native Pacific Wren, but were separated years ago based on slightly different plumage and vocalizations. Presumed to be accepted, this would be a first state record. 

Additionally, on Wednesday a COMMON GRACKLE was found in Sun River.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

February 25

Black-bellied Plover American White Pelicans
Harris’s Sparrow Sora
Eared Grebe Great-tailed Grackle
Townsend’s Solitaire

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

While not rare, much of the excitement this week has been the early returning migrants, including reports of Rufous Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture, and Violet Green Swallows. Spring is imminent! 

True rarities were harder to find this week, but Black-bellied Plover were reported from Fern Hill Road in Washington County. On Sauvie Island, American White Pelicans continue to be reported, as does the continuing Harris’s Sparrow on Rentenaar Road, and a few Ring-necked Pheasant, which are released annually on the island for hunting. 

Many of our rare wintering birds continue, including the Smith & Bybee Sora; the Eared Grebe at the mouth of the Sandy; the Great-tailed Grackle at the Columbia Blvd. McDonald’s; and a Townsend’s Solitaire on NE 24th Ave. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

Townsend’s Solitaire, photo by Charles Gates

February 18

SNOWY OWL Ross’s Goose
Red-breasted Merganser Eared Grebe
Townsend’s Solitaire Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird Rufous Hummingbird
Western Tanager YELLOW-BILLED LOON

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

For most birders, just seeing any birds was enough for this week, which saw some of the most extreme winter weather in decades in the region. One NE Portland birder did make the most of the Great Backyard Bird Count, reporting a SNOWY OWL flying over her house, being harassed by a large group of crows. It was not photographed, unfortunately, and has not been refound. 

The Ross’s Geese reported last week at Sauvie Island have not been refound after the snow. A single Red-breasted Merganser was reported from Broughton Beach, while the Eared Grebe continued near the mouth of the Sandy River. Townsend’s Solitaire continues to be reported from the Laurelhurst neighborhood. Noticeably absent this week were reports of both the Orchard Oriole and Great-tailed Grackle.

Snowy Owl, photo by Tara Lemezis.

In Washington County, the Gaston Say’s Phoebe and Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird both continue. 

Early returners this week include reports of Rufous Hummingbird and Western Tanager. Meanwhile, a juvenile YELLOW-BILLED LOON was reported from Foster Reservoir in Linn County, fueling speculation of it being the same bird that was at Hagg Lake at the beginning of the year. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.