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.

February 2

HARRIS’S SPARROW SUMMER TANAGER
Brandt’s Cormorant Rusty Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Northern Mockingbird American Tree Sparrow
Eared Grebe Red-necked Grebe
Townsend’s Solitaire Barn Swallow
Acorn Woodpecker Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A HARRIS’S SPARROW was found coming to a feeder near Woodburn, where it represents one of a very small number of Clackamas County records. The individual in North Portland also continued into its 11th week. Many thanks to the homeowner there for providing good habitat, good food, and welcome updates to the birding community. 

Most of our other “megas” this winter have also continued into the week, including the SE Portland SUMMER TANAGER, the Kelly Point Park Brandt’s Cormorants, Rusty, Tricolored, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the Purina Plant near Kelly Point, the Northern Mockingbird on Pleasant Valley Road, and an American Tree Sparrow at Vancouver Lowlands that is presumably the same bird that has been seen recently at Shilappo Lake a few miles away. Or… is it?

Harris's Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow, photo by Scott Carpenter

Hagg Lake in western Washington County continues to provide good county birds, with both Eared and Red-necked Grebes this week. 

And Townsend’s Solitaires, Barn Swallows, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Western Tanagers all continue to be reported around the region.

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

January 26

Gray Catbird Hermit Warbler
Western Tanager SUMMER TANAGER
Rusty Blackbird Tricolored Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird Northern Mockingbird
Harris’s Sparrow American Tree Sparrow
Townsend’s Solitaire

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

It’s been another week of birders mostly enjoying the lingering “megas” (ie very rare birds) rather than finding new rarities. The top find was a Gray Catbird in a neighborhood near Cedar Mill, found by a very astute birder out for a jog. The bird has been stubbornly difficult to relocate (as is not surprising for such a skulky species), but has been seen by at least a few intrepid chasers. It appears to be a first county for Washington County. 

A Hermit Warbler in a backyard in North Portland was a very unusual winter record for the region. Nearby, a Western Tanager was found at the Children’s Arboretum, and while we’ve lost track of the number of individual birds in the region this winter, we feel comfortable with the assertion that it is an unprecedented winter for the species, and are reminded that this past spring was broadly noted as a banner year for the (usually) neotropical migrant.

Gray Catbird, photo by Doug Greenberg

Other birds of note this week include the continuing SUMMER TANAGER coming to feeders in inner SE Portland; the continuing Rusty, Tricolored, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the Purina Plant near Kelly Point; the continuing Northern Mockingbird on Pleasant Valley Road; Harris’s Sparrows in both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties; and an American Tree Sparrow at Shillapoo Lake in Vancouver. Townsend’s Solitaires also continue to be reported around the region. 

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

January 19

SUMMER TANAGER Rusty Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brandt’s Cormorant Harris’s Sparrow
Tufted Duck Red Phalarope
Long-tailed Duck Red-breasted Merganser
Osprey NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Acorn Woodpecker Townsend’s Solitaire
FIELD SPARROW

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

It’s almost entirely last week’s news this week, but with the incredible high quality of rarities, who can complain? The SE Portland Summer Tanager, North Portland Rusty Blackbird (and accompanying Tricolored and Yellow-headed Blackbirds) and nearby Brandt’s Cormorant, as well as the Arbor Lodge Harris’s Sparrow and Columbia River Tufted Duck all continue, in what is the most exceptional lineup of Multnomah County rarities in recent memory.

In Washington County, birders visiting Hagg Lake in search of the continuing Red Phalaropes were treated to a one-day wonder Long-tailed Duck. The other new bird for the week was lone Red-breasted Merganser spotted near the Sandy River Delta. In Columbia County, an Osprey was very late – or very early.

Field Sparrow spotted at the Monmouth Sewage Ponds. Photo by Nolan Clements.

Other continuing birds include the Pleasant Valley Road NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD; multiple multiple Acorn Woodpeckers; and multiple Townsend’s Solitaires

And finally, a little further afield, a FIELD SPARROW was found at the Monmouth Sewage Ponds, a first record for Oregon. And, as it happens, the second state first in the last year to be found at a sewage pond (after the Cave Swallow that was found at Philomath Sewage Ponds).

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

January 12

SUMMER TANAGER RUSTY BLACKBIRD
Yellow-headed Blackbird Red Phalarope
Brandt’s Cormorant TUFTED DUCK
Harris’s Sparrow NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Say’s Phoebe Acorn Woodpecker
Townsend’s Solitaires Eared Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The new year is off to a hot start! After last week’s bounty of impressive rarities, this week started off with a SUMMER TANAGER found visiting a second story apartment ledge feeder in SE Portland, reported by the homeowner, much to the delight of the 100 or so birders that have gone to see the very out of place bird, one of only a handful of records for the region. Not to be outdone, a RUSTY BLACKBIRD was found mixed in with the blackbird flock at the Purina plant near Kelly Point Park, a flock we have mentioned in this space several times over the last few years, as the shear number of birds in the flock often seems to hide a rarity or two. At least two Yellow-headed Blackbirds were also found in the same flock.

Summer Tanager, photo by Doug Greenberg

Western Oregon has been awash in Red Phalaropes this week, and accordingly, up to 5 wer found at Hagg Lake in Washington Coutny, where a Long-tailed Duck made for a very nice combo. 

Another Long-tailed was reported from Kelly Point Park, where Brandt’s Cormorants have continued to loaf ever since their discovery on NYE, marking what could be the longest known incidence of inland Brandt’s Cormorants. 

Other continuing birds inlcude the TUFTED DUCK that seems to bounce between 148th and Sea Scout Base on the Columbia River; the North Portland Harris’s Sparrow; the Pleasant Valley Road NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD; multiple Washington County Say’s Phoebes; multiple Acorn Woodpeckers; and multiple Townsend’s Solitaires

And an Eared Grebe was found in Clackamas County at Brown’s Ferry. 

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

January 5

Cassin’s Vireo Brandt’s Cormorant
Western Tanager American White Pelican
Harris’s Sparrow Acorn Woodpecker
Townsend’s Solitaire Least Sandpiper
Trumpeter Swan TUFTED DUCK
Yellow-headed Blackbird Rusty Blackbird
Red Phalarope Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird Lesser Black-backed Gull
Tricolored Blackbird Lapland Longspur

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Portland CBC was held on December 31, and, as expected, the nearly 300 counters across the city turned up a number of interesting finds. A Cassin’s Vireo at Alberta Park was the bird that won its observer the coveted Eagle Eye award, as this species is exceptionally rare in winter anywhere in Oregon. The other major excitement of the day was when a birder found a Brandt’s Cormorant near Broughton Beach, and further searching along the river seemed to indicate there were up to four individuals between the I5 bridge and the I205 bridge. This is only the second record for the county, for a species that is notorious for almost never straying away from the coast (and indeed, has only been documented doing so five times previously, including the prior Portland record).

