Washington County, Oregon, Bird Highlights: 2008

Interesting birds reported from Washington County, Oregon. New updates are added to the top of the page, thus the year tends to run backwards from top to bottom. The status of birds given is only for Washington County, unless specified otherwise.

For a general status of the birds of the county, please see
Checklist of the Birds of Washington County
by Greg Gillson.

The idea for this page copies that of Don Roberson for Monterey County, California (for example, http://montereybay.com/creagrus/MTY_2004.html). Text below by Greg Gillson. Photos on this page are copyrighted by the photographers and may not be used elsewhere without their direct permission (but you already knew that, didn't you?).

Please contact me, Greg Gillson, for instructions on emailing photos for inclusion on this page. Thank you.

Washington County, Oregon, Bird Highlights: 2009

Washington County, Oregon, Bird Highlights: 2007

Washington County, Oregon, Bird Highlights: 2006

December 2008:

Brant. Photo by Lisa Humphreys
Brant, Dawson Creek Corporate Park, Hillsboro, 5 December 2008, by Lisa Humphreys

Lisa Humphreys found the 11th county record of Brant at Hillsboro's Dawson Creek Corporate Park on December 5. It remained to December 10+ (David Smith, Scott Carpenter, Greg Gillson).

A photo of a Barred Owl appeared on the KATU TV news web site from 185th in Beaverton/Hillsboro on December 20 (fide Greg Gillson). This is a rare resident within the county. (See May report.)

Stefan Schlick found a Prairie Falcon near Roy on December 31. This occasional winter visitor is not annual within the county, though this is the 3rd winter in a row for this species to appear near Roy. This is about the 12th county record. (See February report.)

A Snowy Owl was reported from near North Plains on December 30 (fide Harry Nehls). This would be the 4th county record.

The Forest Grove Christmas Bird Count was canceled due to 14-16 inches of snow in the lower elevations and dangerously icy roads throughout the count period. This snow storm matched the intensity and duration of the 1968 snow storm.

November 2008:

John Notis reported a dozen Eurasian Collared Doves at Dilley on November 8. This is a new location for this species and the largest number of birds reported within the county.

The only reported Red-shouldered Hawk of fall was found by Lars Norgren at Gaston on November 10. We have come to expect several birds from fall through winter, so this year's numbers seem low.

Up to eleven Surf Scoters were on Hagg Lake on November 6 (Lars Norgren). They have been annual here the past few years in late October and November.

An adult Bonaparte's Gull flew over Hagg Lake on November 6 where Lars Norgren spotted it. This is a rare annual migrant, spring and fall.

The Portland Audubon Rare Bird Alert reports a probable Black-chinned Hummingbird at Cedar Mill on November 2. This would be a 2nd county record, if correct.

October 2008:

Emperor Goose. Photo by Greg Gillson
Emperor Goose, Dawson Creek Corporate Park, Hillsboro, 29 October 2008, by Greg Gillson

A juvenile Emperor Goose was at Dawson Creek corporate Park in Hillsboro from October 14-28, when it was reported by Mark Wilkinson. It was seen to October 29 (Chris Warren). This represents the first county record.

The first Northern Shrike of fall was spotted by Mike Marsh at Jackson Bottom Wetlands on October 27.

A Black-crowned Night-Heron was at Fernhill Wetlands on October 27. Steve Halpern spotted this bird that is not quite annual in the county.

Lars Norgren found a Common (Eurasian Green-winged) Teal at Fernhill Wetlands on October 26. This rare bird is not quite annual. As birders become more familiar with this Asian form it is being reported more regularly.

Erik Knight heard a Pacific Golden-Plover fly over Fernhill Wetlands on October 19. This is the 4th county record.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Photo by Greg Gillson
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Fernhill Wetlands, Forest Grove, 24 October 2008, by Greg Gillson

A juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was at Fernhill Wetlands on October 19-24 (Erik Knight). This is a 7th county record.

The sixth county record of Stilt Sandpiper was reported October 11 by Mike Marsh at Fernhill Wetlands, when he reported 3 birds! Usually these birds are reported as singles, but small flocks are known. This is rather late in the year, as well.

Lars Norgren spotted a Bonaparte's Gull at Fernhill Wetlands on October 9. This is a rare annual migrant, spring and fall.

September 2008:

Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Photo by Erik Gauger
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Tualatin River NWR, 25 September 2008, by Erik Gauger

Beginning birder Erik Gauger photographed a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Tualatin River NWR on September 25. This a 3rd county record!

A rare annual migrant, Mike Marsh spotted a Baird's Sandpiper on September 5 at Fernhill Wetlands.

