So our first destination was Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcano within Portland city limits, and a prime spot for songbirds. The birding was lively from the get-go, and right away we starting finding things we haven’t seen in Salem since May (Yellow-rumped Warblers, Lesser Goldfinches, Vaux’s Swifts).
|Tolkienesque: "Through the fiery throat of this volcano exploded glowing |
cinders which cooling formed the ground on which you stand"
|Western St. John's Wort|
|Juvenile Cooper's Hawks, with pestering Rufous Hummingbird|
|Juvenile Cooper's Hawks, with pestering Anna's Hummingbird|
|"What just happened?"|
Later, as we rounded the reservoirs, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk stood guard over its prey in the grass. Some folks looked on, reveling in the awesome alongside us. Others passed within feet of it, sparing only a disdainful glance, as if it were a noisome pest. The hawk soon moved up to an electrical box, where it, too, attracted a hummer.
|Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk|
|Where there were hawks, there were hummers|
|Hummingbirds weren't the only ones peeved by the hawks. Here, an American Robin makes a pass|
After it flew, we continued a little further until we encountered the hawk again, but in a tree this time, and with a sibling. It still had its prey grasped tightly in one talon, which it would snack on from time to time. Finally the tree seemed to offer a rare respite from attention-hungry hummingbirds. One of the hawks let out a screech, which didn’t sound quite like a Red-tail. In the distance, an adult called back, as if to say, “No, no… like this.”
Afterward, we gave Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge a try. The wetlands here seemed lively enough, but we just didn’t have the time to explore the area as thoroughly as it deserved; we soon had to switch gears from birdwatching to Shrew-watching (as in, a Shakespeare in the Park performance of The Taming of the Shrew). But our brief stay did give us the chance to see a lovely bird mural that graces the Portland Memorial Mausoleum, overlooking the refuge.