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.

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

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