Brandt's Cormorant, photo by Emily Chen.

Also surprising were two different Western Tanagers, including the continuing bird at Oaks Bottom, and a new find in St. John’s. For perspective, this bird was seen on 2 out of the first 94 counts, and now has been tallied three times in the last three counts. A similar tale of a changing trendline was evidenced in adding American White Pelicans to the count – an expected addition as these birds have recently started over-wintering on Sauvie’s Island.

Also welcome additions to the count, the Harris’s Sparrow continues to visit the Arbor Lodge neighborhood, and Acorn Woodpeckers and Townsend’s Solitaires were reported at multiple locations. Least Sandpipers and Trumpeter Swans in NE Portland rounded out a nice list of “off-list” birds, with Trumpeters as a long overdue addition to the count list.

In non-count news, a female TUFTED DUCK has been spotted several times amidst a large raft of Scaup on the Columbia River (and, sadly, just outside the count circle). Similarly, a Yellow-headed Blackbird was found just outside the circle at the Purina plant near Kelly Point Park. And speaking of blackbirds, two Rusty Blackbirds were found at Fernhill Wetlands and Beal Wetlands, continuing the trend of this species being nearly annual in Washington County while nearly totally absent from the other Portland counties. 

Staying in Washington County, Hagg Lake hosted two Red Phalaropes, while a Say’s Phoebe were found in two different western Washington County locales, and the Northern Mockingbird on Pleasant Valley Road was added to a few birders’ year lists.

Tufted Duck

In Clackamas County, a Lesser Black-backed Gull continued into the week at Dahl Park, after having been found the week prior, where it was a county first record. Another exceptional bird for the county, a Tricolored Blackbird, was reported at a farm near Mollalla. 

Meanwhile, a Lapland Longspur was found near Scappoose, seemingly over-wintering with a flock of Savannah Sparrows.

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.

Rare Bird Alerts for 2022

December 22

Brant Lesser Yellowlegs
Bewick’s Tundra Swan Sora
Harris’s Sparrow Acorn Woodpecker
Townsend’s Solitaire Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Sauvie Island CBC was held on Monday, giving local birders a rare chance to access sections of the refuge that are typically off-limits to non-hunters in winter, and the efforts rewarded with a single Brant, as well as a Lesser Yellowlegs, which, while rare in winter, seem to have an affinity for Columbia County and nearby Clark County, which together account for nearly all regional winter records. Birders on the other side of the river also found a Bewick’s Tundra Swan, a threatened Eurasian subspecies of Tundra Swan formally considered a separate species, and quite rare in the lower 48. 

A Sora was photographed on the Fairview-Gresham trail for the third winter in a row. And the Harris’s Sparrow continues to visit two different yards in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood. 

 Acorn Woodpeckers continue to be reported from across the region. Other continuing birds include Townsend’s Solitaires at several locations, and the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird.

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.

Sora, photo by Becky Matsubara

December 15

Black-throated Gray Warbler Western Tanager
Common Yellowthroat Say’s Phoebe
Acorn Woodpecker Townsend’s Solitaire
Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A quiet week overall in the Portland area. Black-throated Gray Warbler and Western Tanager were two very out-of-season birds reported from Oaks Bottom, and a Common Yellowthroat was reported from the Columbia Slough. These birds seem to be more and more common in winter. A Say’s Phoebe was reported near Verboort in Washington County, where they also seem to increasingly be an annual bird in winter.

Acorn Woodpeckers continue to be reported from across the region. Other continuing birds include Townsend’s Solitaires at several locations, and the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird.

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.

Black-throated Gray Warbler, photo by Audrey Addison

December 8

Brown Pelican Red-breasted Merganser
Eared Grebe Acorn Woodpecker
Harris’s Sparrow Townsend’s Solitaire
Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A Brown Pelican was the star of the week, first showing up on theWillamette in West Linn (where it was only a second county record, the first coming earlier last year), and then on the Hawthorne Bridge the next day, where it loafed with gulls for several hours, to the delight of many birders, as Brown Pelicans this far inland often seem to be flybys. 

The Columbia river also hosted a few rare birds this week, including a Red-breasted Merganser along Marine Drive and an Eared Grebe at Hayden Island.

Pacific Brown Pelican, photo by Mick Thompson

Acorn Woodpeckers were seen on Sauvie Island and in Multnomah Village this week. Other continuing birds include a Harris’s Sparrow at a private feeder in North Portland, as well as the return of the Rentenaar Road bid; Townsend’s Solitaires seemingly everywhere; and the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird.

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.

December 1

Burrowing Owl Harris’s Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow Chipping Sparrow
Barn Swallow Townsend’s Solitaires
Northern Mockingbird Black-legged Kittiwake

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The biggest surprise of the week was a Burrowing Owl that showed up at a loading dock in Clackamas County, and seemed to hang out for at least a week. 

There were some nice sparrow surprises as well, including a Harris’s Sparrow at a private feeder in North Portland, an American Tree Sparrow at “the Dog Bowl,” a park in the Overlook neighborhood, and a very late Chipping Sparrow, which, while less rare, are generally only seen spring and fall migration. 

Burrowing Owl, photo by Tara Lemezis

A single Barn Swallow was another late surprise on Sauvie Island. Townsend’s Solitaires continue across the region, with one at Koll Center, and another at Wapato Access, while the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird is also still being seen.

Incredibly, the Black-legged Kittiwake continued into the week. These birds are almost always one day wonders inland – this bird remained at the Bonneville Dam outflow for over two weeks, obviously finding fish that enticed it to stick around.

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.

 


 

November 24

Black-legged Kittiwake Townsend’s Solitaire
Sandhill Cranes White-winged Scoter
Northern Mockingbird Acorn Woodpecker

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A rather mundane week after last week’s double-header at Bonneville Dam, although the Black-legged Kittiwake did last until the 18th before apparently departing. Townsend’s Solitaires continue to be seen around the region, including one at Koll Center Wetlands in Washington County, and another at Harbor View Park in Multnomah County. 

While Sandhill Cranes are a common sight this time of year in the Columbia River valley, they are much less common in Washington County, where one or two have been hanging around Jackson Bottom Wetlands this week. A White-winged Scoter was found at the mouth of the Sandy River. 

Black-legged Kittiwake, photo by Aaron Maizlish

Everyone’s favorite Northern Mockingbird continues along Pleasant Valley Road near TRNWR, and Acorn Woodpeckers continue to pop up all over the place, including a bird this week at Laurelhurst Park,

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.

