Fishing and Ornithology

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Go Fish, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. I first got into bird watching when I puchased a house
    on Mission Lake. The ducks, osprey, eagles, etc. were amazing
    to watch. This hobby goes quite nicely with Fly Fishing and I
    would be suprised if most FFishers don't have a basic knowledge
    of most common birds. When I go fishing with a group I'm the one
    that gets asked "what kind of bird it that?" Now don't get me wrong,
    I do not keep a log of every bird spotted...but if I see something
    unusual I'll try to look it up in Audubon or Sibleys when I get home.

    What are the more rare or unusual birds you have spotted in the NW.

    Thanks, David
  2. Unusual, hmmmmm. I saw a bittern walking along the bank of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish once; the only time I've actually seen one, though I've often heard them particularly while fishing eastside lakes. Last year, floating the Yakima, my trip apparently coincided with the peak of the yellow-rumped warbler migration; a lovely, little blue-gray, white and yellow bird. We must have seen hundreds of them, active in the riverbank trees, between Ringer and Umtanum. On a March float of the Yakima this year, we saw two great horned owls perched in trees along the river.

    Sometimes, particularly on float trips when I have enough room to carry it, I'll take along the Audubon or Sibley guidebook.
  3. When camping along the Elwha, I love to watch the dippers dive into the slack pools in search of insects. And the Elwha is a great place to see Harlequin ducks, one of my favorites.

    I usually make two trips to Leech Lake each summer. Each morning, I walk the trail that runs around the lake, past the talus slope, and into the wooded hills above the lake with my bird book and binocs to identify all the mountain birds. In a three-day trip, I'll usually identify 30 - 40 species of birds; last summer, I watched a pair of flickers that were courting, a synchronized dance of neck bobs and calls. The mammals are pretty cool too. The pikas that live in the talus slope are a kick and occasionally there are otters or minks along the shore. The only downsides of that walk are the cross-country runners from the resort who spook the birds during their training runs and the hordes of mosquitoes that emerged the night before and see me as their first meal.

  4. I haven't seen rare birds as much as birds doing rare/weird things. Such as:

    Bald eagles walking around the beach at Westport.
    Great blue herons stalking garter snakes along the Yakima and Deschutes rivers.
    Puget Sound Sea gulls herding a confused sea-run cutthroat trout that was caught in a small stream at low tide.
    Crows laying their heads sideways on a asphalt parking lot to sip spilled coffee.

    I agree that an addiction to fly fishing can lead to a birding addiction. I started carrying a guide book because I wanted to know the names of the birds I saw while on the water. However, I've learned that even the best guide book cannot help me identify juvenile sea gulls....
  5. Red shouldered hawk in Kent. Also saw avocets down there one year - not common on the wet side. Red knots at Grays Harbor. I really like the cacophony from the RWBB, YHBB and marsh wrens on the dry side. One of my favs is tha canyon wren call. I also get a kick out of watching the aerial displays from the sand hill cranes.

    David, I would agree that a good share of us enjoy all aspects of being out. I have really gotten into the desert wildflowers, which started about two - three weeks ago.

  6. My wife has a pretty good set of feeders and we attract lots of birds. Most are probably fairly common locally but there are a few that really entertain us. Hummingbirds galore, and recently a pair of Starlings have arrived. I know that they compete with many such as woodpeckers for nests, but they are an interesting addition. We have several varieties of woodpeckers and lots of the usual. My personal favorites are the flickers and the woodpeckers. Fun to watch with my daughters. We also keep the Audubon guidebook handy for identification, sometimes we will even hike with it. That has proven to be good when we run into various herons along the shores and owls in the woods. We have an Osprey nest in our neighborhood and during one period of many missing cat reports I've seen a bald eagle in one of our larger cedar trees in the back yard.
  7. I have been birding with my wife for years before I started fishing. I would have to agree that it is usually the behaviors that are interesting to observe where I fish, not the species. I will definitely be bringing my binoculars on my upcoming trip to the dry side lakes. Of note, my binoculars are way more expensive than any of my rod/reel combos (but then I guess I only have 1 pair of binoculars).
  8. the weirdest for me by far was a egyptian goose mixed with a flock of snows.
  9. For me it is what you see birds doing while fishing.

