Spring Birding at Theler

Spring is an exciting, crazy time to be birdwatching in the Pacific Northwest; you never know what to expect. Most of the birds that overwinter (the Grebes, Goldeneyes, Mergansers, etcetera) have left. Many birds making long treks to breeding areas are passing through. A few of our summer residents have returned. Although the shorebird migration is definitely the most spectacular part of the migration since birds are concentrated in a few areas, songbird migrations are equally fascinating, just a lot harder to photograph.

Theler Wetlands was near bursting with warblers on a recent Sunday, though it was much easier to hear them than to get pictures of them. This male Myrtle Yellow-Rumped Warbler in breeding colors sat still long enough to get his picture taken.

 Myrtle Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Since the pond at Theler was drained I’ve seen a number of new birds there, but I’ve never seen a Least Sandpiper there before.


After getting my second shot of a Least Sandpiper for the second time in as many weeks, I was beginning to wonder of there is a larger than usual influx of them this year.

I also caught sight of a seldom-seen male Cinnamon Teal on the creek.

male Cinnamon Teal

The “highlight” of the day, though, was this shot of a Sora,


my first sighting ever even though it’s a common summer-resident at Theler. I wouldn’t have seen this one if it hadn’t been for Shawn. As you can perhaps tell from the photo, it was in heavy shade and barely visible most of the time except for the bright yellow beak. I’ve been back twice with much better light and looked for it but still haven’t seen it, not surprising since I hadn’t seen it the first five years I visited Theler.

I see swallows all the time, but that’s a good thing. For me it’s a sure sign that Summer is near. Few things make me feel better than having swallows, whether Tree Swallows

Tree Swallow

or Barn Swallows

Barn Swallow

buzzing me while walking down the trail, even if I’ve only manage to get shots of them sitting on the boardwalk railing.

7 thoughts on “Spring Birding at Theler”

  1. That Sora is interesting Loren – I don’t know the bird at all, but it is interesting in that it appears to be searching in the mud and yet has not got the right sort of beak for that kind of activity.
    But the photo that does it for me is the second from last = that exquisite barn swallow – almost irridenscent.

    1. A Sora looks a lot like a chicken to me, but they’re a part of the rail family. They eat small insects and seeds.

      I prefer the iridescent blue of the tree swallow, but sparrows are all beautiful birds in my mind.

  2. I’ll take the bright tree swallow as wallpaper for my PC for a while. My grand-father always said swallows only put nests in happy houses.

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