August 2008:

Either a late summer resident or fall migrant, a rare Cassin's Vireo is a great find by Erik Knight on August 28 at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park.

Not recorded every year, an adult Forster's Tern was migrating through Fernhill Wetlands on August 27, where Lars Norgren spotted it.

A very rare fall migrant, a Western Kingbird was reported at the Tualatin River NWR on August 24 by Rainer Weiland.

Leslie Meserve spotted a Caspian Tern flying over Fernhill Wetlands on August 10. This a rare annual migrant.

An immature Northern Goshawk was at Manning on August 4-6 where Lars Norgren spotted it. This is a very rare resident within the county, with several sightings in this area.

Rather hard to find in fall migration, Shawneen Finnegan located a Solitary Sandpiper at Fernhill Wetlands on August 9.

A juvenile Franklin's Gull was at Fernhill Wetlands on August 7, where seen by several birders, including Jay Withgott. This is the 5th known county record.

Lori Hennings found a Eurasian Collared-Dove in Aloha on August 6 (See June report.).

An escaped Budgerigar was spotted by Craig Tumer in Tigard on August 1.

July 2008:

Mike Marsh reported a possible Eurasian Kestrel at the Tualatin River NWR on July 20. It could not be relocated. This would have been a first state record if it could have been verified.

An adult Ash-throated Flycatcher photographed by Tom Shreve at the Tualatin River NWR on July 18 provided a third county record.

The pair of Wilson's Phalaropes remained to at least July 10 at the Tualatin River NWR, apparently providing the first breeding record for Washington County (See June report).

June 2008:

Least Tern. Photo by Bjorn Fredrickson
Least Tern, Tualatin River NWR, 24 June 2008, by Bjorn Fredrickson

A one-day wonder was a Least Tern on June 24 at the Tualatin River NWR. Nick Lethaby spotted it and got the word out so that several others could see and photograph it. This is the 2nd county record.

Infrequently reported, a Cassin's Vireo was at the usual location along Lee Road at Hagg Lake on June 1 (Pamela Johnston, Stefan Schlick). Another, probably a migrant, was at Shadywood Park in Hillsboro June 4 (Stefan Schlick).

A rare annual migrant, a Bonaparte's Gull was at Tualatin River NWR on June 4 (Paul Sullivan).

Paul Sullivan spotted a female Yellow-headed Blackbird at the Tualatin River NWR on June 4. These are rare sping migrants.

A pair of Wilson's Phalaropes summered at the Tualatin River NWR and acted territorial, June 4 to July 10 displaying probable breeding evidence (Paul Sullivan, Tom Shreve, Erik Knight). There are no definite breeding records for the county, though migrants in spring and fall are not unusual.

Calliope Hummingbirds made an impressive showing this spring in the Willamette Valley. A pair was reported in Beaverton on June 4, and a single there on June 10 (Mike Gellerman). These are the 7th and 8th county records.

A migrant Common Nighthawk was at the Tualatin River NWR on June 7, the first for the year (fide Ed McVicker).

A likely second colony of Eurasian Collared-Doves may be established about 5 miles south of Hillsboro. Stefan Schlick heard two along Unger Road off Hwy 219 on June 20. The birds at Verboort have been resident about 2 years.

Three Chipping Sparrows were seen June 20 on Riedwig Rd off Hwy 219, 5 mi s of Hillsboro, by Stefan Schlick. This species is difficult to find in the county.

Up to five Lazuli Buntings were seen June 20 on Riedwig Rd off Hwy 219, 5 mi s of Hillsboro (Stefan Schlick). This species is uncommon and local within the county.

A Mountain Quail crossed the road near Timber on June 28 (Greg Gillson). This bird is rarely seen outside the early spring calling season.

Three singing Varied Thrushes were at Reeher Forest Camp near Timber on June 23 (Greg Gillson). This is very low for this species to attempt breeding, but the 2000 foot elevation hills still had snow into early June.

May 2008:

Erik Knight reported a Baird's Sandpiper from the Tualatin River NWR on May 3. This is a rare annual migrant.

Annette Hildebrand and Trudi Stone were excited to find 2 Black-necked Stilts at the Tualatin River NWR on May 4. This species has become nearly annual during this past decade.

David Smith spotted a Dusky Flycatcher at Fernhill Wetlands on May 4. This is a 6th county record.

A Calliope Hummingbird was at Pacific University on May 4 (David Smith). This is the 6th county record (see April report).

