Friday, August 03, 2012

Big Trip Birds, Days 1-3

Our big trip began Monday with an airline snafu: despite the fact that we arrived at 11am for a 5:40pm flight, we STILL almost missed our flight. How, you may ask? The airline bumped us off our flight (which was a one-stop in Houston) and transferred us to a nonstop flight WITHOUT TELLING US. First off, we got there that early because Gretchen (who was kind enough to drive us to Philly) had to be back in State College by 4, so she needed to take us super-early. Fine. At least we weren't paying for two weeks' worth of parking! So we were in the final boarding group, and by the time we got up to the rope-line and handed our boarding passes to the lady, it was probably right around 5:40. AB handed her pass to the lady and got a BUZZ! and the lady told us, "Oh, you're not on this flight - we moved you! We called your name a few times but you never responded!" Now, we've been in the terminal at our gate for almost SEVEN HOURS. We've played SkipBo to pass the time, with Li'l Nib (AB made him for me after I left for California way back when)
We heard NOTHING from our gate people; no one ever called us or looked for us. So the lady tells us the other flight is at 5:50pm. As in NOW. The guy there is all mellow, printing our new passes and telling us how to get the new gate, which is OF COURSE all the way across the airport! So we RUN all the way (thank GOD we checked our bags and just had our laptops with us) and get there, and they had to hold the plane for us! The other airline didn't even effing call them! I'm so glad we ran, despite the fact that I thought I might drop dead of a heart attack. Otherwise, we would've been screwed - and it wouldn't even have been our fault!

So we finally get to Oregon - and the nonstop flight was good but LONG - and Li'l Nib got his first view of Portland:

He had plenty of time to look, as the gate where we were supposed to dock had another plane in it! Sheesh! By this point, we're wondering if our trip is cursed. Our luggage was of course still in the air, on the plane we were originally booked. They told us they'd deliver it SOMETIME the next day. We said we'd be back in the morning.

Anyway, we got to our friend Sarah's house in our rental, and on Tuesday morning (after picking up our luggage) we took a quick trip up to Washington state so Li'l Nib and I could say we'd been there!
I dig the state highway signs!

We also saw this raptor:
I can't for the life of me figure out what this is. Susan? Other raptor nuts? Help? We were near Vancouver, WA, and he was kettling around; this picture turned out way better than I thought it would, but it's still awful. Still, you might be able to see the slight white at his throat, the rufous-and-white barring on the ends and trailing edges of the wings as well as the whole tail. Note the large dark leading edge and half of the wings. It looks like a hawk, a buteo. But what it is? I've looked at all the other birds reported to hang out in that area. Help!?

Later that day, I finally got a chance to do some real birding at this HUGE and beautiful rose garden in Portland. Check this out:
Note the chestnutty brown on his sides. His head was also brownish-black.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee, yes? YES! My first lifer of the trip! PLEASE tell me I'm right.

NOTE: I am sitting in the Oregon Trail Lodge in Gold Beach, OR, after driving from Portland today. The internet connection is S-S-L-L-L-O-O-O-O-O-W-W-W, so I may not make it to the end of this post.

We also saw this Western Scrub-jay
Our first view of the Pacific
NOTE: it's now Friday and I'm only just now getting to finish this post. The motel's internet crapped out on me that night.

I'll pile on some pictures of the gorgeous Oregon coast:

 Little Whale Cove:

At Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area:
 At Umpqua Lighthouse:
 Li'l Nib learning about whale bones
Getting down to dusk:
 We saw a couple of elk but I didn't get a photo; life mammal!

Not a lot of birding opportunities, but I did see this gull:

I thought it was just a Herring Gull but there was no black anywhere on him. What is he?

We're now in Rhonert Park, my former home for a brief time, with Dr. Matty McMatterson. We had a lovely Thai meal last night, and who knows what today will bring? I'm hoping to see some good western hummingbirds at Matty's feeder today!


Elizabeth said...

I won't pretend to know about the raptor, they're too hard for me. You're right about the chickadee. I'd say you have a Western Gull because of the light eyes, the red spot on the beak and the pink feet.

The Oregon Coast looks beautiful!

Dina said...

Glad you made through that flight. Looks like a beautiful place.

dguzman said...

Elizabeth--YAY! Ah, Western Gull? Really? Okay -- but what about the lack of black on the wings? Peterson's shows black wing tips. But I'm willing to go for Western Gull. Any other opinions?

Dina--it IS.

dguzman said...
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Jen said...

Welcome to Oregon! Definitely a Chestnut-backed Chickadee, I'd go with Red-tailed on the hawk, and the gull looks more Glaucous-winged to me, though could definitely be a hybrid (aka an "Olympic" Gull).

dguzman said...

Jen--WOW - Thanks!
I looked and looked at Glaucous-winged but will look again with renewed confidence! I will have more photos up soon.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah, I wasn't paying attention to the wings, sorry.

dguzman said...

So with that Glaucous-winged Gull, I have another lifer!

Debbie Barnes said...

I agree with the Red-tailed Hawk id. A young of the year with all that mottling on it! Good find!