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@birdallianceoregon.org.

February 22

Tri-colored Blackbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Say’s Phoebe Long-tailed Duck
Black-necked Stilt Pygmy Nuthatch
Acorn Woodpecker Barn Swallow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Purina factory in far North Portland is once again everyone’s least-favorite must-visit hotspot for trying to find Portland’s rare birds, as a Tri-colored Blackbird and two Yellow-headed Blackbirds were found among the huge flock of blackbirds that congregate here every winter. 

A Say’s Phoebe was found at Oaks Bottom. Another was found at Koll Wetlands, and the bird near Cornelius at Mariposa Community Park continued this week. The bird in industrial northeast has not been seen recently.

Yellow-headed Blackbird seen by Andrew Aldrich and shared with the Rare Bird Alert

In Columbia County, the Long-tailed Duck and Black-necked Stilt continued into the week, as did Pygmy Nuthatch in NE Portland, Acorn Woodpeckers on Reeder Road, and Barn Swallows across the region.

That’s most of it for this month. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

February 15

Common Redpoll Harris’s Sparrow
Yellow-headed Blackbird Townsend’s Solitaire
Red-throated Loon Clark’s Grebe
Barn Swallow Say’s Phoebe
Pygmy Nuthatch Long-tailed Duck

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Common Redpolls keep bopping about, with one turning up at Chapman Landing, at the end of the CZ trail in Scappoose. Unlike basically all the other records so far this winter, this bird was seen by multiple observers. CZ also hosted a Harris’s Sparrow this week, while a Yellow-headed Blackbird was seen at the end of the still-flooded Rentenaar Road. 

A Townsend’s Solitaire was reported from SE Portland, after a very slow winter for them regionally. 

Common Redpoll seen and reported to Rare Bird Alert by Kayla McCurry.

Otherwise, mostly leftovers this week. Some of the longer lingerers include Red-throated Loon and Clark’s Grebe at Hagg Lake, Barn Swallows all over the place, the Fazio Slough Say’s Phoebe, and the Pygmy Nuthatches near Rose City Golf Course. The Long-tailed Duck in St. Helen’s is also still being seen.

That’s most of it for this month. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

February 8

White-winged Scoter Say’s Phoebe
Barn Swallow Osprey
Red-throated Loon Clark’s Grebe
Long-tailed Duck Acorn Woodpecker
Pygmy Nuthatch

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

White-winged Scoter and Say’s Phoebe lead the way this week, with the former reported from the Columbia River along Marine Drive, and the latter reported at the Fazio farm area of NE Portland, as well as at Shillapoo Lake in Vancouver. 

Barn Swallows continue to be reported across the region this week, and we also saw a sudden uptick of Osprey sightings, which is interesting if only because it seems too early for northern movement, but wintering birds would’ve likely been reported in previous weeks.

White-winged Scoter shared with the Rare Bird Alert by Andrew Aldrich

Speaking of which, lots of continuing wintering birds this week, including Red-throated Loon and Clark’s Grebe at Hagg Lake, the Long-tailed Duck at Columbia View Park in St. Helens, Acorn Woodpecker on Reeder Road in the Multnomah portion of Sauvie Island, and the Pygmy Nuthatches near Rose City Golf Course. One observer has already boldly predicted that these nuthatches may try breeding in the area. Time will tell…

That’s most of it for this month. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

February 1

Red-naped Sapsucker Red-throated Loon
Red-breasted Merganser Gray Catbird
Long-tailed Duck Pygmy Nuthatch
Acorn Woodpecker Say’s Phoebe
Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Snowmelt and heavy rain has led to flooding at many local hotspots. One intrepid visitor to Fernhill who was turned back by the high water found a Red-naped Sapsucker in the neighborhood nearby (they allowed that Yellow-bellied was possible, but that it was not a Red-breasted in any event). A Red-throated Loon was reported from Hagg Lake, and Red-breasted Merganser was reported from Broughton Beach. 

The Gray Catbird reappeared at Koll Center Wetlands this week, and other continuing rarities include the Scapoose Long-tailed Duck, Pygmy Nuthatch in NE Portland, Acorn Woodpeckers on Reeder Road, the Cornelius Say’s Phoebe, and the Harris’s Sparrow at the ODFW headquarters on Sauvie Island (Multnomah County). 

That’s most of it for this month. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

An example of a Red-naped Sapsucker, photo by Mick Thompson (this is not the same bird spotted and reported to the Rare Bird Alert).

January 25

Common Redpoll Horned Lark
Lapland Longspur Long-tailed Duck
Red-throated Loon Clark’s Grebe
Eared Grebe Black-legged Kittiwake
Surf Scoter Say’s Phoebe
Gray Catbird American White Pelican
Pygmy Nuthatch Red-breasted Merganser
Surf Scoter Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

With the hard weather that hit the Portland region, many birders were more concerned with keeping their hummingbird feeders thawed than searching for rarities, but a few good birds showed up over the last few weeks (for much of which, the RBA Committee of One was birding in warmer climes, so please excuse the tardiness). 

The most exciting snowbird was likely the Common Redpoll that visited a feeder in NE Portland, remaining only for a few hours.  

The most visited birds in the period were a flock of Horned Larks found at PDX right as Portland started to thaw. These were presumably migrant birds for a more northerly breeding population, as the Streaked Horned Lark colony that persisted at the airport has been defunct for the last two seasons. The flock was up to 30 birds, and one keen observer was able to pick out a Lapland Longspur mixed in (as they often are with wintering Horned Larks), but the bird was not seen or heard again.

Common Redpoll seen at feeder and reported to Rare Bird Alert by Amy Santee

A Long-tailed Duck was a nice find on the Columbia River on St. Helens, and a Red-breasted Merganser was reported mid-month from Rooster Rock. Hagg Lake continues to host some good waterbirds as well, with Red-throated Loon, Clark’s Grebe, and Eared Grebe (which was also reported from the mouth of the Sandy), and both Black-legged Kittiwake and Surf Scoter were reported there mid-month. Not too far away, a Say’s Phoebe was seen at Mariposa Community Park in Cornelius. The Gray Catbird that spent quite some time at Koll Center has not been seen for the last two weeks. 

American White Pelicans continue to expand their winter presence. Unheard of in winter just three years ago, large flocks are being reported across the region. 

Longevity awards this week go to the continuing Pygmy Nuthatch in NE Portland (only one reported this time), Acorn Woodpeckers on Reeder Road, and the Harris’s Sparrow at the ODFW headquarters on Sauvie Island (Multnomah County). Columbia County is hosting its own Harris’s at the nearby Crown Zellerbach trail.  

That’s most of it for this month. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

January 4

Black & White Warbler Pygmy Nuthatch
Western Tanager Gray Catbird
Tree Swallow Barn Swallow
HOODED ORIOLE Pine Grosbeak
Say’s Phoebe Clark’s Grebe
Black-necked Stilt Black-legged Kittiwake
Acorn Woodpecker Red-breasted Merganser
Surf Scoter Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

We’ve been away, birding in slightly, umm, warmer locales, but that didn’t stop Portland birders from finding some great birds! The highlight of the last month was likely the Black & White Warbler found at Whitaker Ponds, where it remained for almost a month. Unfortunately, that bird joined the long-lingering Pygmy Nuthatches in NE Portland in ghosting on the 98th Portland Christmas Bird Count, held December 30. 

Counters were able to find a few notables on the day, however, including the Eagle Eye award-winning Hermit Warbler that was found along the Columbia Slough at the Columbia Wastewater Treatment plant. The exact parentage of this individual is still being debated, as slight amounts of yellow on the belly suggest it may be a hybrid with a Townsend’s Warbler, but in either event, it’s a very rare winter visitor, and has been refound by several birders since first discovered. A wintering Western Tanager was also found in North Portland, for the third time in the last four years, after only one CBC record before that. The continuing Koll Center Gray Catbird was kind enough to make an appearance, marking a first for the count, making it a strong contender for the Eagle Eye award, but, in keeping with tradition, the reward was given to a notable bird found on the count itself. Tree and Barn Swallows were reported on the count this year, which is, well, probably not great for us or them.

Hooded Oriole that's been spotted in Clackamas County, referenced in the Rare Bird Alert

A lucky pair of homeowners in Clackamas County are hosting a HOODED ORIOLE at their hummingbird feeders. A first county record, the bird has been seen for about a month, recalling the Hooded Oriole that overwintered multiple years in Nehalem. 

Pine Grosbeaks continue to be a theme of the winter, and a single bird was reported at Chehalem Ridge in mid-December. A Say’s Phoebe was found in Verboort, and Clark’s Grebe was spotted at Hagg Lake for other Washington County highlights. 

A Black-necked Stilt on Sauvie Island (Racetrack Lake in Columbia County) was an exceptional find on the Sauvie CBC. This is a first winter record in the state for the species, and would seem to be the same bird seen for the previous two weeks on the other side of the Columbia in Clark County, Washington. 