A Lewis's Woodpecker was spotted by Sue Carr in Beaverton on May 5 (fide Norine Deitrich). This is at least the 6th county record. It should be noted that this bird was "common in Washington County in summer" as described by A.W. Anthony in A.R. Woodcock's 1902 thesis on Oregon Birds. Gabrielson and Jewett in Birds of Oregon (1940) called this an abundant bird throughout Oregon. However, the second record in my Washington County list is Donna Lusthoff's sighting in 1964, by which time it was already in severe decline. See: Checklist of the Birds of Washington County

A rarely seen spring migrant, a Nashville Warbler was spotted at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton on May 11 by Leslie Meserve and Mike Screen.

An amazing Black Turnstone was seen at Fernhill Wetlands on May 14 by Tom Hammond. It did not remain. This is the 4th county record.

Yellow Warbler. Photo by Greg Gillson
Yellow Warbler, Fernhill Wetlands, 14 May 2008, by Greg Gillson

This has been an exceptionally good year for Yellow Warblers within the county. Normally found in very low numbers at Fernhill Wetlands, several birds have been there and at Jackson Bottom on May 15 and May 30, and 9 singing birds were at several locations around Hagg Lake on May 15.

An adult Golden Eagle was soaring over Manning on May 12 (Lars Norgren). This is an ocassional visitor throughout the year, with an increase in spring sightings in the Banks/Manning area in the last 5 years or so. This suggests a possible breeding pair in the area, which would be unprecedented in the northern Oregon Coast Range. (See January and February reports.)

The breeding pair of Barred Owls at Hayward were reported by Lars Norgren the first week of May, including fledglings. This is still the only regular location for this species known in the county. More unusual, a single Barred Owl was spotted by Erik Knight at the Tualtin Hills Nature Park on May 29.

Greg Gillson spotted a pair of Purple Martins inspecting nest boxes at Fernhill Wetlands on May 15. These rare breeders are not reported every year.

May 18 Rich Hoyer spotted 2 Caspian Terns at Fernhill Wetlands. These are rare annual migrants, spring and fall.

April 2008:

Stefan Schlick photographed a 1st-cycle Glaucous x Herring Gull, the so-called "Nelson's Gull", at Fernhill Wetlands on April 5. Lars Norgren saw it April 6. This is the second documented record of this hybrid in the county. [See photos at: http://birdmeister.wordpress.com/2008/04/]

Lois Mundall reports a male Chukar at Mountaindale on April 6. Such escaped birds are occasionally reported throughout western Oregon. There are previous Washington County reports.

Bob Flores reported a Eurasian Green-winges Teal also known as Common Teal at the Tualatin River NWR on April 15. This form is presently considered a race of Green-winged Teal by the AOU.

A Long-billed Curlew was reported April 13 at the Tualatin River NWR (fide Harry Nehls, Portland Audubon Rare Bird Alert). This is a 6th county record.

A brilliant male Calliope Hummingbird visited Don Moore's feeder in Hillsboro on April 17. This is the 5th county record. [See May report.]

A migrant Slate-colored Junco showed up in Craig Turner's place in SW Portland on April 20-23.

March 2008:

Mike Marsh and Stephan Schlick spotted an immature Northern Goshawk at Hagg Lake on March 21. A Northern Goshawk was north of Manning about 2 miles on Green Mt. Rd. March 29 (Greg Gillson) (see February report).

A migrant Say's Phoebe was in Beaverton on March 19 (Dennis Manzer). This is the 8th known record for the county. Most records are in February and March.

Just in case any one wonders, the Eurasian Collared Doves remain in Verboort. Greg Gillson saw one 1/4 mile north of town on March 29. Last December (2007) was the first time they were recorded on the local Forest Grove CBC. They became residents some time about August 2006. They remain unreported elsewhere in the county, except occasionally nearby at Banks (perhaps the same individuals?).

The first-cycle Glaucous Gull remained at Fernhill Wetlands. Blake Matheson photographed it March 1. Leslie Meserve reported it March 16 and Scott Carpenter got photos the same day. There were 2 Glaucous Gulls there on March 8, where Stephan Schlick photographed this second, smaller-billed bird! This makes at least 2, and possibly 3, first-cycle Glaucous Gulls this winter (see January and February reports).

February 2008:

A dark first-year Glaucous Gull, very similar to the bird at Fernhill Wetlands was seen February 1 at Banks, about 8 miles to the north, by Lars Norgren. The Fernhill Wetlands bird seems to always be there, so Lars' bird may be a different one. Blake Matheson spotted the Fernhill Glaucous Gull on February 29.