November 17

Black-legged Kittiwake Snow Bunting
Brant Long-tailed Duck
White-winged Scoter Pacific Loon
Red-breasted Merganser

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Patagonia Picnic Table was in full effect this week, as a Black-legged Kittiwake was reported at Bonneville Dam on Friday, and, on Monday, a birder searching for that bird found a Snow Bunting in the parking lot. The Kittiwake, a juvenile, continues as of press time, while the Snow Bunting was not refound on subsequent days. Another Snow Bunting was seen the day before at Rooster Rock, and was also a one day wonder. 

A Brant was a nice find at Fernhill Wetlands, where the Long-tailed Duck continued into the week, even as questions about its health arose, amid the many cacklers who have sadly perished from what is presumed to be Aspergillosis. The Columbia River has continued to host uncommon water birds including White-winged Scoter, Pacific Loon, and Red-breasted Merganser.

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.

Snow Bunting spotted 11/11/22 in Bonneville Dam parking lot, photo by Brodie Cass Talbott

November 10

Heerman’s Gull Red-throated Loon
Long-tailed Duck Lesser Black-backed Gull
Townsend’s Solitaire Red-breasted Merganser
White-winged Scoter Acorn Woodpecker
Cliff Swallow Barn Swallow
Osprey Turkey Vulture
Black-throated Gray Warbler American White Pelicans

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Hagg Lake continues to bring in interesting birds, including a Heerman’s Gull that was a one-day-wonder (as they usually are inland) and Red-throated Loon. A Long-tailed Duck at Fernhill Wetlands rounded out a nice week for Washington County. 

A Lesser Black-backed Gull was found on the south waterfront of the WIllamette this week, and by its plumage, was determined to be a different individual than the one seen downstream a few weeks ago. This marks the third sighting of this species in Multnomah County in the last two years, after never having one reported before, and reflects a wider trend of this species increasing occurrence across Oregon.

Long-tailed Duck, photo by Mick Thompson

A Townsend’s Solitaire was a nice find on Hayden Island, but it was mostly leftovers otherwise this week in Multnomah County, where Red-breasted Merganser and White-winged Scoter continue along the Columbia River, and Acorn Woodpeckers continue near 

Some late records this week include Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and American White Pelicans (which, as a side note, were also reported to the Rare Bird Alert this week as UFOs, so, keep an eye out!).

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.

November 3

Surf Scoter White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter Common Loon
Pacific Loon Barrow’s Goldeneye
Red-necked Grebe White-winged Scoter
Red-throated Loon Brown Pelican
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD SNOWY EGRET
Cassin’s Finch Barn Swallow
Osprey Turkey Vulture
Black-throated Gray Warbler

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

We may have seven weeks of astronomical Fall to go, but to birds and birders, winter is here. Wintering sea ducks are starting to filter in, with Surf, White-winged, and Black Scoter all being reported this week from the Columbia River (mostly between Hayden Island and Broughton Beach) as well as Common and Pacific Loons, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Red-necked Grebe, which was also found up at Timothy Lake this week, along with a White-winged Scoter. A Red-throated Loon was reported from Hagg Lake in Washington County, where they are generally much harder to find than in neighboring counties. 

A Brown Pelican was reported flying down the Columbia in East Portland, continuing a string of recent sightings of this typically very-hard-to-find-inland species. On the same day, a few folks saw it from Vancouver as well.

Snowy Egret, photo by Tara Lemezis

The NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD continues along Pleasant Valley Road near TRNWR, as did the SNOWY EGRET, being reported at both Force Lake and Smith & Bybee, although it has not been seen now for several days. Cassin’s Finch continue at Larch Mountain, but birders should be aware the road has a fair amount of snow on it now, and is not maintained. 

Some late records this week include Barn Swallow, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, and Black-throated gray Warbler.

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 27

BROWN BOOBY Brown Pelican
Red-breasted Merganser White-winged Scoter
Long-tailed Duck Pacific Loon
Snowy Egret Brant
Black-necked Stilt Acorn Woodpecker
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD Say’s Phoebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

One of Harry Nehls’ most prescient catchphrases was something along the lines of “There’s rare birds out there, just no one’s findin’ ‘em,” the idea being that rare birds are more a function of people searching for them than them just turning up somewhere. So will the current streak of amazing rarities prove to be a blip, or a sign of the surge in birding that Portland, along with much of the country, is experiencing? 

Time will tell, but this week’s data point was the amazing discovery of a BROWN BOOBY that seemed to have made a temporary home out of the anchor chain from a tanker on the Columbia River, spotted by a birder at Kelly Point Park. This was a Multnomah County first record, as well as Oregon’s most inland record for this ocean-going species more typically found offshore of Southern California and Baja. Several dozen birders were able to see the bird, albeit at a great distance, before the ship pulled anchor the next day and moved back downriver towards the ocean, and the bird was not refound.

Brown Booby spotted in Portland on October 24, 2022 by Seymore Gulls @portlandbirder

Somewhat eclipsed by the Booby, several Brown Pelicans have been reported this fall, including one at Vanport, and another at Hagg Lake. Typical of the species, neither was refound. Fall migration is bringing more expected ocean-going birds through the area as well, with reports this week of Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, White-winged Scoter, and Pacific Loon along the Columbia RIver. A Snowy Egret was a bit less expected at Force Lake, a rare opportunity to see this bird from the car in Portland, and a Brant was found at Scappoose Bottoms. 

Black-necked Stilts are starting to make folks wonder if they’re going to overwinter, still being seen at SMith & Bybee, as well as TRNWR. Acorn Woodpeckers continue their big fall, with multiple birds recorded in the area. And everyone’s favorite NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD has returned for its fourth winter along Pleasant Valley Road near TRNWR. A Say’s Phoebe was seen nearby.

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 20

Lesser Black-backed Gull Heerman’s Gull
Northern Shrike Golden Eagle
Northern Goshawk Cassin’s Finch
Mountain Chickadee Red-throated Loon
Red-necked Grebe Swamp Sparrow
Black Scoter Surf Scoter
Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet Acorn Woodpeckers
Western Tanagers

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Migration has slowed, but continues to bring in some late season migrants and wintering birds, including everyone’s favorite group of birds: Gulls! A Lesser Black-backed Gull found at Hagg Lake was a county first record. These birds were quite rare in the state until only a few years ago, but seem to be rapidly increasing. Exhibit B of this trend is that two days later, another (or the same?) Lesser Black-backed showed up at Harbor View Park along the Willamette – only the second record for Multnomah County, and at the exact same place as the first record showed up last year, in October. This bird unfortunately didn’t hang around long, but a Heerman’s Gull was found in its place, an exceedingly hard bird to find inland. That bird also didn’t stick around long, but the pattern continued, as a Northern Shrike was found in its stead at the same location. Long known as an honorary raptor, this bird is now apparently also an honorary gull.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, photo by Aaron Maizlish.

Larch Mountain last weekend had a decent movement of birds rare to Multnomah County, including Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Cassin’s Finch, and Mountain Chickadee. Timothy Lake in Clackamas County similarly had a good push, but of a more aquatic variety, with Red-throated Loon and Red-necked Grebe as the headliners. 

