Friday, March 16, 2012

Where should I go birding in April?

Spring migration starts slowly, but by the middle of April every day seems to bring in new species. Not only are there the first flycatchers, vireos, warblers, Western Tanagers, and Black-headed Grosbeaks, there are thousands of shorebirds coursing their way north on the outer beaches and mudflats and inland pond edges!

Where to go birding? It's so hard to decide!

One of the rather uncommon species to migrate through the Pacific NW in spring is the Solitary Sandpiper. Its spring migration window is very narrow, primarily the last week of April and first week of May. Its preferred habitat during this time is flooded farm fields, ditches, and shallow marshes.

A favorite place I like to go in April to view Solitary Sandpipers is Killin Wetlands, west of Portland 20 miles at Banks (C-3 on the Columbia Loop Guide of the Willamette Valley Birding Trail). Other target species here then include usually visible American Bittern, making their odd pumping noises, and clattering rails, both Sora and the Virginia's Rail.

Where are you planning on watching birds in the coming month and what species do you hope to see there? Are you a field trip organizer? We want to hear what you offer (fee or free). Leave your response in the Comments section as ideas for others.

Birding festivals:

Olympic BirdFest
March 30-April 1, 2012
Sequim, Washington

John Scharff Migratory Bird Festival
April 12-15, 2012
Burns, Oregon

Birding and Blues Festival
April 13-15, 2012
Pacific City, Oregon

Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival
April 19-25, 2012
Arcata, California

Dubois Grouse Days
April 27-28, 2012
Dubois, Idaho

Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival
April 27-29, 2012
Point Reyes Station, West Marin, California