A rare Prairie Falcon was near North Plains on February 2 (Lars Norgren) and February 3 (David Smith). There are 10 previous records of this species in the county, including 2 sightings of perhaps this same individual this past December from quite nearby.

Stefan Schlick spotted the continuing Red-shouldered Hawk at Fernhill Wetlands on February 9. Lars Norgren spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk north of Banks on February 12, a new location for this species.

An adult Golden Eagle was over North Plains on February 13 (Lars Norgren). This may perhaps be the same bird reported January (see December 2007 and January 2008 reports).

An adult Northern Shrike was spotted in a tree farm high above Dairy Creek on 17 February by Greg Gillson. This is an occasional species, not seen every winter.

A Trumpeter Swan was at Fernhill Wetlands on February 29 where Blake Matheson saw and heard it. This is getting late for this rare annual winter visitor (See January reports).

Common Goldeneyes are rare annual visitors that tend to migrate through, rather than winter locally. Leslie Meserve spotted two males at Fernhill Wetlands on February 3.

A first-year male Goldeneye (sp.) was in Hillsboro from February 20 to at least March 16 (Blake Matheson, Scott Carpenter, and Mike Marsh photos). The head was shaped as the much rarer Barrow's, but the bill seemed properly large for Common. It disappeared before molting into any recognizable species. Hybrids are known.

While 100-300 Sandhill Cranes winter only 10 miles away on Sauvie Island, and the Island is a major stop over point during spring and fall migration, the migration corridor usuall misses Washington County. No cranes were reported in 2007. However, this spring several flocks crossed Washington County air space. On February 17 a flock of Sandhill Cranes over-flew Hillsboro, delighting Don Moore. On February 24 a flock was over Beaverton, where Stephan Schlick and David Smith spotted them separately as they flew noisily overhead.

A rare resdient, a Northern Goshawk was spotted by Lars Norgren at Manning on February 28. [See March reports.]

January 2008:

Glaucous Gull. Photo by Blake Matheson
Glaucous Gull, Fernhill Wetlands, 26 January 2008, by Blake Matheson

Max Smith spotted a pale gull near West Union on January 11 that was either a 2nd-year Glaucous Gull or a hybrid. There are 10 previous county records of Glaucous Gull, and one documented Glaucous x Herring ("Nelson's") Gull. Glaucous x Glaucous-winged is another known hybrid, not yet recorded in the county. On January 26 Blake Matheson identified a first-year Glaucous at Fernhill Wetlands. Lars Norgren spotted it there January 31 (but see February report).

The Ross's Goose discovered in late December was not seen again until January 4 when Lars Norgren spotted it on a small wooded pond at Hayward. This is the 3rd county record of this rare species.

Rare, but annual, 2 adult Trumpeter Swans were spotted January 10 at Banks (Lars Norgren). Greg Gillson heard one or two flying over Hillsboro with Tundra Swans on January 20. Blake Matheson spotted 3 Trumpeter Swans at Jackson Bottom at Hillsboro on January 26. These could all be one family group.

A rare fall and winter visitor, a Red-shouldered Hawk was at Tualatin River NWR on January 12, where it was spotted by Anette Hildebrand. A juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk has been hiding at Fernhill Wetlands since last August. It was seen again January 31 by Blake Matheson.

A 1st winter Bonaparte's Gull was at Fernhill Wetlands on January 26 (Blake Matheson). This species is rare, but annual, within the county, though usually seen in migration and not mid-winter.

Blake Matheson spotted a rare lowland Northern Goshawk at Fernhill Wetlands on January 26. This species is rare, but regular in the Coast Range (Hagg Lake, Hayward, Timber, Scoffield). Breeding is suspected, but not proved.

Townsend's Solitaire. Photo by Tom Wnuk
Townsend's Solitaire, Banks, 23 January 2008, by Tom Wnuk

Tom Wnuk took a photo of a mystery bird at Banks on January 23 that turned out to be a fairly rare lowland Townsend's Solitaire. A very few of these breed annually in the Coast Range. Some are noted in spring migration in the lowlands, and some in winter, but always rare.

A White-tailed Kite was between North Plains and Hillsboro on January 31. Jon Plissner reported this rare winter visitor, which has been nearly annual since the second county sighting in 1997. There are well over 10 county sightings now.

John Gatchet spotted an adult Golden Eagle west of Banks on January 4. There are now at least 10 sightings for the county.

Mike Gellerman reported a male Costa's Hummingbird from Beaverton in mid January. There are about a half dozen reports of this species for the county. Photos of this species are always desired, as Anna's Hummingbirds or hybrids can appear very similar. Even photos can be controversial.