Posted by: atowhee | March 16, 2017


There were signs of spring, emblems of migration, flowers abloom and skies of blue.  And we were birding Sauvie Island.  Who needs nirvana…or drugs…or mere politics?

I saw my first snake of the winter.  Two Snow Geese heading north were trying to hide among the Cackling Geese.  A pair of Song Sparrows were trading courtship signals   on the roadside, wing flutters and bowing to one another. Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Bald Eagles and Great Horned Owls were sitting on nests.  Mosquitoes and bees were in the air.  Plum trees were blooming.  March 21 is irrelevant as nature knows it is spring.

There was a single Great Egret to be seen along NW Reeder Road at the elevated blind.  There was a pair of Snow Geese seen from the Coon Point overlook. There were Bald Eagles in every direction at every location.BE PROUD2g-snakeCRAnE-F3GHO0-NESTTgreg-sauvieAll the swallows we saw were either Tree or Violet-green, the only warblers were Yellow-rumped…and the summer birds were not to be seen–orioles, martins, other warblers, flycatchers.



  1. I am curious if the Pacific Migratory pathway has experienced a significant change in the timing of migrations, such as the Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles, etc. I attended the 2017 Winter Wings Festival and it appeared that the populations of Eagles was significantly lower this season as well as the geese. Are you seeing these changes further north as well?

    • It is clear that some species are wintering further north…Audubon found a decade ago that finches and sparrows and some other species were moving their wintering ground northward…this year on the Pacific Slope there was a lot more water than usual so the waterfowl were more spread out meaning eagles & Peregrine were more spread out…just birded Skagit Flats and almost every field had shallow pools so waterbirds had plenty of choice, not the drought-driven density that leads to avian cholorea, etc. It’ss a wet year at Malheur, in Willamette Valley, CA’s Central Valley, everything more spread out…but, of course, having no politics beyond survival, birds are and will adjust to climate change as best they can.

    • Specifically on eagles: plenty around waterfowl in northwest Washington and on Sauvie Island right now

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