    1. The Goshawk diving out of the tree trageting the mallard ducklings. Momma mallard with wings flared charging the hawk. Momma wins.
    2. The bald eagle chasing down the canadian goose in the air. The explosion of feathers. The goose landing in the lake and swimming away. Goose brused but alive.
    3. The Peregrin Falcon smoking by us in Sitka sounding like a small jet and the explosion as it hit the sea bird. Sea bird dinner.
    4. And, of course, all the osprey - The successful and mostly unsuccessful hunts.

    1. The Canadian loons. Males charging the pretenders and chasing them all around the lake to protect their breeding rights. For hours a day.
  10. Ok...I am lousy at this.
    2.The Southern Greebs dancing on New Zealand lakes

    1. The cry of the loon carrying her baby on her back whenever an eagle or hawk flys over.
    2. The coots that form a tight flock and follow the poor fellow you have on the end of your fly line almost to the boat.

    Really cool stuff. W
  11. I have heard and seen Bittern on the East side. Peregrine on the east side. Goshawk flying down the private dirt road I live on. Green Heron on a fork of a small local river.

    One bird that always makes me smile is the Water Ouzel (American Dipper). I have watched them while snorkeling in fast mountain streams. For the Ouzel there is no apparent difference between air and water. They will walk down one side of a rock, across the bottom and up the side of another rock without breaking stride. If you watch closely, every time they bob up and down they wink at you.

  12. Mumbles:

    We have flickers - a ton of them, pileated, downy, hairy woodpeckers and red breasted sapsuckers at our feeder. I look forward to the return of our local neotropical black-headed grosbeaks - which should arrive any day now. Had a pair of eagles in one of our hemlocks on Dec. 26, 2007 - pretty darn cool.

    The barred owls have been very noisy lately, they can actually wake you up with their calls. They have a great variation in calling. Have also had great horned owls and a family of screech owls in our maple one year.

  13. Every once in a while, I'll see jail birds picking up garbage along side the roads.
  14. They have them at Dry Falls too. Actually, I'd like to see more.....
  15. A few of my favorites, all from Montana. The first time I saw white pelicans on the Missouri I was fascinated. A Great Blue Heron rookery on the Madison was also impressive in the setting sun. Finally, my favorite yellow headed black bird.
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  16. Scott, we are hearing the Barred Owls also.
    They make the strangest sounds.

  17. I was talking to Leland yesterday and he mentioned having seen this thread and reminded me of a day we spent fishing a north Sound beach. He had fished up the beach around a point and out of sight. On his return he found me scuttling around the beach, camera in hand and talking to a couple of Black Oystercatchers. Bizarre behavior, true, but I did get a couple of good pictures.
  18. Rarest for me was a Snowy Owl at Dungeness Spit.
  19. I really enjoy all the variety of birds you see here in the NW. I can't tell you what a kick I get out of watching eagles and osprey catching fish out of the lakes.
    I work in the Phantom Lake area of Bellevue. A while ago I noticed a hawk that is perched in the trees that line a field on my way to work. Now I look for it every day.
    A few weeks ago while driving by the field I saw to pair of bald eagles circling overhead. I stopped on the side of the road and got out my cheapo binocs and watched them for a while. What magnificent creatures.
    Another bird I've come to enjoy are the swallows and their acrobatic flying abilities. I seem to remember reading here that they are a good indicator of insect life when you're lake fishing.
    Anyways, yes, birds are an unexpected and beautiful diversion.
  20. any one ever get the sun at their backs, in the evening or morning, and wait for a hawk to pass in front of you so you can make squeaky noises? i have had some close calls where i think i ended up being more startled than the bird at the last second. its a great way to get a closer look at any bird of prey, and they usually hit the brakes and come looking for you every time.:thumb:

    i had this eagle come down and take a good hard look at the guy hiding in the bushes making the squeaking noise, and then bank almost straight up the tree and land. its amazing how agile these guys are in the air.

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