Days 134-136 (May 12-14) – Portland, Oregon

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My count stands at 593 species for 2017! 600 looks like it will fall sometime real soon.

I never had a chance to finish my post on The Biggest Week and Magee Marsh! A lot of times I work on my blog on planes and my post went off incomplete and without editing. I had a blast in Ohio even if I didn’t add much. It was a real treat to be able to socialize for a couple of days and let my hair down(literally).

I cannot move on from Ohio without talking about the karaoke night. After the bird tattoo contest, I hung out with my Florida friends Brant Julius and Jeff Bouton. We were joined by Laura Keene and her friends. It was a shocker to see how many talented singers lurk in the birding world. Who knew Jeff could sing so well?? And I can’t forget to mention Kimberly Kaufman’s amazing rock performances!

My biggest shock came when I danced with Raymond VanBuskirk and my worlds collided. I finally found a birder who could dance and I didn’t have my heels on. Dancing in hiking boots is a new tick for my Dancing Life List!

Friday morning I had to get back to reality and the business of birding. I trekked back west to meet Khanh Tran in Portland, Oregon. We had laid out one of the most ambitious itineraries of my whole year so far. We had 2 days to try and round up some very difficult targets: my remaining Owls and Grouse species. We also had to travel pretty far for some of them. It would mean getting up at 4 and birding until 10 or 11 p.m.

Birding the moss-covered forests of the Pacific Northwest can almost be a religious experience. I knew it would be strenuous but satisfying.

Upon my arrival, Khanh took me to a nearby Western Screech Owl nest where at 10 p.m., we enjoyed watching the male eat a snake.

We spent the weekend moving through many habitats, from sagebrush to Ponderosa Pine. The weather changed quicker than a schizophrenic on steroids. We had snow, rain, sleet, fog, sun, 20 degrees then 65 degrees, wind and lots of mud. My rental car was destroyed.

It’s a good thing we spent the night at Antler’s Inn, a hunting lodge where we blended right in.

Khanh’s reputation as the Owl Whisperer was not exaggerated. By the end of the weekend we would see 5 Owl species. I would also add Sooty Grouse, Greater Sage Grouse, Chukar, Mountain Quail, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Clark’s Nutcracker, Vaux’s Swift and Common Poorwill.

A big thanks to Khanh for his guiding and for welcoming me into his cozy home! What happens in Oregon stays in Oregon!!!


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