A Black-legged Kittiwake hanging out at Bonneville Dam was another December highlight. Additionally, a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers have been hanging out on Reeder Road near Willow Bar on Sauvie Island, in Multnomah County. Red-breasted Merganser and Surf Scoter have both been seen along the Columbia as of late, and Harris’s Sparrow has been reported both from the ODFW HQ on Sauvie Island, and the nearby Crown Zellerbach trail. 

That’s most of it for this month. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

November 28

EURASIAN SKYLARK Gray Catbird
Harlequin Duck Red-breasted Merganser
Eared Grebe Harris’s Sparrow
Pine Grosbeak Mountain Chickadee
Clark’s Nutcracker Osprey
Wilson’s Warbler

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

We don’t often give enough love to our fifth metro county, Clark County, because birders are unusually bound by state lines, but a EURASIAN SKYLARK is certainly enough of a mega to take top honors this week, even if it happens to be in Washington. The bird was detected during a survey in the Vancouver Lake lowlands, and while it has been present for a few days, has yet to be photographed or seen by others than the original observer. 

Gray Catbirds used to feel like a really rare bird in our parts, but they keep showing up, the latest at Koll Center wetlands. The jury is still out as to whether they are actually increasing, or there are simply more birders out there looking for them.

Harris's Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow, photo by Scott Carpenter

A female Harlequin Duck was found at the mouth of Eagle Creek on the eastern edge of Multnomah County, where the species has been seen off and on for decades. Interestingly, the individual photographed appeared to have an injured left wing, which was also noted on the bird seen there in 2019, and even 2011, prompting speculation (mostly from the compiler of this report) that it may be the same individual, whose wing injury prevents her from migrating. Red-breasted Mergansers and Eared Grebe were reported from the Columbia River this week. 

A Harris’s Sparrow has been hanging out at the ODFW Headquarters on Sauvie Island, in Multnomah County. Pine Grosbeak and Mountain Chickadee were reported again this week from Larch Mountain (Multnomah County), which reliable sources say was closed to cars as of Tuesday. Rounding out the montane rarity irruption this year, a Clark’s Nutcracker was reported from Saddle Mountain in far western Washington County. 

Late birds include Osprey, and, once again, Wilson’s Warbler, the unofficial bird of fall 2023.  

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

November 16

Ash-throated Flycatcher Pine Grosbeak
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Bohemian Waxwing
Mountain Chickadee Vaux’s Swift
Black-throated Gray Warbler White-winged Scoter
Red-breasted Merganser Lapland Longspur
Spotted Owl Barn Swallow
Lesser Yellowlegs Osprey

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Another exciting week, with an Ash-throated Flycatcher headlining, being spotted in an inner SE Portland neighborhood, mere blocks from the Summer Tanager that hung out in the neighborhood in January and February of this year. This is an exceptional record for the species, which is near-annual in Multnomah County in spring, but is only the third eBird record for the state between November and February.  

The excitement at Larch Mountain continued, with Pine Grosbeak, Gray-crowned Rosy-finch, Bohemian Waxwing, and Mountain Chickadee reported throughout, mostly up at the peak (Sherrard Point). The sign on the way up to Larch Mountain says the road is closed, but as of Tuesday the road is open and snow-free all the way to the parking lot.

Ash-throated Flycatcher, spotted and photographed in an inner SE Portland neighborhood by Trista Newman.

Wilson’s Warblers seem to be having a big fall, with individuals being reported at the Children’s Arboretum, Mary’s Woods, and Fernhill Wetlands this week. And speaking of very late birds, a Vaux’s Swift was reported in Clackamas County, while a Black-throated Gray Warbler was spotted at Company Lake. 

A White-winged Scoter was reported flying over NE Portland, and Red-breasted merganser and Lapland Longspur were reported from along the Columbia this week. 

And some additional information on last week’s shocking discovery of a Spotted Owl on Mt. Tabor. It turns out the bird was photographed in the park at least a week prior to its demise. 

Late birds this week include Barn Swallow, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Osprey. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

November 9

Northern Spotted Owl Pine Grosbeak
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Bohemian Waxwing
Snow Bunting Long-tailed Duck
Red-breasted Merganser Clark’s Grebe
Pygmy Nuthatch Barn Swallow
Lesser Yellowlegs Osprey

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A Northern Spotted Owl was found injured on a trail at Mt. Tabor on Tuesday and taken to the Bird Alliance of Oregon Wildlife Care Center. Despite the best efforts of Care Center staff, sadly the bird succumbed to its injuries that night. Cause of injury and death are still unknown. Apparently the bird had been seen at the park for a couple days prior, but not reported. This is an amazing record, and the first time the species has been seen in Portland for possibly a decade (although, owing to its status, all records of this species are hidden, so the history of records is hard to ascertain).

Northern Spotted Owl found at Mt. Tabor Park, photo by Tara Lemezis

There seems to be growing evidence of a irruption of finches and other irruptive species, with Pine Grosbeak, Gray-crowned Rosy-finch, and Bohemian Waxwings once again reported from Larch Mountain. Additionally, a Mountain Chickadee was reported from a feeder in St. John’s, and a Snow Bunting was once again reported from the bike path along Marine Drive near 205. 

It’s a good year for water birds as well, with reports along the Columbia River of Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted merganser, also reported at Timothy Lake, for a very good Clackamas County bird. Clark’s Grebe also continues to be seen at Hagg Lake. 

The NE Portland Pygmy Nuthatches continued into the week, and late birds this week include Barn Swallow, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Osprey. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

November 2

Pine Grosbeak Gray-crowned Rosy-finch
Mountain Chickadee Golden Eagle
BROAD-WINGED HAWK Snow Bunting
Lapland Longspur White-winged Scoter
Red-breasted Merganser Clark’s Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Trees have developed a remarkable defense against tree squirrels. By having long term cycles of high and low fruit production, they can keep squirrel populations low. Birds, of course, are much more mobile than squirrels, and the birds that eat things like conifer seeds and alder catkins have adapted to these cycles by becoming nomadic, with incursions into areas known as irruptions. 

This year, it would seem an irruption of the most sought-after irruptive finch is underway. Pine Grosbeaks have been reported a few times at Larch Mountain, and this week, a homeowner on Skyline noticed three birds hanging out in his yard. Added to this, Gray-crowned Rosy-finches continued into the week at Larch Mountain, as well as other locations in the valley, and Pine Siskins, after being nearly completely absent last year, are showing up in decent numbers.

Pine Grosbeak seen and reported to the Rare Bird Alert by Bob Burley who shared this photo with us.

Finch watchers at Larch Mountain were also treated to Mountain Chickadees and a Golden Eagle sighting. While that bird was no doubt in transit, another was seen at Ridgefield, where they might be more likely to overwinter. And for the second time in two weeks, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK was reported in the Portland area being harassed by crows, this time in Tualatin. 

A Snow Bunting was found at its “usual” location at Broughton Beach, and, across the river at Vancouver Lake Lowlands, a Lapland Longspur was reported. Both are rare, late fall migrants to the area, preferring sparse vegetation. 

Other highlights this week include White-winged Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser along the Columbia River, and the continuing Clark’s Grebe at Fernhill Wetlands. 

Late finds this week include Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Barn Swallow, Wilson’s Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, and Western Tanager. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org. up in decent numbers.

October 26

WINTER WREN Snow Bunting
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Mountain Chickadee
Clark’s Nutcracker Red-necked Grebe
Red-breasted Merganser Pygmy Nuthatch
Clark’s Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The big excitement of the week was when a birder found a small wren at the Children’s Arboretum that didn’t sound quite right for a Pacific Wren, and after some recordings and visual identification, realized it was a likely WINTER WREN. The species were split in 2010, and over the last few years keen-eared birders have found two wintering in the Willamette Valley. Each of those two stayed for months, but this bird was not refound as of the next morning.

The second big surprise of the week was a Snow Bunting hanging out in the parking lot at Larch Mountain, where birders have been traveling en masse to try to spot the Gray-crowned Rosy-finches and Mountain Chickadees that have continued there this week. Birders were also hoping to find Clark’s Nutcracker there, but the only one of the week was found at Mt. Tabor instead. It was not refound.

Snow Bunting, photo by Tara Lemezis

New birds for the week include Red-necked Grebe at Timothy Lake (a tough bird for Clackamas County) and Red-breasted Merganser at Columbia Point. Continuing birds include the Pygmy Nuthatches near Rose City Golf Course, and Clark’s Grebes at Hagg Lake (and now Fernhill). 

