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A diary of birds I've observed, spiced up with photos and occasional commentary. Clockwise from top left: Burrowing Owl, Red-breasted Merganser, Yellow-breasted Chat, Purple Gallinule, Summer Tanager, Gray Hawk, Virginia Rail, and (in center) Magnolia Warbler.

Wild bird montage shadow
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Bird photos

Captions identifying the birds in these photo montages are found on the Wild Birds intro page.

Birding Web sites:

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January 3, 2024 [LINK / comment]

Birding out west, Part IV: The Great Northwest

(NOTE: This is the fourth and final installment in a series of blog pieces on my birding activities out west last June. The previous installment was on October 29.)

Virtually all of the birds I saw during the latter portion of my cross-country rail journey were seen while I was on board a train. (In a previous blog post I mentioned that I had seen a Barn Owl near the town of Alpine, in western Texas, from a train window.) On June 21 while heading north in the vicinity of Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon, I was surprised to see a Great Egret, a Bald Eagle, and perhaps 20 American White Pelicans. Elsewhere in Oregon (and in Montana two days later) I saw several Black-billed Magpies, distinguished by the bold white marks in their wings. While we were passing through the lush high mountains of Oregon through the Willamette Pass, I saw my first-ever Red-breasted Sapsucker, clinging to an evergreen tree trunk. Later on that day, in the Willamette Valley north of Eugene, I saw a White-tailed Kite, the second life bird of the day! No photos of either of those, however.

Birds 2023 June 21

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Bald Eagle, Great Egret, American Goldfinch, American White Pelican. (June 21, SW Oregon)

One day later I took a photo of the Columbia River as we approached Portland (again), on the way back from Seattle, and later noticed that the big bird in it was another Bald Eagle! While passing through the vast reaches of northern Montana the next day (June 23) I saw many grebes and ducks that I simply could not identify, unfortunately. There were probably at least a few new species among them, but I'll never know for sure. Near the town of Shelby in east-central Montana, however, I saw a number of Eurasian Collared Doves and glimpsed a Brewer's Blackbird perched on a utility wire -- the 16th and final life bird of my trip!

Brewer's Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird (June 23, near Shelby, Montana)

And that concludes the birding aspects of my big trip out west. As usual, the above photo montage, including some closeup images and additional photos, can be seen on the Wild Birds chronological photo gallery page.

That's all, folks!

2023 life birds

I hope to get caught up summarizing my bird activities in the next week or so, most notably the trip to the Outer Banks that Jacqueline and I took in August, but I can at least state for a fact that I did not see any more new bird species after my big trip in June.

Species Date Place Notes; possible earlier sightings
Eurasian Wigeon January 5, 2023 McCormick's Mill, Raphine, VA camera icon
White-faced Ibis June 14, 2023 Anahuac NWR, TX camera icon
Fulvous Whistling Duck June 14, 2023 Anahuac NWR, TX camera icon
Barn Owl June 15, 2023 east of Alpine, TX (seen from train)
Western Gull June 16, 2023 Santa Monica, CA camera icon
Allen's Hummingbird June 16, 2023 (central) Los Angeles, CA camera icon
Western Scrub-Jay June 17, 2023 (Griffith Park) Los Angeles, CA camera icon
California Towhee June 17, 2023 (Griffith Park) Los Angeles, CA camera icon
Oak Titmouse June 17, 2023 (Griffith Park) Los Angeles, CA camera icon
Chestnut-sided Chickadee June 17, 2023 (Griffith Park) Los Angeles, CA camera icon
Anna's Hummingbird June 19, 2023 (Golden Gate Park) San Francisco, CA camera icon
Pacific Wren June 19, 2023 (Golden Gate Park) San Francisco, CA
Brandt's Cormorant June 20, 2023 (Lake Merritt) Oakland, CA camera icon
Pacific Slope Flycatcher June 20, 2023 (Strawberry Canyon) Berkeley, CA camera icon
Red-breasted Sapsucker June 21, 2023 southeast of Eugene, OR (seen from train)
White-tailed Kite June 21, 2023 north of Eugene, OR (seen from train)
Brewer's Blackbird June 23, 2023 near Glasgow, MT (seen from train)
camera icon

Annual total of life birds: 17, the biggest yearly total for me since 2017, raising my lifetime total to 527.

tiny tanager

Favorite warblers
(already seen):

  1. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  2. Magnolia Warbler
  3. Prothonotary Warbler
  4. Blackburnian Warbler
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Northern Parula
  7. Black-throated Green Warbler
  8. Canada Warbler
  9. Common Yellowthroat
  10. American Redstart

Yet-unseen warblers:
(eastern species)

Yet-unseen warblers:
(western & semitropical)

"Abundant" birds
(ones I normally don't bother counting):