[Tweeters] TV close encounter, Grackle in Vancouver

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Fri May 2 00:50:06 PDT 2014

This morning to add some variety to my therapy walk and to maybe see some birds my partner and I walked the dike trail that leads into the western end of Steigerwald Nat Wildlife Refuge in Washougal. It was still very windy in the gorge this morning with east winds at 30-40 mph but with temps in the 70's at 9:30AM. As we approached the area where the trail opens up to the water I noticed a Turkey Vulture flying low and zipping along doing acrobatic dips over the dike - back and forth and back and forth. We stood still to watch the bird and within seconds it came much closer to us - within 20 feet. At the next pass over the dike the bird flew below our head level and within touching distance of its wings - one could hear the wind zipping through its wings - absolutely thrilling.

We also saw Bullocks Oriole, Western Tanager, Coopers Hawk, Wood Duck, and a Raven - most small birds were hunkered down and the wind was strong enough to raise whitecaps on the water so ducks and geese (I spotted a few) were sitting on the shoreline.

Later at lunch in the Parkrose district near Parkrose Hardware (SE 1st St and SE 164th Ave) I observed 2 Grackles on the power lines on SE 1st St. I did not have optics with me but could see the birds had Grackle form/features and were larger than the Brewer's Blackbirds and Starlings that were nearby. Lots of open fields in the neighborhood so finding them might take some patience, or they could just be in the parking lot.

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

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