Clackamas County also boasted a Swamp Sparrow at Luscher Farms this week. Other winter migrants this week included Black Scoter, also at Hagg Lake,and Surf Scoter around the region. A Black-crowned Night-Heron was reported at Columbia Point, where more expected migrant grebes have also been showing up this week. 

A Black-necked Stilt with accompanying American Avocet were reported from Racoon Point this week, for a nice late duo.  Continuing birds include the Black-necked Stilt at Smith & Bybee and TRNWR; the Acorn Woodpeckers at Whitaker Ponds;  and various Western Tanagers still hanging onto summer.

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 13

Northern Waterthrush CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR
TROPICAL KINGBIRD Say’s Phoebe
BROAD-WINGED HAWK Common Poorwill
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Cassin’s Finch
Mountain Chickadee Black-necked Stilt
Acorn Woodpecker Rough-legged Hawk
Rufous Hummingbird Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Hot on the heels of last week’s Northern Waterthrush, a CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR was found in the short grass on the beach at Rooster Rock, for the first record of the species in the county since 2005. Many observers were able to view the bird, helpfully staying over the weekend, before disappearing as of Monday morning. 

Less cooperative was an apparent TROPICAL KINGBIRD that was photographed at Hayden Island. This would be a first county record, but the bird was photographed on private property, and not refound. On the topic of migrant flycatchers, a Say’s Phoebe was photographed at Wapato Lake, the NWR in western Washington County. 

Chestnut-Collared Longspur, photo by Frank D. Lospalluto

A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen migrating through Clackamas County, seemingly the only one for the region this year. A Common Poorwill was also found outside of Estacada for a late, and rare, encounter. 

Several rare birds for Multnomah County have been found up at Larch Mountain in the last week, including Gray-crowned Rosy-finch, Cassin’s Finch, and Mountain Chickadee.

Black-necked Stilts continue at both TRWNR and Smith & Bybee, where they have remained for almost two weeks. Other long-staying rarities include Acorn Woodpeckers at Whitaker Ponds. 

Early birds this week include a Rough-legged Hawk at the CZ trail, and late birds in the region include Rufous Hummingbird and Western Tanager.

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 6

Northern Waterthrush Acorn Woodpecker
Swamp Sparrow Black-necked Stilts
Sabine’s Gull Common Tern
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD Clay-colored Sparrow
Black Swan White-throated Sparrow
Rufous Hummingbird Wilson’s Warbler
Nashville Warbler

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

No doubt about it – the Northern Waterthrush at Whitaker Ponds is a star. First detected on Friday of last week underneath the pedestrian bridge, the bird has remained until press time, with dozens of birders treated to point blank views. Many were also treated to views of an Acorn Woodpecker, which seem to be having quite the year, with individuals being reported across the Portland region, after many years of being a tough bird to find in Multnomah County. And for good measure, a less-obliging Swamp Sparrow was seen in between the ponds, rounding out a very unique trio. 

A pair of Black-necked Stilts have been seen regularly at Smith &Bybee for the last week. Another has been at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Sabine’s Gull and Common Tern have been harder to find this year, with a few of each turning up on the same day at Broughton Beach last week.

Northern Waterthrush spotted at Whitaker Ponds on Friday, September 30, 2022. Photo by Tara Lemezis.

A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was on an island in the Columbia River downstream of Portland for a nice Columbia County find. Rarity reports from Sauvie Island have slowed this week as the hunting exclusions have started, but a Clay-colored Sparrow was found at the end of Rentenaar Road, nearly a year to the day since one was seen there last year. A trio of Black Swans, presumed to be escapees from a farm near Ridgefield, have also been seen on Sturgeon Lake. 

Other migrants of note include a White-throated Sparrow in Clackamas County, and scattered reports of Rufous Hummingbird, Wilson’s Warbler, and Nashville Warbler.

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 8

Acorn Woodpecker Snowy Egret
Franklin’s Gull American Avocet
Eared Grebe Horned Grebe
Black-backed Woodpecker

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Acorn Woodpeckers seem to be the flavor of the week. After one was found cruising through Whitaker Ponds on Tuesday, another was briefly seen at Mt. Tabor on Wednesday. As executed for such a habitat-specific bird, neither stuck around. 

The annual Smith & Bybee Snowy Egret has returned (or finally been found), for what is at least the 9th year out of the last 10. 

Sturgeon Lake on Sauvie Island is starting to see large accumulations of shorebirds as the water levels come down, and is still holding a couple rare birds. Franklin’s Gull and American Avocet are still being seen, with the latter taking a spin down to Multnomah County for a few lucky birders.

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker, Photo by Hayley Crews

Other than that, not much of note has been found among the hordes of southbound birds. An Eared Grebe was enjoyed by many at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, and another was found at Timothy Lakes, along with 6 Horned Grebe. Black-backed Woodpecker continues to be found in the burn north of Larch Mountain.

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 1

AMERICAN REDSTART Lewis’s Woodpecker
Sabine’s Gull Eared Grebe
Yellow-headed Blackbird Franklin’s Gull
American Avocet Wilson’s Phalarope
Merlin CATTLE EGRET

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

An AMERICAN REDSTART was found at Sandy River Delta on Wednesday. While it is the season for songbirds migrating south, this sighting was notable as one of only a small handful of records for the county (despite the fact that these birds likely breed within 100 miles), and because the sighting was almost at the exact spot (the Confluence blind) where one was reported singing last summer. So far, efforts to refind the bird have been unsuccessful. The same birder (some folks have all the fun) found a Lewis’s Woodpecker at Kelly Point Park on Tuesday. The bird was similarly not refound. 

Washington County has seen some early birds this week, including a Sabine’s Gull (which are always rare in the county, but especially in August) at Henry Hagg, and an Eared Grebe at Tualatin River NWR, where a Yellow-headed Blackbird was also spotted.

Photo of American Redstart by Dan Pancamo / Flickr

Franklin’s Gulls have been having a good year, with a bird turning up at Broughton Beach this week, as well as out at Sturgeon Lake (Columbia County) where an American Avocet was also found. 

While Wilson’s Phalarope are typically a rare bird in the area, last week’s long staying bird at Smith & Bybee was followed by up to three individuals showing up at Vanport, where they remained for several days. Merlins seem to be another flavor of the season, with another individual being photographed at Whitaker Ponds. 

And not too far away, a CATTLE EGRET flew over Shillapoo Lake, a first record for Clark County.

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.

August 18

Eastern Kingbird Lewis’s Woodpecker
Black-necked Stilt Whimbrel
Western Kingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Migration is ramping up, with songbirds and others joining shorebirds in the ranks of southbound birds. An Eastern Kingbird was found at Commonwealth Lake but was not refound on subsequent days. Similarly, a Lewis’s Woodpecker reported at Powell Butte was a one-day wonder. 

