Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where should I go birding in August?

 Hot and dry. That is August in the Pacific Northwest. Thus, birding in late summer is often concentrated around finding water where birds concentrate.

Even more than July, birding in August revolves around shorebirds at quickly-drying inland marshes and high tide roosts along the coast.

Another cool location is the high mountains. Access to alpine areas in August may provide you with views of many birds moving upslope to cooler wetter areas. It has been several years now, but I love camping in the park-like pondersoa forests on the east slope of the Cascades and making day trips to various surrounding areas to find wonderful birds amid snow-capped mountains and blue skies. Use the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail brochure as your guide.

If you want to get away from the heat, a pelagic trip at this time of year is often cool and frequently misty--at least in the mornings. Trips offshore at this time of year feature Long-tailed Jaegers, Sabine's Gulls, Arctic Terns, and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, along with the regulars like Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, and Rhinoceros Auklets.

I'll be attending the 26th annual Oregon Shorebird Festival, August 24-26. The Bird Guide, Inc. will be hosting the pelagic trip for the Shorebird Festival, something we've been doing for several years now (sorry; no more spaces available!). The Friday and Saturday night presentations are top notch. Friday's speaker is Noah Strycker, speaking about his Antarctic adventures: "Among Penguins." Noah has subsequently completed walking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. He's been busy! The field trips are led by knowledgeable and friendly local birders. Dawn Grafe, with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, has ably and cheerfully organized this Festival for several years. Attendance is only 60-100 persons. You shouldn't miss it!

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:

Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival
August 1-4, 2012
Sierra Vista, Arizona

Oregon Shorebird Festival
August 24-26, 2012
Charleston, Oregon

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