I spent about four hours birding the Marine Drive area today. I started at Delta Park, where there were several thousand Cackling Geese on the lawn. I got some decent photos that show nice comparisons between Ridgway's and Taverner's Cacklers (see below). Most of my time was spent walking the levee along Broughton Beach. I walked from the parking area at the Gleason Boat Ramp to the east past the Sea Scout Base. The first flock of scaup I found (about 95 birds just w. of the Sea Scout Base) included the adult male Tufted Duck . There was also a Pacific Loon along this stretch of the Columbia River. In all there were about 1500 scaup with a near 50/50 split between Greaters and Lessers

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This adult male Tufted Duck was along the Columbia River off of Marine Drive in a small satellite flock of scaup just west of the Sea Scout Base. Most of the scaup were upriver another half mile or so. This marks at least the third straight winter that an adult male Tufted Duck has inhabited this stretch of the Columbia. The gray in the flanks is indicative that the bird has not quite completed is prebasic molt. A full adult male has clean white sides in basic plumage.


Bird List

Broughton Beach

Dec 08, 2012

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii 14 ---
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 6 ---
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 1 ---
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 1 ---
Greater Scaup Aythya marila 633 ---
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 462 ---
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 7 ---
Common Merganser Mergus merganser 3 ---
Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica 1 ---
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus 2 ---
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis 1 ---
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 18 ---
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1 ---
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 2 ---
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 2 ---
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 2 ---
Mew Gull Larus canus 39 ---
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 2 ---
California Gull Larus californicus 10 ---
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1 ---
Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens 31 ---
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 1 ---

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This Pacific Loon was along the Columbia River at Broughton Beach in north Portland. This species has been reported on and off in this area over the past six weeks.


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Most of the 3000+ Cackling Geese on the lawn at Delta Park were of the subspecies "minima" (Ridgway's Cackling Goose). There were a few Taverner's Cackling Geese present as well. The two bird in the foreground of this image offer a nice comparison between a typical adult Ridgways (left) and an adult Taverner's (right). Note the darker, glossy breast and shorter-necked look of the Ridgways. Taverner's are paler and non-glossy on the breast, as well as being larger and longer-necked. They are also longer-billed and their backs tend to be duller and less patterned than those of Ridgway's.


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Here's another comparison between a Taverner's Cackling Goose (sitting down in foreground) and a Ridgway's Cackling Goose immediately behind it. The the differences in brest color and glossiness, bill length, and back pattern.


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Here's a hatch-year Ridgway's Cackling Goose. Note the brown rather than black head and neck sock and the very small rounded feathers on the mantle, scapulars, and coverts and scaly appearance of the flanks.


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