Late finds this week include Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Violet-green Swallow, Wilson’s Warbler, and Rufous Hummingbird. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 19

Clark’s Nutcracker Pygmy Nuthatch
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Mountain Chickadee
Bohemian Waxwing Clark’s Grebe
Red-necked Grebe Eared Grebe
Heerman’s Gull Gray Catbird
Lapland Longspur

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Larch Mountain is well known to Multnomah County birders as the highest easily accessible point in the county (at 4,000 feet, it is lower than Buck Peak, but that peak is much harder to reach). As such, a number of notably rare birds for the county are found there, often in fall. This year’s irruption of Clark’s Nutcrackers has been as notable as the Pygmy Nuthatches (which continued in NE Portland as of last check, as well as being reported in Oak Grove), and at least one Nutcracker is being reported regularly there. Other unusual county birds being seen from Sherrard Point (the observation point at the top) include Gray-crowned Rosy-finches and Mountain Chickadees. The biggest surprise, however, was a Bohemian Waxwing briefly seen from the top, the first in the county since 2017.

Bohemian Waxwing spotted and photographed by Andrew Aldrich

This time of year, attention also turns from mudflats to open water as many of our water birds start to migrate through, and accordingly, this week has seen reports of Clark’s, Red-necked, and Eared Grebes across the region, as well as a much less common inland visitor, in the form of Heerman’s Gull, which was reported from both Hagg Lake in Washington County, and at Marine Park in Clark County, where the bird was also viewed from the Oregon side of the river. 

A Gray Catbird was once again seen near Willamette Cove, in just about the same spot as one was seen in spring. This seems to fit a pattern last year in the Northern Waterthrush seen in spring in fall at Whitaker Ponds, presumably using it as a stopover spot in each direction of migration. 

And a Lapland Longspur was also seen again this week, this time at Powell Butte. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 12

Pygmy Nuthatch Mountain Chickadee
Dunlin Sabine’s Gull
Lapland Longspur Eared Grebe
Clark’s Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Great Pygmy Nuthatch Invasion of 2023 continued this week, with up to five birds found on the bluff overlooking the Rose City Golf Course in NE Portland (where it is a second Multnomah County record). In a normal year, these birds are exceptionally rare west of the Cascade crest, but this year individuals have been found in multiple locations in the Willamette Valley (including a Columbia County first at a private feeder last week) as well as on the Oregon Coast. The most logical theory would be a poor cone crop of Ponderosa Pines, their preferred food source. Another east side passerine, Mountain Chickadee, was reported from near Larch Mountain.

Pygmy Nuthatch, photo by Doug Greenberg

Much of the rest of this week’s reports in the vein of uncommon fall migrants, including the Dunlin, Sabine’s Gull, and Lapland Longspur found at Broughton Beach (another Longspur was found at Rooster Rock), the Eared Grebe found at Hayden Island, and a Clark’s Grebe in Milwaukie. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 5

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER STILT SANDPIPER
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER American Avocet
BROAD-WINGED HAWK Lapland Longspur
Lewis’s Woodpecker Black-crowned Night-heron
Bullock’s Oriole MacGillivray’s Warbler
Bank Swallow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Shorebird season is going out with a bang this year, with top honors going to the SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER found at Smith & Bybee on Saturday. With large amounts of appropriate habitat, the bird was surprisingly relocated at the boat launch on Tuesday, and then possibly two birds were seen at nearby Force Lake on Wednesday. A statewide rarity, even two of these birds at the same time would be unprecedented inland, so cue up the debate now for whether it was three birds total, two with one moving around, or one bird that moves around a lot, and case of mistaken identity on the other bird. The close similarity to juvenile Pectorals has made answering some of these questions difficult.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, photo by Patrick Kavanagh

A STILT SANDPIPER was another good find in the slough region of North Portland, being seen at Force Lake for a few days, mixed with Dowitchers as they almost always are. Other shorebirds for the period include the continuing AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on Sturgeon Lake in Columbia County, and American Avocets in Columbia, Washington, and Clark counties. A good year for them. 

BROAD-WINGED HAWKS also seem to be having a banner year, with three separate reports from Washington County, one in Clark County, and another possible bird in Multnomah County. 

Other notables this week include a flyover Lapland Longspur also at the Smith & Bybee boat launch; A Lewis’s Woodpecker at Hagg Lake; a Black-crowned Night-heron at Smith & Bybee Interlakes Trail; and some late migrants like Bullock’s Oriole, MacGillivray’s Warbler, and Bank Swallow

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

September 28

Marbled Godwit AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER
American Avocet Black-necked Stilt
Arctic Tern Parasitic Jaeger
Black Swift Eared Grebes
Broad-winged Hawk Golden Eagle

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

September might be the best month of the year for rare birds, but it’s also the busiest time of year for the compiler of the Rare Bird Alert, so apologies for the absence.

Most recently, Sauvie Island has been a hotspot for rare shorebirds, as is typical. A Marbled Godwit was seen from various vantage points of Sturgeon Lake, in both Columbia and Multnomah counties. Much more fleeting was an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER in the same general area, as was an American Avocet, which has also been seen for several weeks at Tualatin River NWR along with their close cousins, Black-necked Stilts.

American Golden Plover, photo by Mick Thompson

Its been a great year for Arctic Terns across the state, including in Multnomah County along the Columbia River east of Troutdale, with the most recent sighting on the 22nd, a month after they were reported from Rooster Rock. One fortunate birder also reported three Parasitic Jaegers flying along the river at 122nd in NE Portland. 

Several birders have good sightings with photos of Black Swifts (at Sandy River Delta and Mt. Tabor), tough anywhere in the state, almost always reported in migration. 

Eared Grebes have started moving into the area, observed in several counties. Broad-winged Hawk and Golden Eagle were reported in Clark County, with another possible Broad-winged observed in Portland. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

September 7

American Avocet Stilt Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew Pectoral Sandpiper
Red Phalarope American Redstart
Red-eyed Vireo Sabine’s Gull
Common Terns Lark Sparrow
 BLUE GROSBEAK CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Shorebird season is upon us! The much-visited American Avocets at Tualatin River NWR continued as of press time, and an individual was also seen at Sturgeon Lake, on both sides of the county line (Columbia and Multnomah). Other standouts include a Stilt Sandpiper at Fernhill Wetlands, a possible Long-billed Curlew at Smith & Bybee, and an unusually large flock of nine Pectoral Sandpipers at Force Lake. Red Phalaropes were reported from Clark County.

The American Redstart at Dalton point was seen again after several days absence at Dalton Point, where a keen birder also picked up a Red-eyed Vireo, and several birders saw a juvenile Sabine’s Gull. Common Terns have been underrepresented so far this year (with the rarer Arctic Tern having more observations) but three were seen at Pixie Park in Columbia County.

Blue Grosbeak, photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

And not to be left out, a Lark Sparrow was a nice find at Clackamette Cove in Clackamas County. 

Statewide notables this week include a BLUE GROSBEAK at Wireless Road in Clatsop County, seen by many, and a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER at Malheur HQ. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

August 30

Black-necked Stilt Snowy Egret
Stilt Sandpiper Black-bellied Plover
Short-billed Dowitcher American Avocet
Whimbrel Clark’s Grebe
American Pipit Golden-crowned Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Smith & Bybee Lakes have a habit of holding rare birds that are darned hard to find elsewhere – case in point being the Black-necked Stilt that showed up over the weekend for the third time in four years at that location, as well as the Snowy Egret that has been annual for the last decade (there is one unconfirmed report so far this year). The reason may be what the large Metro greenspace represents in the county: a flood-prone, tidal marsh that, once ubiquitous along the Willamette and Columbia, has mostly been developed in the area near Portland. The larger remnants of this habitat type on the other side of the Columbia explain why Clark County sees many more of both species, along with other shorebirds (including Stilt Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plover and Short-billed Dowitcher in the last week, all at Shillapoo Lake). 

Black-necked Stilt, photo by Mick Thompson

Washington County is more fortunate in wetlands, and the crown jewel of those, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, was home to a much-viewed American Avocet this week as well as a brief appearance by a flock of Whimbrel

The bird of the week for Clackamas County was a Clark’s Grebe at Timothy Lake, where many of the exciting migrants for the county tend to be found. 

A Red-necked Grebe was photographed at Broughton Beach, and while they have become much more common there over the last few years, this represents one of a very small handful of August records. Other early returners included American Pipit, also at Broughton, and a Golden-crowned Sparrow at Vanport Wetlands. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

August 24

Franklin’s Gull Arctic Tern
American Redstart Black Swift
Ruddy Turnstone

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

We’re back from a much needed vacation with fall migration well under way, and a few very notable birds to report. 

The bird that started a flood of interest in the Gorge this week was a Franklin’s Gull spotted at Rooster Rock on Tuesday. Shortly afterwards, the same birder spotted four small terns that with careful analysis were revealed to be Arctic Terns (which are quite similar to the more expected Common Tern). This is the first known record in over a decade in Multnomah County, where there are only a handful of records overall. The next morning, a birder searching for the terns found not one but two American Redstarts at the boat launch for Dalton Point – not too far from the Sandy River Delta where the bird has been rumored to breed in small numbers, but never confirmed. 

