Saturday, February 7, 2009
Raptor Road Trip 09
Today Sarah and I worked our third Raptor Road Trip at Sauvie Island. The event is sponsored by the Audubon Society of Portland, Metro, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Road Trip consists of several stops on Sauvie Island where the public is invited to learn about raptors and other birds while enjoying coffee and donuts. The three birding spots are marked above with green tacks.
This was the first year that we did not get soaked by rain or snow. It was also the first year Sarah and I were stationed at Coon Point overlooking sturgeon lake.
The morning started off with loud flocks of sandhill cranes, one of my favorite species of birds. They are identified in flight by their calls, their outstretched necks, and long legs.
We had a great turnout of over 850 visitors. I think I explained the differences between cackling and dusky geese to all of them.
The sun came out by late morning and we enjoyed views of many birds, Mount Saint Helens, and the tip of Mount Rainier.
The highlight of the day occurred as the air heated and bald eagles began souring in a huge kettle, using the thermals to gain elevation above sturgeon lake. At one point, at least 14 eagles could be seen in the air at once. The crowd of birders looked up in silence and awe, enjoying a spectacle they did not expect to see.
Here is the list of birds I compiled from our station:
Great blue heron
Canada goose (dusky subspecies)
Northern flicker (red and yellow-shafted)
Western scrub jay