On the shorebird front, the Black-necked Stilt at Smith & Bybee continued into the week, and Whimbrel were heard flying over Tualatin River NWR, marking their second appearance this year, after an absence of five years from the county.

Western Kingbirds continue to be enjoyed near Company Lake.

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.

Lewis's Woodpecker, photo by Mick Thompson

August 11

Black-necked Stilt Brown Pelican
Grasshopper Sparrow Nashville Warbler
Western Kingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A mostly quiet week across the region, with a Black-necked Stilt turning up near the boat launch at Smith & Bybee, not far from where one showed up two years ago in late August, and an intriguing report of a juvenile Brown Pelican in the Columbia near the Sandy River Delta. 

The Grasshopper Sparrows continued this week at Penstemon Prairie, where birders also found a Nashville Warbler. A Nashville was also reported in Clark County, suggesting that some movement may be underway for the species, and other songbirds. 

Western Kingbirds continue to be enjoyed near Company Lake.

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.

Black-necked Stilt, photo by Mick Thompson

July 21

Marbled Godwit Whimbrel
Semipalmated Sandpiper Semipalmated Sandpiper
Wilson’s Phalarope Gray-crowned Rosyfinch
Sagebrush Sparrow Western Kingbird
Grasshopper Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

While rare birds continued to be uncommon this week, the Oregon birding community lost a true rarity. Harry Nehls, who wrote this report for over four decades (turns out no one, even him, was counting), contributed to Portland Audubon and Oregon birding in so many ways. Look for a more thorough send-off in the next edition of The Warbler. So long, Harry, and thanks for everything you did!

Of course, if Harry was reading this, he would probably be eager to know what rare birds had popped up in the Portland area this week.

Shorebirds have begun moving into the region in earnest, with Tualatin River NWR once again hosting the top-line birds. A Marbled Godwit was found on the 16th, and chasers then found the bird was briefly joined by five Whimbrel. All six birds were gone the next day. In Portland, a Semipalmated Sandpiper was seen at Broughton, and in Clark County, Pectoral Sandpipers are being seen at Ridgefield, a Wilson’s Phalarope turned up at Shillapoo Lake, suspiciously soon after one disappeared from Ridgefield, where it had been for months. 

Timberline lodge in Clackamas County has had a good run of birds, including the somewhat expected Gray-crowned Rosyfinch, and the much less expected Sagebrush Sparrow.

 

Semipalmated Sandpiper, photo by Ray Walton

Two Western Kingbirds were yet again reported from the Company Lake area this week, adding to speculation that a pair is breeding in the area. 

And finally, the rockstar Grasshopper Sparrows continue to delight birders at Penstemon Prairie near Fernhill.

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.

July 7

RUFF Grasshopper Sparrow
Eared Grebe Western Kingbird
Black Swifts LESSER SAND PLOVER

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Most of the excitement this week was in Washington County, where a breeding-plumaged male RUFF was found at Tualatin River NWR on July 1, seen by many, and not seen again in subsequent days (although a pair of Pectoral Sandpipers were seen there the next day). A few days later, a birder discovered a Grasshopper Sparrow defending territory near Fernhill Wetlands. The bird has remained, and subsequent visitors found a second bird singing, indicating a very rare breeding population of the species for the northern Willamette Valley.

Male Ruff in full breeding plumage, photo by Steve Higgins

An Eared Grebe was a surprise this week at Vanport wetlands in Portland, where they are more typically seen in spring and fall migration, or during winter. This is one of only a handful of mid-summer records. Similarly, a Western Kingbird, also typically seen on in spring migration, persists near Company Lake, possibly indicating local breeding. And, to stick with the theme of rare birds more often seen in spring and fall, Black Swifts were reported flying over Mt. Tabor. 

A bit further afield, a LESSER SAND PLOVER was found in Coos County on Thursday, but was already gone by the time the first chasers arrived on scene. This appears to be the sixth state record for the Asian species

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.

June 30

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO ORCHARD ORIOLE
Black-crowned Night Heron NORTHERN PARULA

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A very quiet week across the region, with two intriguing exceptions: A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was reported flying across highway 30 near Rocky Point Road, and a male ORCHARD ORIOLE was reported in the SW hills of Portland. Unfortunately neither was photographed, or refound. 

On the documented side, however, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was photographed at Koll Center Wetlands near Beaverton, confirming successful breeding for another year from this well-known local pair. 

Statewide, it’s been a good year for NORTHERN PARULA, with a singing male found in Klamath County,  while the long-lingering male at Sitka Sedge continues this week as well.

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.

Orchard Oriole, photo by Brodie Cass Talbott

June 23

Northern Waterthrush Ash-throated Flycatcher
Chipping Sparrow Eastern Kingbird
Great-tailed Grackle

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Just like that, summer is here, with the solstice behind us, birds settling in to their nesting, and (finally) some warmth and sun. Rare bird reports continue to slow, but a very intriguing report came from Whitaker Ponds this week in the form of a singing Northern Waterthrush that was recorded, but never seen, and never heard again. 

The most debated bird of the week came from Force Lake where a, well, cormorant of some sort has been unwarily fishing and basking in the sun. The bird has raised eyebrows because of its interesting looking bill, and face, prompting speculation that it could be a juvenile Neotropic Cormorant (which would be a state first record), while others have suggested a Neotropic x Double-crested hybrid (which are known to occur, especially as Neotropics expand their range), or possibly just a weird looking young Double-crested. The jury is still out, and hopefully the bird will stick around long enough to answer some questions.

Cormorant, photo by Andrey Stevenson.

Ash-throated Flycatchers have had a good week, popping up at Quamash Prairie in Washington County, and at Rocky Butte and the WIllamette Bluff in Multnomah County.

A Chipping Sparrow was a late find at Harbor View, leading some to wonder if it might be trying to breed. And the Eastern Kingbird and Great-tailed Grackle are still at Steigerwald, prompting similar speculation.

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.

June 9

Ash-throated Flycatcher Swainson’s Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk Brewer’s Sparrow
Great-tailed Grackle Eastern Kingbird
Red-necked Phalarope Wilson’s Phalarope

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

With the majority of spring migration behind us, rare bird reports are slowing to a trickle. Ash-throated Flycatchers are one of the later migrants, and, true to form, one was found on Tuesday in Clackamas. Columbia County hosted both a Swainson’s Hawk at CZ trail and a very late Rough-legged Hawk in Clatskanie this week. On Sauvie Island, a birder found a late Brewer’s Sparrow at the Oak Island Boat Launch. 

Steigerwald NWR reopened last month in Clark County, and has been hosting a few fun birds this week, including a Great-tailed Grackle and an Eastern Kingbird (the latter also being reported from Sandy River Delta this week). Both Red-necked and Wilson’s Phalaropes were reported from Ridgefield.

