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.

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

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.

December 30

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK Rufous Hummingbird
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER Western Bluebird
Long-tailed Duck Red-throated Loon
 Glaucous Gull Northern Mockingbird
Rentenaar Road Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A first year male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK has been visiting a feeder in Clackamas County for several weeks. While the last two years have seen decent numbers of reports of this state rarity, including in the Portland area, a wintering bird seems to be a first. Much less rare overall, a Rufous Hummingbird visiting a feeder in SE Portland is still quite surprising for December. 

A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER seems to be over-wintering outside of Canby, for a very notable Clackamas County record. Its also been an interesting year for Western Bluebird in Multnomah County, which trails its valley neighbors in bluebirds sightings. The Species has recently been reported across Sauvie Island, and in inner SE and NE Portland. 

Western Bluebird by Tara Lemezis

A Long-tailed Duck was photographed heading upstream on Hayden Island, representing a late report for this species in Multnomah County. Continuing rarities this week include the Red-throated Loon at Hagg Lake, the Glaucous Gull west of North Plains, the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird, and the Rentenaar Road Harris’s Sparrow.

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 23

Glaucous Gull Say’s Phoebe
Red-throated Loon Northern Mockingbird
Red-breasted Merganser Black-throated Gray Warbler
Harris’ Sparrow Eurasian Green-winged Teal

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Christmas Bird Count season has started, but challenging weather has put a damper on the counts so far. The Forest Grove count uncovered a few nice finds, including a Glaucous Gull and a Say’s Phoebe on Reiling Road, and the continuing Red-throated Loon at Hagg Lake. The Northern Mockingbird also continues on Pleasant Valley Road. 

The two Clackamas County rarities – the Red-breasted Merganser at Clackamette Cove, and the Black-throated Gray Warbler at Milwaukie Riverfront Park – both seem to be in it for the long haul. 

In Columbia County, the Harris’ Sparrow continues, while in Multnomah County, the most notable bird of the week was a Eurasian Green-winged Teal at Chinook Landing near Troutdale.

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.

Say's Phoebe, photo by Mick Thompson

December 9

White-winged Crossbill SNOWY OWL
Turkey Vulture Osprey
Wilson’s Warbler Black-throated Gray Warbler
Black-crowned Night-Heron Canyon Wren
Harris’s Sparrow Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Right on schedule, the rare bird reports coming across the wire have trickled, as birds have mostly finished migration, meaning less off-course birds being found, and the weather leaves plenty of reasons for birders to enjoy time inside. In Multnomah County, White-winged Crossbills were certainly the find of the week, but with few birders willing or able to hike 12 miles in the snow in the wilderness, as the intrepid finder of these birds did last week at Larch Mountain, one wonders how rare these birds really are in these inaccessible locales. For what its worth, this year does seem to be a good one in Oregon for White-winged Crossbill and Common Redpoll, two of our most irruptive finch species. 

Perhaps the most intriguing report of the week was of a SNOWY OWL on Sandy Boulevard near Troutdale. The bird was well-described, but no photos were obtained, and the bird was not relocated. To add to the drama, a snowy was then found in a neighborhood in Eugene two days later.

Snowy Owl, photo by Tara Lemezis.

Other “rarities” this week were of the more common variety: A late Turkey Vulture at Sauvie Island, perhaps a harbinger of our warming world; a similarly late Osprey at Commonwealth Lake; apparently overwintering Wilson’s and Black-throated Gray Warbler at Sauvie Island and Milwaukie Riverfront Park, respectively; the continuing flyouts of Black-crowned Night-Herons in St. Johns; The Canyon Wren living its best life in the Multnomah Falls area; the Harris’s Sparrow on Rentenaar Road; and the welcomed return of the Northern Mockingbird to Pleasant Valley Road near the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, back for what is its fourth known winter, after being reported in the area for an amazing 32 weeks last winter. 

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 2

American Tree Sparrow Burrowing Owl
Red-throated Loon Red-breasted Mergansers
Harris’s Sparrow Canyon Wren

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

After an extended holiday break, the Rare Bird report is back with… not too much, to be honest. An American Tree Sparrow was found at TRNWR, one of only a handful of records for Washington County. The other most intriguing bird of the week was a Burrowing Owl reported from an undisclosed industrial location in Portland. 

A Red-throated Loon continues at Hagg Lake, while Red-breasted Mergansers were reported at Columbia Point, and along the Clackamas River at Clackamette Cove, where it is a much rarer find. A very out-of-season Black-throated Gray Warbler was seen nearby at Milwaukie Riverfront Park.

Burrowing Owl, photo by Tara Lemezis

The Harris’s Sparrow is back at its usual location on Rentenaar Road for another winter it seems, and the Multnomah Falls-area Canyon Wren was reported again 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.

November 11

Brant Red-breasted Merganser
White-winged Scoter Pacific Loon
Red Phalarope Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Wilson’s Warbler American White Pelican

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

As expected in November, water birds were most of the notables this week. A Brant was found at Fairview Lake, but, not surprisingly for this species, attempts to refind the bird were unsuccessful. Other aquatic rarities included Red-breasted Merganser at Columbia Point, White-winged Scoter at Timothy Lake in Clackamas County and Pixie Park in Columbia County, where a Pacific Loon was also found, and Red Phalarope at Hagg Lake, which has had a great year for exciting birds (starting, if you recall, with a Yellow-billed Loon in January).

Red-breasted Merganser, photo by Adam Stunkel.

Late birds this week included a very late Pacific-slope Flycatcher at Nadaka Nature Park, a Wilson’s Warbler in North Portland, and Turkey Vulture and Osprey reports in Washington County, and several reports of large concentrations of American White Pelicans that seemed to be on the move. Time will tell if they once again overwinter, or if La Niña pushes them south.

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 28

Brown Pelican Black Scoter
Pacific Loon White-tailed Kite
Swamp Sparrow EMPEROR GOOSE
Vaux’s Swift Western Tanager
MacGillivray’s Warbler Hammond’s Flycatcher
Common Yellowthroat Turkey Vulture
Osprey

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL is one of the most recent birds to be taken off the review list of the Oregon Birds Record Committee, meaning that it is no longer considered so rare that the committee tries to collect information and verify every possible sighting in the state. This is a result of this bird being found increasingly often, particularly along the coast and Columbia River, as one was last week at the John Day Dam. It seemed like only a matter of time until one was found in the Portland area, and that time may have happened on Wednesday, as a birder found a suspiciously dark-mantled bird mixed in a large flock at Harborview Park on the WIllamette River. As of press time, full parentage of the bird is still being pondered.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, photo by Aaron Maizlish.

Larger waterways have been the site of numerous interesting birds as the Bomb Cyclone coincided with fall migration, the most notable of which was the Brown Pelican found at Roehr City park along the Willamette. This is a first county record and one of only a few records for the region. Three Black Scoter were reported flying upriver near the I-5 bridge, as Surf Scoter, Red-necked Grebes, and Scaup have poured into the area. Further downstream, a Pacific Loon was found at Pixie Park in Columbia County, while even further downstream outside of Clatskanie, a White-tailed Kite was found on a riverine island. 

A Swamp Sparrow was photographed at Fernhill Wetlands, the first for the season in the Portland area. 

In Beaverton, the EMPEROR GOOSE continues at Southridge High (with a note to would-be watchers that the school grounds are closed to visitors during school hours), while another was found at McNary Dam in NE Oregon, for what would be an unprecedented third bird in the state so far this season.

Several very late birds were found this week, including multiple reports of Vaux’s Swift, Western Tanager, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat, Turkey Vulture, and Osprey.

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 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.