[Tweeters] Long tailed Jaeger, Raptors, Crossbills Washougal/Camas

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 13 01:22:01 PDT 2013

This morning on my walk I was surprised by a beautiful Long Tailed Jaeger flying east up the Columbia right along the Washington shoreline at Cottonwood Beach. I've also recently noticed up to 8 Great Egrets along the Washougal/Columbia river confluence and up the Washougal right to the point where it hits the flats. The many Osprey nests along the rivers from 192nd Avenue to the east end of Washougal are also still quite active with many calling pairs and young birds and a number of big fish (salmon and steelhead) being deliverd. On Tuesday I saw a Bald Eagle pursue an Osprey until it dropped a really big salmon right onto the dike road near Cottonwood Beach - I was only about 80 feet away but the eagle swooped right in and picked up the fish on the first bounce!

Red Crossbills are also abundant in the neighborhood. I had about 60 of them using my small pond and waterfall to bathe and drink in during yesterdays heat and last Saturday there were 50 or more at the Hidden Gardens Nursery near the top of Prune Hill in Camas at NW 16th and NW Brady Road.

The best raptor show around is still the bluffs just to the north of Highway 14 Between 192nd (quarry) and the Hwy 14 split into Business 14 in Camas (exit 6) and the nearer the Columbia shoreline. It is not unusual to see 10 soaring raptors in this very short stretch along with Peregrines, Merlins, Coopers, and other smaller birds of prey. Bald Eagles, Osprey, Red-Tailed Hawks, TV's, are daily, and occassionaly something far rarer (Ferruginous, Red-Shouldered, Rough legged, Swainsons - show especially at fall migration (NOW)) I have positive ID's on all but the Swainsons but i am 80% positive about that bird. I've seen 2 Harriers at the quarry field bordered by Hwy 14, 192nd , Brady Road and the Bluff - and I hope and wish for a White Tailed Kite, as I saw one 3 years ago across the river near Troutdale. The safest place to view the bluffs and area along the freeway down to the water is off of Evergreen Highway - It becomes SE 6th to the east which can be reached from the south side of 164th avenue or at exit 6 in Camas. Watch and listen for trains!! Find a safe place to pull off and stop - out of the dead grass please! You will be rewarded with great views of birds taking advantage of the first real bluffs of the Columbia Gorge (600 feet high) hemmed in close to the water. taking advantage of both wind and heat updrafts. There are many pairs on territory (at least 2 redtail, a bald eagle, and a merlin nest in this densely forested slope - and I think there are TV's nesting there as well as I've seen carrion carring adults disappear into a very rock steep are on the slope. A very urban place for a good concentration of these birds.

Rob Conway
Camas, WA
45.58°N 122.44°W - elevation 310 ft.
robin_birder at hotmail.com

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