Arctic Tern, photo by Tony/flickr

Other standouts include a report of Black Swifts at Fernhill Wetlands, and a Ruddy Turnstone at Shilapoo Lake in Clark County, which one again seems to be leading the Portland area for notable shorebirds. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

July 29

Stilt Sandpiper Short-billed Dowitcher
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD Common Loon
Nashville Warbler Canyon Wren

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Another slow week in the Portland area, as expected for the time of year, with shorebird migration just getting underway. Speaking of shorebirds, the most intriguing report of the week was of a Stilt Sandpiper at 158th marsh (the newest hotspot for shorebirds in the Portland area), which was not photographed or refound. In Washington County, a Short-billed Dowitcher was reported from Tualatin River NWR. 

In Clackamas County, a BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD was reported with a very good description, but without photos. Another intriguing report was of a heard-only Common Loon (rare in inland Oregon in Summer) at Timothy Lake. One was notably photographed nearby in Wasco County on the same day.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird, photo by Mick Thompson

A Nashville Warbler was reported at Wahclella Falls this week along with a Canyon Wren. Nashvilles are common breeders on the dryside of the mountains, but uncommon west of the Cascades in breeding season, but much of the same could be said about Canyon Wrens, so maybe they’ve followed them into a small patch of suitable habitat.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

July 20

Black-billed Magpie Black Swift

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

July is often noted as the “slowest” time of year for birding. There are plenty of birds around, including lots of newly hatched birds, but the general vibe is of birds staying indiscreet to avoid getting eaten, and they’re less active during the heat of the day. 

So, accordingly, there’s little to report on this time of year! But there were a few notable observations that came in. A Black-billed Magpie was reported from near Latourell Falls, and a Black Swift was reported from Powell Butte. Unfortunately neither was photographed or refound as of press time. 

And of course shorebirds are starting to show up on their southbound migration, with sightings of expected species like Western and Least Sandpipers, and scattered reports of less common species like Semipalmated Sandpipers. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Black-billed Magpie, photo by Becky Matsubara

June 22

Gray Catbird Common Goldeneye
Tundra Swan Mountain Quail
Canyon Wren

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The headline of the week was a Gray Catbird found singing along the railroad tracks near the Willamette River by University of Portland. The bird represents a possible first record for Multnomah County, and was seen by many observers on Friday and Saturday, with no detections since then. 

The Common Goldeneye at Oaks Bottom continued into the week, setting a record for latest spring detection of the species in the entire Portland area. 

Other notables include the continuing Tundra Swan at Fernhill, and uncommon breeders detected around the region including Mountain Quail at Vedanta (Multnomah), and Canyon Wren in the Gorge (Multnomah). 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Common Goldeneye, photo by Mick Thompson

June 15

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK Eastern Kingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A quiet week across most of the region. The ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK spotted at Tabor last week was eventually refound at a feeder nearby, where dozens of birders were able to see it. A pair of Rose-breasted was reported from a feeder in Tigard on Wednesday. 

An Eastern Kingbird was photographed at Tualatin River NWR, where one was seen in May as well, prompting the question of if it’s the same bird (which seems unlikely, in a place visited by that many birders) or another bird passing through (which would be surprising given the level of rarity of the species in Washington County). 

Eastern Kingbird, photo by Mark Moschell

A number of rare birds have been reported based on Merlin audio IDs, so a gentle public service announcement – in most cases, a rare bird should be confirmed by a human in some way, whether its an experienced birder listening to the recording, or, even better, a birder getting a visual of the bird. While Merlin is an incredible, ground-breaking tool, it still often makes mistakes, and eBird reviewers across the country have reported a surge in Rare Bird Alerts that provide no evidence of the bird beyond Merlin’s suggestion. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

June 8

INDIGO BUNTING ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK
BLACK TERN Rock Wren
Black-backed Woodpecker

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

May is when the majority of migrating birds move through our region in spring migration, but for reasons that aren’t fully understood, early June is often when “megas,” (very rare birds) are detected. And this week we had a few very notable sightings. 

On Wednesday, an INDIGO BUNTING was reported from Powell Butte, while on Thursday morning, a report of a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK came in from Mt. Tabor. Neither bird had been refound as of press time. 

The other most notable sighting of the week was a BLACK TERN reported from Vancouver Lowlands, the same general area where one was reported in mid-May.

Indigo Bunting, photo by Kelly Colgan Azar

Larch Mountain is a popular place to look for rare birds in Multnomah County, and recent visits have turned up both Rock Wren and Black-backed Woodpecker, which has been breeding nearby seemingly ever since the Eagle Creek fire. The road is currently open, but the rumor is that it will soon be closed for construction for the rest of the season. 

Other rare bird reports this week are mostly of late winter migrants, including Fox Sparrow, Common Goldeneye, and Tundra Swan. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

June 1

Eastern Kingbird Common Nighthawk
Black Tern Wilson’s Phalarope
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK Mountain Quail

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A pretty slow week overall, considering it was the last week of May, with most “rare” birds reported this week representing slightly out-of-season wintering birds (like Greater White-fronted Goose, both swans, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and so on). An Eastern Kingbird at Boardman Wetlands was probably the top-line bird. A Common Nighthawk, one of our latest migrants, was found on Pleasant Valley Road in Washington County. 

The Black Tern and Wilson’s Phalarope continued into the week at Shillapoo, and a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at a private feeder in Washington County continued as well. Mountain Quail continue to be reported from Vedanta in far Northwestern Multnomah County. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, photo by Aaron Maizlish

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

May 25

Black Tern American Golden-Plover
Wilson’s Phalarope STILT SANDPIPER
Forster’s Tern Clark’s Grebe
Eastern Kingbird Rock Wren
Black Swifts ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Clark County, and specifically Shillapoo Lake west of Vancouver, had a strong case of Patagonia Picnic Table effect this week. It all started with a Black Tern flying over the lake last Thursday. Visiting birders then found American Golden-PloverWilson’s Phalarope, and a very rare spring STILT SANDPIPER for a pretty fantastic four. 

Washington Coutny also got in on the tern action with a Forster’s Tern reported from Fernhill Wetlands where it joined the continuing Clark’s Grebe. An Eastern Kingbird was seen was at Tualatin River NWR, but appeared to be a one-day wonder.

In Portland, a Rock Wren photographed at Mt. Tabor also broke some hearts by never being refound despite the searching of many local birders.  Black Swifts were similarly flighty, but were reported from several locations across the region. 

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK have been reported from multiple private feeders (as usual) this week, in Clackamas and Washington counties. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Rock Wren at Mt. Tabor, photo by Derek MacDicke

May 18

Lewis’s Woodpecker Gray Flycatcher
Lark Sparrow Ash-throated Flycatcher
Clark’s Grebe Dusky Flycatcher

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The prevailing wisdom about bird migration this year in the PNW is that persistent cold temps and precip kept birds south until later than usual, and now those birds, faced with warm weather and favorable winds, are skipping right over top of us instead of stopping in. Which is to say that migration this year has seemed slow overall, even as Cornell’s BirdCast modeling tells us that they are indeed at least coming through Oregon airspace.

Of course, interesting birds are still coming through. Lewis’s Woodpeckers have been the surprise of the week, with birds showing up at Mt. Tabor, Broadmoor, and Powell Butte. This year has seen mass movement of the species because of the near total failure of acorn crops in most of Washington and Oregon, leading to an irruption of them in parts of California. Possibly related, last fall saw an unusual number of reports for a normally rare species in the area.

Gray Flycatcher, photo by Julio Mulero

A Gray Flycatcher was reported at Powell Butte. A growing number of birders capable of ID’ing the cryptic empid are no doubt a source of increased reports over the last few years. 

The previously reported Lark Sparrow and Ash-throated Flycatcher were seen until the 14th, and 13th, respectively. 

A Clark’s Grebe at Fernhill was a popular bird in Washington County this week, as was the Dusky Flycatcher at Chehalem Ridge. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

May 11

Chestnut-sided Warbler Long-billed Curlew
Ash-throated Flycatcher Calliope Hummingbird
Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Scattered thunderstorms interspersed with beautiful sunny days brought a bit of a lull to Spring migration around Portland this week, but birders were still treated to some exciting rarities.

The shocking find of the week was a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER on Mt. Tabor on Wednesday morning. In typical rare-warbler fashion, this bird was only seen for a few minutes by two keen-eyed observers, leaving the rest of us hopelessly trying to refind this first county record of a bird not normally seen West of Colorado.