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.

Swainson's Hawks, photo by Becky Matsubara

June 2

White-faced Ibis Forster’s Tern
Franklin’s Gull Bonaparte’s Gull
Black-necked Stilt Solitary Sandpiper
Gray Flycatcher Black Swift

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

An interesting feature of rare birds – one that prompts much pondering – is that rarities often turn up at multiple locales in the same season. Two such species this year are White-faced Ibis and Forster’s Tern, both of which have shown up in unusually high numbers in the Willamette Valley this spring. Locally, Ibis have been spotted at Fernhill Wetlands, Sauvie Island (Columbia County), and Steigerwald this week, while Forster’s Terns have been reported at Broughton Beach and Vancouver Lake. Interestingly enough, the Forster’s at Vancouver Lake was seen in the same area as a Black Tern, mirroring a similar occurrence at nearly the same time last year at nearby Smith & Bybee.

White-faced Ibis, photo by Tara Lemezis

Other notable larids this week include Franklin’s Gull and Bonaparte’s Gull from Broughton Beach. Spring shorebirds seem to be winding down, but a Black-necked Stilt was found at Marshland Bottoms in Columbia County, and a Solitary Sandpiper was a late flyover in Battleground. 

A Gray Flycatcher was a late find at Fernhill this week, continuing their strong spring in the region, and a Black Swift was reported from 158th Marsh in NE Portland.

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.

May 26

SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER Western Kingbird
Vesper Sparrow Sabine’s Gull
Whimbrel Bonaparte’s Gull
Common Nighthawk ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK
Gray Flycatcher Black Swift
Snowy Egret Wilson’s Phalarope
White-faced Ibis

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Rare Bird Alert has been on a bit of a hiatus, with lots of spring birding trips, and modern day inconveniences, to distract us from the rare birds of late, but we are back with a doozy! A SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER was found flycatching along Marine Drive towards the east end of PDX, keeping close company with one of its more closely related cousins, a Western Kingbird. Birders from across the region poured in to see the flashy pink and white bird that had thoughtfully chosen a sunny Sunday to visit. Reported until late in the evening, the bird was gone by the next morning, and did not return. This is the second time one has been seen in the county, with the last coming 30 years ago almost to the day, in nearby Troutdale. It is the 21st record for the state, with most records along the coast, in spring.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that was seen at the Portland Airport on 5/22/22 and photographed by Tara Lemezis.

Even if the flycatcher got all of the attention, it was a good week for other migrating birds as well, with a Lark Sparrow found near Zenger Farms, and an even more unexpected Vesper Sparrow photographed at the Sandy River Delta. Two Sabine’s Gulls were a rare spring find at Oak Island, where an eye-popping 63 Whimbrel were also found, and Bonaparte’s Gulls have been reported on and off at Broughton Beach. A Common Nighthawk was uncommonly early, flying over North Portland on the 25th. 

Clackamas County hosted not one but two ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS this last week, including a male at a feeder along the Clackamas River, and a much-harder-to-identify female along Newell Creek Canyon. Another male was seen coming to a feeder in Cedar Mill three days earlier, marking an exceptional week for this normally very rare visitor.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, photo by Aaron Maizlish

Other birds having a big year this year include Gray Flycatcher, reported in Columbia, Washington, and Multnomah counties this week, along with Black Swifts reported in Columbia and Washington counties. With both species, increasing awareness of and ability to identify these birds may help account for at least some of the upticks. 

A little further north, Snowy Egret and Wilson’s Phalarope were both seen near Scappoose, while a White-faced Ibis was seen across the river at Shillapoo Lake.

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.

April 21

Hermit Warbler Nashville Warbler
Hammond’s Flycatcher Dusky Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The last week has seen lots of bad weather, and not a lot of birds (or, at least, as many as expected for mid-April). At times, in between squalls, birders have reported huge numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers and other songbirds, but overall, spring migration seems to be slow and sporadic as northbound songbirds dodge rain clouds. 

A Hermit Warbler at Mt. Tabor was one of the early standouts, among the more expected Nashville Warblers and many reports of Hammond’s Flycatcher. At least one Dusky Flycatcher was reported, in Marys Woods, and another may have been seen at Dharma Rain Zen Center. An early Warbling Vireo was reported at the Children’s Arboretum.

Hermit Warbler, photo by Becky Matsubara

Meanwhile, the Western Tanager that has been visiting a feeder in SE Portland continued this week, but it is unclear if this is a sign of late winter, early spring, or endless summer…

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.

April 14

Nashville Warbler Hammond’s Flycatcher
Townsend’s Solitaire Chipping Sparrows
Solitary Sandpiper Black-necked Stilt
Red-necked Phalarope Mountain Bluebird
GLAUCOUS GULL Thayer’s Gull

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Migrants continue to stream into the area, with early reports of Nashville Warbler at Mt. Tabor (perhaps its earliest date there) and Hammond’s Flycatcher at Canemah Bluff, Cooper Mountain, and Oaks Bottom, Townsend’s Solitaire at a number of locations, and scads of Chipping Sparrows in parks and backyards across the city. 

For shorebirds, a Solitary Sandpiper at TRNWR was exceptionally early, and was joined by the continuing Black-necked Stilts. A Red-necked Phalarope was photographed at Ridgefield earlier in the week.

Hammond's Flycatcher, photo by Keith Williams

“Late” birds this week include Mountain Bluebird along Oak Island Road, GLAUCOUS and Thayer’s Gull along the Columbia River.

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.

April 7

Vaux’s Swift Purple Martin
TUFTED DUCK Red-breasted Merganser
Bonaparte’s Gull Black-necked Stilt
Brant Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Early birds are the name of the game this week, with Vaux’s Swift making its earliest-ever spring debut per eBird, seen at multiple locations around Portland for the last week. Purple Martins are the latest swallow recorded in the area, leaving Bank as the only swallow not reported thus far in the region. 

There are also some hangers-on this week, with TUFTED DUCK being reported from both the Washington and Oregon side of the river. Red-breasted Merganser and Bonaparte’s Gull were also reported along the river this week.

Tufted Duck

In Washington County, Black-necked Stilt have been hanging out at Tualatin River NWR, while Brant put in an appearance at Commonwealth Lake, and the Northern Mockingbird persisted into the week on Pleasant Valley Road.

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.

March 24

Pacific Golden-Plover Lesser Yellowlegs
Glaucous Gulls Bonaparte’s Gull
Harlequin Duck Mountain Bluebirds
Western Bluebirds Say’s Phoebe
Tricolored Blackbirds Yellow-headed Blackbirds
Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Spring migration continues to slowly take shape. A Pacific Golden-Plover was a surprising find along Honeyman Road in Warren, found by a birder searching for the continuing Loggerhead Shrike. And Lesser Yellowlegs were reported from TRNWR. 

