Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Break Camp on the Island

Yesterday I led an Audubon Spring Break Camp. With the help of a volunteer, I drove 12 second and third-graders to Sauvie Island to look for some birds.

The morning was quite rainy, but it started to clear when we reached the island.

We started by birding the Multnomah Channel.

A belted kingfisher and a group of common mergansers captured their attention.

We drove to Wapato Greenway, Oak Island, and several stops on the east side of the island. At a couple of covered areas, we made maps of the island and recorded the birds we saw at each site.

Though I was busy keeping the kids in sight and interested in the birds, I enjoyed one of the best days of birding I have had at the Island. Sandhill cranes were everywhere, ospreys and turkey vultures had returned from their winter country, and bald eagles were sitting on sedan-sized nests. The highlight for some of the boys was a "duck fight" between squabbling buffleheads. The boys embelished the story to include flying blood and death from an epic battle that lasted much longer than I recall, but I guess we create our own reality at that age.

Our final stop was the Columbia beach.

As I kept an eye on the kids playing in the sand, I spotted the best bird of the day.

It was a juvenile red-throated loon cruising up the River. The children whose attention had not yet waned were able to get good looks at it in the scope. This small loon usually winters along the coast, but a few stray up the Columbia to Hood River and beyond. It was a great sighting to cap a very productive day of birding for all ages.


North West Birds said...

Was that loon at Sauvie Island?

Max said...

Yes, the loon was just off the shore in the Columbia near the east side of the Island. We saw the loon near the southernmost access point.

North West Birds said...

I'll have to look for one of them next time I go there!

Birdnerd said...

Nice bird! They have such a distinctive profile.