Chestnut-sided Warbler, photo by Víctor Manuel Espinosa

While nothing could beat “the warbler,” observers did turn up some other noteworthy birds this week, including a heard-only Long-billed Curlew at Raccoon Point on Sauvie Island, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher seen for one afternoon at Company Lake. 

Continuing birds this week included a male Calliope Hummingbird at Rocky Butte Park, and a very late-staying Harris’s Sparrow in Clackamas County.

This week’s report was done by Ezra Cohen. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

May 4

Calliope Hummingbird Gray Flycatcher
Lewis’s Woodpecker Black-backed Woodpecker
Lark Sparrow Brewer’s Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Ongoing mild weather combined with some breezy days made this past week a standout, as neotropical migrants flooded through the region. Particularly notable were the numbers of normally more Central and Eastern Oregon migrants that strayed West of the Cascades and graced Portland birders with some fun local rarities.

A Calliope Hummingbird on Rocky Butte Park was the latest of these tiny hummingbirds to appear in the Portland area during a banner year for this species. A Lewis’s Woodpecker on Sauvie Island and a Gray Flycatcher at the Sandy River Delta represented two rare but regular migrants West of the Cascades.

Lewis's Woodpecker, photo by Mick Thompson

However, Rooster Rock SP took the cake this week for rarities. Diligent coverage rewarded local birders with an exceptional back-to-back of Brewer’s Sparrow and Lark Sparrow along with a slew of regular migrants moving through the Gorge.

Continuing birds this week included Black-backed Woodpeckers in the Gorge, and a Harris’s Sparrow in Clackamas County.

This week’s report was done by Ezra Cohen. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

April 27

Black-necked Stilt Gray Flycatcher
Calliope Hummingbird Mountain Quail
Mountain Bluebird Loggerhead Shrike
Acorn Woodpecker Brandt’s Cormorant
Harlequin Duck Ross’s Goose
Harris’s Sparrow

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The winter weather has mercifully ended, and with the warmer spring temps, northbound bird migration has exploded over the last few days, filling parks and neighborhoods with the expected migrant warblers and flycatchers. 

Standout migrants this week include the Black-necked Stilt found in Scappoose, and a Gray Flycatcher found at a private farm in Molalla. Hot on the heels of the Mt. Tabor Calliope Hummingbird that remained into the week, another was spotted at Fernhill Wetlands on the 23rd.

Black-necked Stilt, photo by Mick Thompson

Mountain Quail were reported at Vedanta Retreat (where Mountain Bluebirds were also seen) in NW Multnomah County as they normally are this time of year, but more intriguing records came from SW Portland, with one in a backyard in Hillsdale, and another near Lewis & Clark College. Both were photographed, and represent very rare records for urban Portland. 

A Loggerhead Shrike at Sandy River Delta is just the latest in a banner year for the otherwise hard-to-find species in the region. Other continuing rarirites this week include Acorn Woodpeckers in NE Portland, Brandt’s Cormorant at Kelly Point Park, Harlequin Ducks at Hagg Lake, Ross’s Geese at Fernhill Wetlands, and a Harris’s Sparrow in Clackamas County.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

April 20

Calliope Hummingbird Mountain Bluebird
Red-naped Sapsucker Brewer’s Sparrow
Golden Eagle Ross’s Goose
Brant Harris’s Sparrow
Gray Catbird Western Tanager
Say’s Phoebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The well-below-average temps and persistent rainfall seem to have kept spring at bay, and, in an enduring mystery of just how they know, has kept spring migration delayed as well. But the trickle seems to have finally started, with warblers (Nashville, Hermit, and Black-throated Gray), flycatchers (Hammond’s, Dusky, and Gray), and Vireos (Cassin’s) finally being noted across the valley and northern Oregon. 

The most welcome migrant of the week was likely the Calliope Hummingbird found on Mt. Tabor during a Portland Bird Alliance of Oregon Spring Birdsong Walk there on Wednesday, where it remained into Thursday, being seen by many. Another was seen at a feeder outside of Woodburn. On Powell Butte, the Mountain Bluebird show continued into the week, with nearly 20 birds observed over the weekend. A Red-naped Sapsucker at Powell Butte was much less cooperative, being seen for only two hours, which seems to be the standard for these migratory woodpeckers. A Brewer’s Sparrow was reported at press time, but has not been refound or confirmed.

Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird, photo by Scott Carpenter.

There was also a Golden Eagle reported this week in Portland, continuing the trend of last week (when the RBA was busy at the Harney County Migratory Bird Fest) when birds were reported flying over Washington County, and over the Bird Alliance of Oregon Bird Sanctuary by yours truly. 

There are a number of lingering northern breeders in the area. A Ross’s Goose was a very nice Clackamas County bird near Canby, and a Brant was reported near Warren in Columbia County. 

And many of the long-staying rarities have continued into the week, including multiple Harris’s Sparrows, the Washington County Gray Catbird, Western Tanager, and Say’s Phoebe.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

April 5

Bonaparte’s Gull Loggerhead Shrike
Whimbrel Gray Catbird
Harris’s Sparrow Mountain Bluebird
Say’s Phoebe Acorn Woodpecker

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A huge run of Eulachon Smelt in the Columbia and Sandy Rivers has brought a larger than expected number of gulls through the area, including some slightly-out-of-season Herring and Iceland Gulls, a few Bonaparte’s Gulls, and the spectacle of dozens or hundreds of California Sea Lions, which are more often seen singly in the Portland area.

A Mountain Bluebird standing on the ground.
Mountain Bluebird, photo by Scott Carpenter

Most of the rare birds in the area this week were continuing birds from last week and before (including the Troutdale Loggerhead Shrike), but a Whimbrel in the Vancouver Lowlands was a nice harbinger of spring migration, as perhaps the first migrant shorebird of the season. A Northern Shrike at Wapato Lake NWR in Washington County, meanwhile, served as another reminder of winter lasting a little longer than most of us would prefer this year. 

Continuing birds this week included the Washington County Gray Catbird, the Clackamas County Harris’s Sparrow, and multiple Mountain Bluebirds, Say’s Phoebes, Acorn Woodpeckers across the region.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

March 30

Loggerhead Shrike Harlequin Duck
Gray Catbird Harris’s Sparrow
Mountain Bluebird Say’s Phoebe
Acorn Woodpecker Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The most well-loved rarity of the week has no doubt been the Loggerhead Shrike that was originally detected on Sundial Road near Company Lake on the 23rd, and continues as of press time. While this is a somewhat traditional location for the species (with the vast majority of Multnomah County records found here and at the nearby Sandy River Delta), the notable thing about this bird has been its long stay and reliable presence (as this species in the past has been known as more of a one-day wonder), allowing many birders to see it. Is this because the bird was found near the beginning of its residence, and because of the new technologies allowing birders to rapidly learn of its location? Or did the bird decide to stay a little longer because of cold weather, preventing it from continuing North? We’ll never know, and all we can do is enjoy a rare sighting in the county and ponder.

A photo of a Loggerhead Shrike perched on a slender branch.
Loggerhead Shrike, photo by Mick Thompson

Another favorite this week was the pair of Harlequin Ducks found at Hagg Lake. These birds breed in fast mountain streams, and winter at the coast, and are only found in other locations in migration, making it a very rare bird in a county that has neither high mountains nor coast. 

Continuing birds this week included the Washington County Gray Catbird, the Clackamas County Harris’s Sparrow, and multiple Mountain Bluebirds, Say’s Phoebes, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Western Tanagers across the region. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

March 9

SLATY-BACKED GULL Gray Catbird
Chipping Sparrow Mountain Bluebird
Black-crowned Night-Heron Acorn Woodpecker
American White Pelican

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A SLATY-BACKED GULL at Hayden Island was the top-line bird this week, with a crisp breeding adult found loafing on a roof. Unfortunately the bird was not refound, and it is not clear if it was the same bird being seen recently in Clark County. 

The Gray Catbird in Washington County continues to be seen in West Haven, but, being a Catbird, continues to be skulky and difficult to find. 

Chipping Sparrows seem to be having an early spring, with multiple birds seen in Multnomah, Washington, and Columbia Counties.

Slaty-backed Gull

Mountain Bluebirds have not yet made their annual appearance in Portland (where, at Powell Butte, they are generally scheduled for the Ides of March), but did show up at Steigerwald, where a Black-crowned Night-Heron added to a nice week at the refuge. 

And, as has been the case for many weeks, Acorn Woodpeckers and American White Pelicans continue at various locations. If this keeps up, they may end up losing their rare status…

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

March 2

Gray Catbird Western Tanager
American Tree Sparrow Yellow-headed Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird Townsend’s Solitaire
Harris’s Sparrow Barn Swallow
American White Pelican Osprey

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Mostly the same cast of characters this week. The hard-to-find Gray Catbird found a number of weeks ago in Washington County resurfaced in the same Cedar Mill neighborhood, reportedly coming to a feeder for at least a week. A Western Tanager at Recuerdo Park in Washington County was the latest in a remarkable winter for the species in the area. 