Otherwise its been mostly leftovers this week. Glaucous Gulls were reported from both Columbia and Multnomah Counties (where one was joined by a Bonaparte’s Gull at Columbia Point), and Barn Swallows continue to pop up around the region. Clackamas County hosted two of the worlds most attractive duck species this week, with a Harlequin Duck reported outside of Rhododendron and the continuing Mandarin Duck at  Mary S. Young park. 

Pacific-Golden Plover, photo by Mick Thompson

Powell Butte continues to host a rotating cast of Mountain Bluebirds, Western Bluebirds, and a Say’s Phoebe for good measure. The Tricolored and Yellow-headed Blackbirds continue at the Rivergate Industrial Area, and a Western Tanager continues to visit a feeder near Mt. Tabor.

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.

March 17

Mountain Bluebird Loggerhead Shrike
Western Tanager Brant
Glaucous Gull Yellow-headed Blackbird
Tri-colored Blackbird Canyon Wren
Common Redpolls

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Continuing the theme of timeliness from last week, a Mountain Bluebird was found on Powell Butte on March 15th, nearly the exact date it is typically found in that spot each year. 

Much less expected this time of year was the Loggerhead Shrike found just north of Scappoose in Columbia County, where these typically mid-Spring migrants are quite rare. Another early bird was a Western Tanager visiting a yard in Southeast Portland.

A Brant showed up at Commonwealth Lake in Cedar Hills, hanging around for a few days to the delight of many birders.

Mountain Bluebird, photo by JJ Furuno

Its been a good year for Glaucous Gulls it seems, with a first year bird being found at Broughton Beach, possibly the third for Multnomah County this year. 

Continuing birds this week include the Yellow-headed and Tri-colored Blackbirds at the Rivergate Industrial area in North Portland, a Canyon Wren at Wahclella Falls, and, notably, Common Redpolls at 158th Marsh in Portland. This location is about 4 miles up the slough from where they were last seen in January.

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.

March 10

Say’s Phoebe Osprey
Western Bluebird Barn Swallow
Townsend’s Solitaire “Common” Green-winged Teal
Red-breasted Merganser Tricolored Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird GLAUCOUS GULL

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Right on schedule, a number of the expected early migrants are moving through the region. Say’s Phoebes and Osprey have been reported in multiple locations, as well as Western Bluebird, Barn Swallow, and a Townsend’s Solitaire at Oaks Bottom. 

A “Common” Green-winged Teal (the Eurasian subspecies) was seen at Vanport wetlands this week, and a Red-breasted Merganser was reported from Clackamette Cove.

Most of our other notables were reruns, including the Tricolored and Yellow-headed Blackbirds from the Purina Plant in the Rivergate Industrial Area of North Portland. The GLAUCOUS GULL from the Hawthorne Bridge also continued into the week, but most gulls have now moved on from the area, with the arrival of the smelt run in the Columbia River.

Townsend’s Solitaire, photo by Charles Gates

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.

March 3

Rufous Hummingbird Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow Western Tanager
Tricolored Blackbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird Eared Grebe
Gull Sora

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Our false springs may have falsely convinced some birders that spring birding had arrived, and it also seems to have convinced a few early migrants, including several reports of “earliest-ever” Rufous Hummingbirds at feeders, and Violet-green Swallows joining the more expected Tree Swallows over wetlands and waterways.

A Western Tanager female was photographed coming to a feeder in the Pearl, where it has been for several days. This comes after a bird spent several weeks in the St. Johns area last winter.

Tricolored Blackbird showing clear white epaulettes. Photo by Kyle Landstra.

One of the other notable finds of the week was of a male Tricolored Blackbird, along with a Yellow-headed Blackbird mixed in with the hundreds of Brown-headed Cowbirds and Red-winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds availing themselves of the feast provided by the rail cars full of grain pulling into the Purina factory near Kelly Point Park. This has been a known blackbird winter hangout spot for years, and these five icterids have been recorded multiple season. 

The Tufted Duck of Columbia Point fame seems to have moved on, leaving in its stead an Eared Grebe mixed in with the remaining Scaup. Meanwhile the Hawthorne Bridge Glaucous Gull continued in to the week, as did the Smith & Bybee Sora. 

A slow week elsewhere in the area. The calm before the storm?

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.

February 23

TUFTED DUCKS Eared Grebe
Rufous Hummingbird Violet-green Swallows
GLAUCOUS GULL Red-throated Loon

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

TUFTED DUCKS are a rare but expected wintering duck in the region, as generally at least one or more is found somewhere along the Columbia River each year. Unfortunately they are generally mixed in with a raft of hundreds to thousands of Greater and Lesser Scaup, often far from shore, making detection difficult. That all changed this week when a presumed young male was found at Columbia Point near a small inlet, where it remained for five days, being seen by many. On Thursday, an Eared Grebe was seen in the same area. 

Early spring migrants are on their way, among them several reports of Rufous Hummingbird (a well-known early migrant) and Violet-green Swallows, along with the more expected early Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows. 

The GLAUCOUS GULL near the Hawthorne Bridge continued into the week, as did the Hagg Lake Red-throated Loon.

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.

Actual photo of Tufted Duck spotted and submitted by Kyle Landstra.

February 3

Wilson’s Warbler Brant
Sandhill Cranes Harris’s Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow Northern Mockingbird
American White Pelicans

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

After a flurry of very rare birds over the first three weeks of the year, things seem to have cooled down significantly as we enter mid-winter. Clackamas County gets top honors this week with a first-year female Wilson’s Warbler at Canby Community Park. Brant was also a flavor of the week, with a bird found in a large Cackling Goose flock on the NE side of Sauvie Island, and another reported flying over a house north of Hillsboro (#greatyardbird). 

Pacific Loon and Red-throated Loon continue to be seen in good numbers along the Columbia River (and the latter continues at Hagg Lake). Other continuing birds include the Fernhill Sandhill Cranes, Rentenaar Road Harris’s Sparrow, the Smith & Bybee boat launch Swamp Sparrow, the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird, and American White Pelicans on Sauvie Island.

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.

Wilson's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler, photo by Hayley Crews.

January 27

TENNESSEE WARBLER Williamson’s Sapsucker
TUFTED DUCK Sandhill Cranes
Glaucous Gull Pacific Loon
Red-throated Loon Brant
Harris’s Sparrow Swamp Sparrow
Northern Mockingbird Say’s Phoebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A Vancouver birder, and Audubon trip leader and longtime volunteer, was stunned to find a TENNESSEE WARBLER visiting a suet feeder on Friday. The species is rare any time of year in Oregon and Washington, but particularly in winter. It appears to be possibly be overwintering, as the bird has kept a pretty tight rotation of visiting the feeders in the backyard every hour or two, much to the delight of many visitors. 

