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:

Double-crested cormorant
Great blue heron
Great egret
Tundra swan
Canada goose (dusky subspecies)
Cackling goose
Snow goose
Northern pintail
American wigeon
Northern shoveler
Green-winged teal
Common merganser
Bald eagle
Cooper's hawk
Northern harrier
Red-tailed hawk
American kestrel
Sandhill crane
Glaucous-winged gull
Ring-billed gull
Belted kingfisher
Northern flicker (red and yellow-shafted)
Western scrub jay
American robin
Spotted towhee
Song sparrow
Red-winged blackbird
Western meadowlark


NW Nature Nut said...

Wow, couldn't ask for better weather. Great views and great bird list. Laura and her "birding associate" were there and possibly Connor of the Beaverton Bird Blog. I look forward to hearing all the accounts. Some of us had to work:(

Birdnerd said...

Nice addition with the Google Earth Map....puts us all in perspective. Yey for no snow and lots of sun! I was a little sunburned by the end.

North West Birds said...

Yes I was there ;-)