The American Tree Sparrow on Rentenaar Road continues, as do the Yellow-headed and Tricolored Blackbirds at Rivergate. Still lots of Townsend’s Solitaires in the area, as well as a number of long-staying Harris’s Sparrows. 

Barn Swallows, American White Pelicans, and Osprey all continue to be reported across the region.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Gray Catbird, photo by Doug Greenberg

February 23

Say’s Phoebe Violet-green Swallow
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Chipping Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow Western Tanager
American Tree Sparrow Acorn Woodpecker
Brandt’s Cormorant

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Rare Bird Report has been on a little bit of a winter break for the last few weeks, but it seems like the rare birds have been as well. Most of the birds reported this week are continuing birds and very early migrants (which might have led us to believe Spring was imminent, had it not been for the record-setting double digit snowfall). 

A Say’s Phoebe at Whitaker Ponds has been the fan favorite hint of Spring so far, with the bird continuing for many days between the ponds. While this is not typical habitat for the species, it is likely the only place nearby with enough flying insects to sustain the unfashionably early migrant.

Say's Phoebe, photo by Tara Lemezis

Violet-green Swallows have joined Barn and Tree Swallows in the ranks of early observations, and a Dusky Flycatcher was reported at Irving Park (although, being silent, and very early, the ID of this Empid is fraught). A Pacific-slope Flycatcher in Noble Woods Park and a Chipping Sparrow at East Butte Heritage Park (both in Washington County) were also extra-early. 

Continuing this week are numerous Harris’s Sparrows (with two in Multnomah and one in Clackamas), a Western Tanager visiting a feeder in Clackamas County, the Rentenaar Road American Tree Sparrow in Columbia County, Acorn Woodpeckers all over the place, and the amazing Brandt’s Cormorant at Kelley Point Park, now into its eight week of eschewing salt water. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

February 2

HARRIS’S SPARROW SUMMER TANAGER
Brandt’s Cormorant Rusty Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Northern Mockingbird American Tree Sparrow
Eared Grebe Red-necked Grebe
Townsend’s Solitaire Barn Swallow
Acorn Woodpecker Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A HARRIS’S SPARROW was found coming to a feeder near Woodburn, where it represents one of a very small number of Clackamas County records. The individual in North Portland also continued into its 11th week. Many thanks to the homeowner there for providing good habitat, good food, and welcome updates to the birding community. 

Most of our other “megas” this winter have also continued into the week, including the SE Portland SUMMER TANAGER, the Kelly Point Park Brandt’s Cormorants, Rusty, Tricolored, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the Purina Plant near Kelly Point, the Northern Mockingbird on Pleasant Valley Road, and an American Tree Sparrow at Vancouver Lowlands that is presumably the same bird that has been seen recently at Shilappo Lake a few miles away. Or… is it?

Harris's Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow, photo by Scott Carpenter

Hagg Lake in western Washington County continues to provide good county birds, with both Eared and Red-necked Grebes this week. 

And Townsend’s Solitaires, Barn Swallows, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Western Tanagers all continue to be reported around the region.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

January 26

Gray Catbird Hermit Warbler
Western Tanager SUMMER TANAGER
Rusty Blackbird Tricolored Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird Northern Mockingbird
Harris’s Sparrow American Tree Sparrow
Townsend’s Solitaire

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

It’s been another week of birders mostly enjoying the lingering “megas” (ie very rare birds) rather than finding new rarities. The top find was a Gray Catbird in a neighborhood near Cedar Mill, found by a very astute birder out for a jog. The bird has been stubbornly difficult to relocate (as is not surprising for such a skulky species), but has been seen by at least a few intrepid chasers. It appears to be a first county for Washington County. 

A Hermit Warbler in a backyard in North Portland was a very unusual winter record for the region. Nearby, a Western Tanager was found at the Children’s Arboretum, and while we’ve lost track of the number of individual birds in the region this winter, we feel comfortable with the assertion that it is an unprecedented winter for the species, and are reminded that this past spring was broadly noted as a banner year for the (usually) neotropical migrant.

Gray Catbird, photo by Doug Greenberg

Other birds of note this week include the continuing SUMMER TANAGER coming to feeders in inner SE Portland; the continuing Rusty, Tricolored, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the Purina Plant near Kelly Point; the continuing Northern Mockingbird on Pleasant Valley Road; Harris’s Sparrows in both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties; and an American Tree Sparrow at Shillapoo Lake in Vancouver. Townsend’s Solitaires also continue to be reported around the region. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

January 19

SUMMER TANAGER Rusty Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brandt’s Cormorant Harris’s Sparrow
Tufted Duck Red Phalarope
Long-tailed Duck Red-breasted Merganser
Osprey NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Acorn Woodpecker Townsend’s Solitaire
FIELD SPARROW

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

It’s almost entirely last week’s news this week, but with the incredible high quality of rarities, who can complain? The SE Portland Summer Tanager, North Portland Rusty Blackbird (and accompanying Tricolored and Yellow-headed Blackbirds) and nearby Brandt’s Cormorant, as well as the Arbor Lodge Harris’s Sparrow and Columbia River Tufted Duck all continue, in what is the most exceptional lineup of Multnomah County rarities in recent memory.

In Washington County, birders visiting Hagg Lake in search of the continuing Red Phalaropes were treated to a one-day wonder Long-tailed Duck. The other new bird for the week was lone Red-breasted Merganser spotted near the Sandy River Delta. In Columbia County, an Osprey was very late – or very early.

Field Sparrow spotted at the Monmouth Sewage Ponds. Photo by Nolan Clements.

Other continuing birds include the Pleasant Valley Road NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD; multiple multiple Acorn Woodpeckers; and multiple Townsend’s Solitaires

And finally, a little further afield, a FIELD SPARROW was found at the Monmouth Sewage Ponds, a first record for Oregon. And, as it happens, the second state first in the last year to be found at a sewage pond (after the Cave Swallow that was found at Philomath Sewage Ponds).

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

January 12

SUMMER TANAGER RUSTY BLACKBIRD
Yellow-headed Blackbird Red Phalarope
Brandt’s Cormorant TUFTED DUCK
Harris’s Sparrow NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Say’s Phoebe Acorn Woodpecker
Townsend’s Solitaires Eared Grebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The new year is off to a hot start! After last week’s bounty of impressive rarities, this week started off with a SUMMER TANAGER found visiting a second story apartment ledge feeder in SE Portland, reported by the homeowner, much to the delight of the 100 or so birders that have gone to see the very out of place bird, one of only a handful of records for the region. Not to be outdone, a RUSTY BLACKBIRD was found mixed in with the blackbird flock at the Purina plant near Kelly Point Park, a flock we have mentioned in this space several times over the last few years, as the shear number of birds in the flock often seems to hide a rarity or two. At least two Yellow-headed Blackbirds were also found in the same flock.

Summer Tanager, photo by Doug Greenberg

Western Oregon has been awash in Red Phalaropes this week, and accordingly, up to 5 wer found at Hagg Lake in Washington Coutny, where a Long-tailed Duck made for a very nice combo. 

Another Long-tailed was reported from Kelly Point Park, where Brandt’s Cormorants have continued to loaf ever since their discovery on NYE, marking what could be the longest known incidence of inland Brandt’s Cormorants. 

Other continuing birds inlcude the TUFTED DUCK that seems to bounce between 148th and Sea Scout Base on the Columbia River; the North Portland Harris’s Sparrow; the Pleasant Valley Road NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD; multiple Washington County Say’s Phoebes; multiple Acorn Woodpeckers; and multiple Townsend’s Solitaires

And an Eared Grebe was found in Clackamas County at Brown’s Ferry. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@portlandaudubon.org, and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

January 5

Cassin’s Vireo Brandt’s Cormorant
Western Tanager American White Pelican
Harris’s Sparrow Acorn Woodpecker
Townsend’s Solitaire Least Sandpiper
Trumpeter Swan TUFTED DUCK
Yellow-headed Blackbird Rusty Blackbird
Red Phalarope Say’s Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird Lesser Black-backed Gull
Tricolored Blackbird Lapland Longspur

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Portland CBC was held on December 31, and, as expected, the nearly 300 counters across the city turned up a number of interesting finds. A Cassin’s Vireo at Alberta Park was the bird that won its observer the coveted Eagle Eye award, as this species is exceptionally rare in winter anywhere in Oregon. The other major excitement of the day was when a birder found a Brandt’s Cormorant near Broughton Beach, and further searching along the river seemed to indicate there were up to four individuals between the I5 bridge and the I205 bridge. This is only the second record for the county, for a species that is notorious for almost never straying away from the coast (and indeed, has only been documented doing so five times previously, including the prior Portland record).