The other unexpected wintering visitor, the Williamson’s Sapsucker at Mt. Tabor, continued into the week, but has not been seen for several days as of press time. Same goes for the TUFTED DUCK near Broughton Beach. 

Sandhill Cranes, common locally in neighboring counties, were spotted flying over several locations in Washington county this week, where they are generally rare.

New this week, an apparent Glaucous Gull was photographed on the waterfront in downtown Portland. Pacific and Red-throated Loons continue to be seen along the Columbia River, including at Broughton Beach, along with the more, erm, common Common Loon. Other continuing birds included the Brant at Heron Lakes Golf Course, the Rentenaar Road Harris’s Sparrow, the Smith & Bybee boatlaunch Swamp Sparrow, the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird, joined by a Say’s Phoebe that also seemed to spend the winter in the vicinity last year. 

Turkey Vulture, American White Pelican, and Common Yellowthroat were among the out-of-season birds reported across the region 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.

January 20

Williamson’s Sapsucker Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker
Long-eared Owl TUFTED DUCK
Brant Common Redpoll
Red-throated Loon Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird Harris’ Sparrow
Western Bluebirds

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

On Saturday, a female Williamson’s Sapsucker was reported from Mt. Tabor, very near where the only other known Multnomah County record was found six years ago, by the upper reservoir. The bird was refound the next day nearby, but it wasn’t until the following day that another birder relocated it in what seems to be its favorite spot: a spruce in a private yard on the SW edge of the park. Williamson’s Sapsuckers are a dryside breeder (breeds east of the Cascades) and long-distance migrant, and this report represents one of only a handful in the Willamette Valley. 

Coincidentally, this bird was found only a day after an apparent Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid (appearing to be much closer to a Red-naped) was found at the Rose City Cemetery in NE Portland on Friday. On the same day, a Long-eared Owl was found near the Columbia Slough, but details were kept private to prevent unwanted disturbance to this rare Portland visitor.

Williamson’s Sapsucker, photo by Seymore Gulls.

On Sunday, a female TUFTED DUCK was found at its traditional Portland location, inside of a giant Scaup flock on the Columbia near Broughton Beach. 

And the hits kept coming! On Monday, a Brant was reported on the Columbia Slough near Heron Lakes Golf Course keeping company with a group of Cackling Geese.  

As if an afterthought, the Common Redpolls at Whitaker Ponds continued into the week, and another was heard at Mt. Tabor. Other continuing rarities this week include Red-throated Loons at Hagg Lake and along the Columbia River in Columbia County, the Say’s Phoebe outside of Banks on Ever Road, the Northern Mockingbird outside of TRNWR, as well as the Rentenaar Road Harris’ Sparrow. Western Bluebirds continue to be found across Portland, including at Graham Oaks Nature Park this week. 

And the earliest-migrant-of-the-year award goes to Barn Swallows, reported across the region. Stay safe swallows!

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.

January 13

Common Redpoll Red Fox Sparrow
Western Bluebird Bonaparte’s Gull
Red-throated Loon Pacific Loon
Surf Scoter Lesser Yellowlegs
Townsend’s Solitaire Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird Harris’ Sparrow
Canyon Wren American White Pelicans
Snowy Owl

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

When three Common Redpolls were found on the Portland Christmas Bird Count, birders were dismayed that they couldn’t be relocated in the same stretch of the Columbia Slough near NE 92nd Avenue, despite heavy searching. And so birders have been especially delighted that the same three birds (presumed, as it is also one male and two females) have decided to set up shop at the well-traveled Whitaker Ponds, where they have been seen for the last six days and counting. Another individual was photographed at a feeder in SE Portland. And, in the vein of rare red songbirds at Whitaker Ponds, a redpoll chaser found a Red Fox Sparrow there as well. This subspecies (but possible full future species) is quite rare in the area. 

Another CBC surprise – a flock of eight Western Bluebirds – also continues to be seen near the Columbia Wastewater Plant in North Portland.

Common Redpoll, photo by Ott Rebane.

Bonaparte’s Gull and Red-throated Loon were again reported from Hagg Lake. A Bonaparte’s was also reported from Columbia Point, and another Red-throated, quite rare in Clackamas county, was reported from Clackamette Cove. Both Red-throated (which seem to be having a great year) and Pacific Loon, along with Surf Scoter, were reported from Pixie Park this week in Columbia County. 

Another good Clackamas bird, a Lesser Yellowlegs, was reported at Brown’s Ferry Park. A Townsend’s Solitaire was reported near Mt. Tabor. The Say’s Phoebe outside of Banks on Ever Road and the Northern Mockingbird outside of TRNWR both continued this week, as did the Rentenaar Road Harris’ Sparrow and a Canyon Wren near Oneonta Gorge. American White Pelicans continue to be reported across the region, and, this week, another report of a Snowy Owl came in from Smith & Bybee, but without photos, and has not been refound. 

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.

January 6, 2022

MacGillivray’s Warbler Common Redpoll
Common Yellowthroat Red-necked Grebe
Black-bellied Plover Western Sandpiper
Red-throated Loon Harris’s Sparrow
Cassin’s Finch Red-breasted Merganser
Bonaparte’s Gull Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

This past week saw both the Portland Christmas Bird Count and the Sauvie Island Christmas Bird Count, producing the expected level of rare birds that this type of concentrated effort generally does. 

Most notable was the MacGillivray’s Warbler found along the Columbia Slough in NE Portland, the first winter record of this neotropical migrant in Portland, and one of only a handful statewide. A shocking second-place finish, three Common Redpolls were reported along the slough just west of 92nd Avenue. For good measure, a few more were reported in North Portland on Wednesday. Another CBC surprise was the Common Yellowthroat reported in a NE industrial area, but this species is expected to become more prevalent in winter in coming years. Another was reported on Sauvie Island on the same day.

MacGillivray's Warbler, photo by Michelle Lamberson.

While Red-necked Grebe has come to be expected along the Columbia in winter (typified by five such birds on the CBC) they are still rare elsewhere away from the coast, such as lake Oswego where one was found on count day. 

The Sauvie Island CBC produced a number of fun finds, and good shorebird numbers, including Black-bellied Plover and Western Sandpiper, as well as Red-throated Loon (several of which were also seen in Portland) and the continuing Harris’s Sparrow on Rentenaar Road. 

Not on the count, but good for “count week,” a keen-eared birder made a recording of a Cassin’s Finch near Mount Tabor on Tuesday. Similarly, a Red-breasted Merganser drake was seen at Broughton Beach on Friday, but was a no-show on Sunday. 

Outside of the count circle, Bonaparte’s Gull and Red-throated Loon were reported from Hagg Lake, while the Say’s Phoebe outside of Banks on Ever Road and the Northern Mockingbird outside of TRNWR both continued into the new year.

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.