Birding Field Trip

It was a cold and foggy morning…

Actually, it really was cold and foggy, but we went to the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge anyway.  The weather forecast indicated that the fog would lift by mid morning or so.  It was wrong.  We enjoyed the hike along the mile trail even though it was so foggy that the geese kept taking off and disappearing before we could get the camera focused on them.  We saw quite a few birds and got some exercise.

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This is how foggy it was when we got there around 9:45.  We visited the Wildlife Center, which opens at 10 am, a few days ago when it was too rainy to hike, so we started right out on the nature trail.

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Bo was only interested in hiking, not in looking for birds, so he set a fast pace.  I told him to stay within view, which with the fog, wasn’t very far ahead.  I gave them an assignment to photograph at least three kinds of birds so he did do some bird watching, but not much.

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There were water drops on all the branches.  We stopped several times to take pictures of them.  I should bring my film camera and my macro lens next time so I can get even closer!

The first birds we saw were geese.  They kept taking off from the marsh and flying around in formation, startled by various things.  We saw them from a distance and lost them in the fog before we could get any good pictures.

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Next we saw a dozen or so of these.  I think they’re sparrows.  (Bird identification is not one of my talents, but I’m learning.)  They were on the ground when we came around a corner and startled them.  The gravel trail made it a little hard to sneak up on anything.  We got a few shots from a distance before the noise we made startled them into the brambles.  Jonathan and I stood quietly by until they started to come back so we could get a few more shots.

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As you can see, we were dressed for the weather.  It was about 34 degrees when we got there, and I don’t think it warmed up much.

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This is part of the view from the wetlands observation deck at the end of the trail.  We saw lots of ducks, mostly Mallards and Northern Pintails.  I definitely need a longer zoom lens so I can closer pictures.  The kids put their cameras away and got out the binoculars when we got to the viewpoint, so they got a good look at the different birds.

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The winter trees were very interesting to photograph as well.

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These are more ducks from the wetlands viewpoint.

We saw several other kinds of birds on the way back, but they were too far away and moved around too fast to get any good pictures.  I think we saw a few Brown Creepers and some Black-capped Chickadees, but I didn’t get a good enough look to be sure.

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The fog lifted a little before we left around 11:45, but it was still cold and overcast.  We met a couple of volunteers when we got back who asked if we had seen the screech owl.  They told us where it usually hangs out, so we’ll look for it next time we visit.

We’ll definitely be going back another day (when the weather is better, of course!) and hopefully a few more times in the spring and summer to see different kinds of birds.  Overall, it was a fun field trip, even if it was cold and misty all morning.

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