Brandt's Cormorant, photo by Emily Chen.

Also surprising were two different Western Tanagers, including the continuing bird at Oaks Bottom, and a new find in St. John’s. For perspective, this bird was seen on 2 out of the first 94 counts, and now has been tallied three times in the last three counts. A similar tale of a changing trendline was evidenced in adding American White Pelicans to the count – an expected addition as these birds have recently started over-wintering on Sauvie’s Island.

Also welcome additions to the count, the Harris’s Sparrow continues to visit the Arbor Lodge neighborhood, and Acorn Woodpeckers and Townsend’s Solitaires were reported at multiple locations. Least Sandpipers and Trumpeter Swans in NE Portland rounded out a nice list of “off-list” birds, with Trumpeters as a long overdue addition to the count list.

In non-count news, a female TUFTED DUCK has been spotted several times amidst a large raft of Scaup on the Columbia River (and, sadly, just outside the count circle). Similarly, a Yellow-headed Blackbird was found just outside the circle at the Purina plant near Kelly Point Park. And speaking of blackbirds, two Rusty Blackbirds were found at Fernhill Wetlands and Beal Wetlands, continuing the trend of this species being nearly annual in Washington County while nearly totally absent from the other Portland counties. 

Staying in Washington County, Hagg Lake hosted two Red Phalaropes, while a Say’s Phoebe were found in two different western Washington County locales, and the Northern Mockingbird on Pleasant Valley Road was added to a few birders’ year lists.

Tufted Duck

In Clackamas County, a Lesser Black-backed Gull continued into the week at Dahl Park, after having been found the week prior, where it was a county first record. Another exceptional bird for the county, a Tricolored Blackbird, was reported at a farm near Mollalla. 

Meanwhile, a Lapland Longspur was found near Scappoose, seemingly over-wintering with a flock of Savannah Sparrows.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Rare Bird Alerts for 2022

December 22

Brant Lesser Yellowlegs
Bewick’s Tundra Swan Sora
Harris’s Sparrow Acorn Woodpecker
Townsend’s Solitaire Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Sauvie Island CBC was held on Monday, giving local birders a rare chance to access sections of the refuge that are typically off-limits to non-hunters in winter, and the efforts rewarded with a single Brant, as well as a Lesser Yellowlegs, which, while rare in winter, seem to have an affinity for Columbia County and nearby Clark County, which together account for nearly all regional winter records. Birders on the other side of the river also found a Bewick’s Tundra Swan, a threatened Eurasian subspecies of Tundra Swan formally considered a separate species, and quite rare in the lower 48. 

A Sora was photographed on the Fairview-Gresham trail for the third winter in a row. And the Harris’s Sparrow continues to visit two different yards in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood. 

 Acorn Woodpeckers continue to be reported from across the region. Other continuing birds include Townsend’s Solitaires at several locations, and the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Sora, photo by Becky Matsubara

December 15

Black-throated Gray Warbler Western Tanager
Common Yellowthroat Say’s Phoebe
Acorn Woodpecker Townsend’s Solitaire
Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A quiet week overall in the Portland area. Black-throated Gray Warbler and Western Tanager were two very out-of-season birds reported from Oaks Bottom, and a Common Yellowthroat was reported from the Columbia Slough. These birds seem to be more and more common in winter. A Say’s Phoebe was reported near Verboort in Washington County, where they also seem to increasingly be an annual bird in winter.

Acorn Woodpeckers continue to be reported from across the region. Other continuing birds include Townsend’s Solitaires at several locations, and the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Black-throated Gray Warbler, photo by Audrey Addison

December 8

Brown Pelican Red-breasted Merganser
Eared Grebe Acorn Woodpecker
Harris’s Sparrow Townsend’s Solitaire
Northern Mockingbird

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A Brown Pelican was the star of the week, first showing up on theWillamette in West Linn (where it was only a second county record, the first coming earlier last year), and then on the Hawthorne Bridge the next day, where it loafed with gulls for several hours, to the delight of many birders, as Brown Pelicans this far inland often seem to be flybys. 

The Columbia river also hosted a few rare birds this week, including a Red-breasted Merganser along Marine Drive and an Eared Grebe at Hayden Island.

Pacific Brown Pelican, photo by Mick Thompson

Acorn Woodpeckers were seen on Sauvie Island and in Multnomah Village this week. Other continuing birds include a Harris’s Sparrow at a private feeder in North Portland, as well as the return of the Rentenaar Road bid; Townsend’s Solitaires seemingly everywhere; and the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

December 1

Burrowing Owl Harris’s Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow Chipping Sparrow
Barn Swallow Townsend’s Solitaires
Northern Mockingbird Black-legged Kittiwake

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The biggest surprise of the week was a Burrowing Owl that showed up at a loading dock in Clackamas County, and seemed to hang out for at least a week. 

There were some nice sparrow surprises as well, including a Harris’s Sparrow at a private feeder in North Portland, an American Tree Sparrow at “the Dog Bowl,” a park in the Overlook neighborhood, and a very late Chipping Sparrow, which, while less rare, are generally only seen spring and fall migration. 

Burrowing Owl, photo by Tara Lemezis

A single Barn Swallow was another late surprise on Sauvie Island. Townsend’s Solitaires continue across the region, with one at Koll Center, and another at Wapato Access, while the Pleasant Valley Road Northern Mockingbird is also still being seen.

Incredibly, the Black-legged Kittiwake continued into the week. These birds are almost always one day wonders inland – this bird remained at the Bonneville Dam outflow for over two weeks, obviously finding fish that enticed it to stick around.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

 


 

November 24

Black-legged Kittiwake Townsend’s Solitaire
Sandhill Cranes White-winged Scoter
Northern Mockingbird Acorn Woodpecker

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

A rather mundane week after last week’s double-header at Bonneville Dam, although the Black-legged Kittiwake did last until the 18th before apparently departing. Townsend’s Solitaires continue to be seen around the region, including one at Koll Center Wetlands in Washington County, and another at Harbor View Park in Multnomah County. 

While Sandhill Cranes are a common sight this time of year in the Columbia River valley, they are much less common in Washington County, where one or two have been hanging around Jackson Bottom Wetlands this week. A White-winged Scoter was found at the mouth of the Sandy River. 

Black-legged Kittiwake, photo by Aaron Maizlish

Everyone’s favorite Northern Mockingbird continues along Pleasant Valley Road near TRNWR, and Acorn Woodpeckers continue to pop up all over the place, including a bird this week at Laurelhurst Park,

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

November 17

Black-legged Kittiwake Snow Bunting
Brant Long-tailed Duck
White-winged Scoter Pacific Loon
Red-breasted Merganser

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

The Patagonia Picnic Table was in full effect this week, as a Black-legged Kittiwake was reported at Bonneville Dam on Friday, and, on Monday, a birder searching for that bird found a Snow Bunting in the parking lot. The Kittiwake, a juvenile, continues as of press time, while the Snow Bunting was not refound on subsequent days. Another Snow Bunting was seen the day before at Rooster Rock, and was also a one day wonder. 

A Brant was a nice find at Fernhill Wetlands, where the Long-tailed Duck continued into the week, even as questions about its health arose, amid the many cacklers who have sadly perished from what is presumed to be Aspergillosis. The Columbia River has continued to host uncommon water birds including White-winged Scoter, Pacific Loon, and Red-breasted Merganser.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

Snow Bunting spotted 11/11/22 in Bonneville Dam parking lot, photo by Brodie Cass Talbott

November 10

Heerman’s Gull Red-throated Loon
Long-tailed Duck Lesser Black-backed Gull
Townsend’s Solitaire Red-breasted Merganser
White-winged Scoter Acorn Woodpecker
Cliff Swallow Barn Swallow
Osprey Turkey Vulture
Black-throated Gray Warbler American White Pelicans

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Hagg Lake continues to bring in interesting birds, including a Heerman’s Gull that was a one-day-wonder (as they usually are inland) and Red-throated Loon. A Long-tailed Duck at Fernhill Wetlands rounded out a nice week for Washington County. 

A Lesser Black-backed Gull was found on the south waterfront of the WIllamette this week, and by its plumage, was determined to be a different individual than the one seen downstream a few weeks ago. This marks the third sighting of this species in Multnomah County in the last two years, after never having one reported before, and reflects a wider trend of this species increasing occurrence across Oregon.

Long-tailed Duck, photo by Mick Thompson

A Townsend’s Solitaire was a nice find on Hayden Island, but it was mostly leftovers otherwise this week in Multnomah County, where Red-breasted Merganser and White-winged Scoter continue along the Columbia River, and Acorn Woodpeckers continue near 

Some late records this week include Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and American White Pelicans (which, as a side note, were also reported to the Rare Bird Alert this week as UFOs, so, keep an eye out!).

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

November 3

Surf Scoter White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter Common Loon
Pacific Loon Barrow’s Goldeneye
Red-necked Grebe White-winged Scoter
Red-throated Loon Brown Pelican
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD SNOWY EGRET
Cassin’s Finch Barn Swallow
Osprey Turkey Vulture
Black-throated Gray Warbler

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

We may have seven weeks of astronomical Fall to go, but to birds and birders, winter is here. Wintering sea ducks are starting to filter in, with Surf, White-winged, and Black Scoter all being reported this week from the Columbia River (mostly between Hayden Island and Broughton Beach) as well as Common and Pacific Loons, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Red-necked Grebe, which was also found up at Timothy Lake this week, along with a White-winged Scoter. A Red-throated Loon was reported from Hagg Lake in Washington County, where they are generally much harder to find than in neighboring counties. 

A Brown Pelican was reported flying down the Columbia in East Portland, continuing a string of recent sightings of this typically very-hard-to-find-inland species. On the same day, a few folks saw it from Vancouver as well.

Snowy Egret, photo by Tara Lemezis

The NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD continues along Pleasant Valley Road near TRNWR, as did the SNOWY EGRET, being reported at both Force Lake and Smith & Bybee, although it has not been seen now for several days. Cassin’s Finch continue at Larch Mountain, but birders should be aware the road has a fair amount of snow on it now, and is not maintained. 

Some late records this week include Barn Swallow, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, and Black-throated gray Warbler.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 27

BROWN BOOBY Brown Pelican
Red-breasted Merganser White-winged Scoter
Long-tailed Duck Pacific Loon
Snowy Egret Brant
Black-necked Stilt Acorn Woodpecker
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD Say’s Phoebe

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

One of Harry Nehls’ most prescient catchphrases was something along the lines of “There’s rare birds out there, just no one’s findin’ ‘em,” the idea being that rare birds are more a function of people searching for them than them just turning up somewhere. So will the current streak of amazing rarities prove to be a blip, or a sign of the surge in birding that Portland, along with much of the country, is experiencing? 

Time will tell, but this week’s data point was the amazing discovery of a BROWN BOOBY that seemed to have made a temporary home out of the anchor chain from a tanker on the Columbia River, spotted by a birder at Kelly Point Park. This was a Multnomah County first record, as well as Oregon’s most inland record for this ocean-going species more typically found offshore of Southern California and Baja. Several dozen birders were able to see the bird, albeit at a great distance, before the ship pulled anchor the next day and moved back downriver towards the ocean, and the bird was not refound.

Brown Booby spotted in Portland on October 24, 2022 by Seymore Gulls @portlandbirder

Somewhat eclipsed by the Booby, several Brown Pelicans have been reported this fall, including one at Vanport, and another at Hagg Lake. Typical of the species, neither was refound. Fall migration is bringing more expected ocean-going birds through the area as well, with reports this week of Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, White-winged Scoter, and Pacific Loon along the Columbia RIver. A Snowy Egret was a bit less expected at Force Lake, a rare opportunity to see this bird from the car in Portland, and a Brant was found at Scappoose Bottoms. 

Black-necked Stilts are starting to make folks wonder if they’re going to overwinter, still being seen at SMith & Bybee, as well as TRNWR. Acorn Woodpeckers continue their big fall, with multiple birds recorded in the area. And everyone’s favorite NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD has returned for its fourth winter along Pleasant Valley Road near TRNWR. A Say’s Phoebe was seen nearby.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 20

Lesser Black-backed Gull Heerman’s Gull
Northern Shrike Golden Eagle
Northern Goshawk Cassin’s Finch
Mountain Chickadee Red-throated Loon
Red-necked Grebe Swamp Sparrow
Black Scoter Surf Scoter
Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet Acorn Woodpeckers
Western Tanagers

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Migration has slowed, but continues to bring in some late season migrants and wintering birds, including everyone’s favorite group of birds: Gulls! A Lesser Black-backed Gull found at Hagg Lake was a county first record. These birds were quite rare in the state until only a few years ago, but seem to be rapidly increasing. Exhibit B of this trend is that two days later, another (or the same?) Lesser Black-backed showed up at Harbor View Park along the Willamette – only the second record for Multnomah County, and at the exact same place as the first record showed up last year, in October. This bird unfortunately didn’t hang around long, but a Heerman’s Gull was found in its place, an exceedingly hard bird to find inland. That bird also didn’t stick around long, but the pattern continued, as a Northern Shrike was found in its stead at the same location. Long known as an honorary raptor, this bird is now apparently also an honorary gull.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, photo by Aaron Maizlish.

Larch Mountain last weekend had a decent movement of birds rare to Multnomah County, including Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Cassin’s Finch, and Mountain Chickadee. Timothy Lake in Clackamas County similarly had a good push, but of a more aquatic variety, with Red-throated Loon and Red-necked Grebe as the headliners. 

Clackamas County also boasted a Swamp Sparrow at Luscher Farms this week. Other winter migrants this week included Black Scoter, also at Hagg Lake,and Surf Scoter around the region. A Black-crowned Night-Heron was reported at Columbia Point, where more expected migrant grebes have also been showing up this week. 

A Black-necked Stilt with accompanying American Avocet were reported from Racoon Point this week, for a nice late duo.  Continuing birds include the Black-necked Stilt at Smith & Bybee and TRNWR; the Acorn Woodpeckers at Whitaker Ponds;  and various Western Tanagers still hanging onto summer.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 13

Northern Waterthrush CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR
TROPICAL KINGBIRD Say’s Phoebe
BROAD-WINGED HAWK Common Poorwill
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Cassin’s Finch
Mountain Chickadee Black-necked Stilt
Acorn Woodpecker Rough-legged Hawk
Rufous Hummingbird Western Tanager

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

Hot on the heels of last week’s Northern Waterthrush, a CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR was found in the short grass on the beach at Rooster Rock, for the first record of the species in the county since 2005. Many observers were able to view the bird, helpfully staying over the weekend, before disappearing as of Monday morning. 

Less cooperative was an apparent TROPICAL KINGBIRD that was photographed at Hayden Island. This would be a first county record, but the bird was photographed on private property, and not refound. On the topic of migrant flycatchers, a Say’s Phoebe was photographed at Wapato Lake, the NWR in western Washington County. 

Chestnut-Collared Longspur, photo by Frank D. Lospalluto

A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen migrating through Clackamas County, seemingly the only one for the region this year. A Common Poorwill was also found outside of Estacada for a late, and rare, encounter. 

Several rare birds for Multnomah County have been found up at Larch Mountain in the last week, including Gray-crowned Rosy-finch, Cassin’s Finch, and Mountain Chickadee.

Black-necked Stilts continue at both TRWNR and Smith & Bybee, where they have remained for almost two weeks. Other long-staying rarities include Acorn Woodpeckers at Whitaker Ponds. 

Early birds this week include a Rough-legged Hawk at the CZ trail, and late birds in the region include Rufous Hummingbird and Western Tanager.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.

October 6

Northern Waterthrush Acorn Woodpecker
Swamp Sparrow Black-necked Stilts
Sabine’s Gull Common Tern
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD Clay-colored Sparrow
Black Swan White-throated Sparrow
Rufous Hummingbird Wilson’s Warbler
Nashville Warbler

Notes on Sightings

Bold: Local rarity | CAPS: Statewide rarity

No doubt about it – the Northern Waterthrush at Whitaker Ponds is a star. First detected on Friday of last week underneath the pedestrian bridge, the bird has remained until press time, with dozens of birders treated to point blank views. Many were also treated to views of an Acorn Woodpecker, which seem to be having quite the year, with individuals being reported across the Portland region, after many years of being a tough bird to find in Multnomah County. And for good measure, a less-obliging Swamp Sparrow was seen in between the ponds, rounding out a very unique trio. 

A pair of Black-necked Stilts have been seen regularly at Smith &Bybee for the last week. Another has been at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Sabine’s Gull and Common Tern have been harder to find this year, with a few of each turning up on the same day at Broughton Beach last week.

Northern Waterthrush spotted at Whitaker Ponds on Friday, September 30, 2022. Photo by Tara Lemezis.

A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was on an island in the Columbia River downstream of Portland for a nice Columbia County find. Rarity reports from Sauvie Island have slowed this week as the hunting exclusions have started, but a Clay-colored Sparrow was found at the end of Rentenaar Road, nearly a year to the day since one was seen there last year. A trio of Black Swans, presumed to be escapees from a farm near Ridgefield, have also been seen on Sturgeon Lake. 

Other migrants of note include a White-throated Sparrow in Clackamas County, and scattered reports of Rufous Hummingbird, Wilson’s Warbler, and Nashville Warbler.

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.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@birdallianceoregon.org and for more information on any of these rarities, including locations and observers, visit ebird.org.