One Way to Record a WAVE File to Post on eBird

After a few failed attempts yesterday I finally recorded a bird song on an iPhone app called “RODE rec” and was able to post it onto an eBird list. Seems simple but it took me enough struggle to post step by step directions here. First is just the app. RODE rec was chosen because of online reviews suggesting that it is a reasonably good free app to record wave files. You can record using the phone recorder, but you get a less usable type file.

On opening the RODE rec app you will need to go through a registration process, but on future openings you’ll see something like this:

To make a new recording just click on the + icon at the bottom. Then you’ll see a screen like this:

All you need to do to record is tap the big red “Record” button, then when you are done tap on the green “Stop” button.

This much is pretty simple. I had difficult getting the recording to play. The trick is to swipe the gray band on the bottom all the way back to the left so that it resets to the beginning. After recording the gray band is all the way to the right, i.e. finished. See this screen shot below of the “finished” recording:

Compare to this one after swiping the gray band back to the far left:

Next I just emailed the recording to myself. To do this select the recording you want to send, and tap the “Upload arrow” on the upper right screen. Choose email, send the file to your self.

Then you move the recording from your email to a location you can drop and drag it to the “media” section on eBird (just like dropping and dragging or selecting a photo). One thing to note is that unlike a photo which is immediately visible on your eBird list, the audio file takes a while to be processed. My first one was able to be listened to on eBird by the next day.

I believe using a microphone or parabola will give a better recording, but this one with just my phone was passable and I’m pretty happy with it. Good luck. Ed

Types of Color in Birds

I knew that the blue color of most birds is not a pigment but rather due to feather structure, and that the iridescence of hummingbird gorgets and some other iridescent bird colors is also non-pigment related, but just how this works was hard to wrap my brain around. I just stumbled onto a nice, short article on the Cornell site that reviews these different ways birds have color. Enjoy:

How Birds Make Colorful Feathers

2017 Annual Skagit Trip

A tiny part of large flock of near in Snow geese, not the one “blue goose”.

Sunday Dec 3 Ken Brown organized and led the annual Skagit and Samish Flat’s birding trip. This year so many ABC’ers wanted to come that he spit the trip into two groups to avoid a long caravan in traffic on the flats. The first group met Ken at the Smoky Point Rest Stop at 7:30, and the second group met shortly after about 8 AM and Ed Pullen along with lots of other strong birders headed out to follow Ken’s route.

First we got off on the first exit north of the rest area, Exit 208, and went left through Silvana and then left onto Norman Rd. Shortly after getting onto Norman Road at a house with several feeders a nice variety of feeder birds were seen, including a White-throated sparrow by just a few of us when it showed very briefly. A Sharp-shinned hawk was fanning its tail to dry in a nearby tree, and a merlin perched on a distant tree top. Further down Norman Rd was our second falcon of the day, an American kestrel, as well as several groups of Trumpeter swans and lots of fly-over Snow geese.

Prairie Falcon on Boe Rd

Where Norman Rd intersects Marine Drive, we went directly across to Boe Road where we had great looks at a Prairie falcon, first located by Bruce Labar, as well as American Kestrel and Merlin, bringing Ken’s group to 4 falcons (Ed’s would get Peregrine later, but Ken’s group had one in travel), as well as American Pipits, both common buteos Red-tailed and Rough-legged hawks, a Cooper’s hawk Ken located tucked in a distant tree, lots of Bald eagles, Western meadowlarks, as well as more and larger flocks of Snow geese overhead.

Subsequent stops at Thomie and Edie Roads yielded more of the same, and in Ed’s group the Willet’s (back care as always) brought us back to see a Northern Shrike.

Northern Shrike in the thorny brambles

From here we headed north to Skagit County, traveling on back roads up to Fir Island. At Wylie Slough we found 6 Greater yellowlegs, Ed saw 12 Black-bellied plover fly by, and we sorted through large flocks of Pine siskins hoping for a Common redpoll, and though Ken found one brief look at a likely possibility, none of us could pull a redpoll out of the hyperactive flocks of 250+ siskins.

Our group at Wylie Slough

At Hayton Reserve we were treated to an estimated 8-10,000 Dunlin in a huge flock on the high-tide remaining mudflats. Two peregrines put on a show dueling for apparent territorial rights to the flock, while the Dunlin dazzled with evasive flocking behavior. A good variety of ducks, a Harlan’s Red-tailed hawk, 12 Greater yellowlegs and about 50 Long-billed dowitchers added to our day list.

It was getting late so we skipped the rest of the dike access areas on Fir Island, and headed for the Samish Flats. A potty stop at Bayview State Park added remarkably little action on the water, with Horned grebe, Common and Barrow’s goldeneyes, and a DC Cormorant the only new species.

The Samish Flats, with most of our time spent at the West 90, yielded more sunshine, a flock of an estimated 20,000 Snow geese with at least one nicely seen ‘blue goose”, more peregrines, kestrels, a single short eared owl flew in the distance as dusk approached but probably the most unusual bird of the day was a single Long-billed curlew in a large flock of Ring-billed gulls fairly close in on one of the muddy rivulets.
Overall a nice day was had by all, and Ed’s group totaled 82 species for the trip. (Ken can make a comment re his groups totals.)

Long-billed curlew at Hayton Reserve

ABC Fall Coast Trip

The group Monday at the Tokeland Marina from Diane Y-Q.

Per our annual routine Ken Brown led us on a coastal birding trip, this time a Sunday-Monday rather than the usual Saturday-Sunday because Ken, Ed, Laurel, and Lisa went on the Westport Seabirds Saturday pelagic out of Westport. The highlights of the pelagic trip were Laysan Albatross, Short-tailed shearwater, Buller’s shearwater, calm seas, sunny skies, and a huge flock of seabirds trailing a fish processing boat off Willapa Canyon. There were an estimated 5000 birds, with >50% Northern Fulmar, with lots in all three morphs, and seemingly every mutation of the morphs.

Sunday we met at the Point Brown Jetty where a steady stream of Sooty shearwaters, two Parasitic jaegers, loons, ducks, and gulls were seen, but no rock-birds. This was the story of the weekend really, nice weather, good comradery, and few shorebirds. We made several stops on the open coastal beach finding primarily Sanderling, then stops at the north end of the Oyhut Game Range (nearly devoid of shorebirds but nice looks at Merlin and Peregrine falcon) where we did manage to see an American golden plover far away across the tidal ingress stream with a flock of other shorebirds. This prompted us to return to the south end of the game range to try for closer looks at the shorebird flock. We were able to get nicer looks at the AGPL but most of the peeps had moved on.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Hoquiam STP, where shorebirds were surprisingly nearly absent. We had a 7 LBDO and 15 KILL as the only shorebirds, but did see 8 Greater white-fronted geese and a modest variety of other waterfowl.
We had dinner at the usual Mexican place and overnight at the Best Western Plus (the old Guesthouse) by the river.
Monday AM we awakened to fairly dense fog by the river, and were relieved that it cleared as we drove south to Westport. At the Coast Guard Station end of the marina area we had the flock of Marbled godwits, estimated at 600+, and easily picked out the Bar-tailed godwit which in its current plumage is much paler than the MAGOs and easier than usual to find. We spent a bit of time in the overgrown fields by the Coast Guard Station and Fox sparrows were singing, WEME were found, a few American pipits were on the sparsely vegetated ground area to the left of the road in, and the sun started to warm things up a bit.
From here we headed to Bottle Beach where we had 47 species, highlighted by a grand total of 1 shorebird. A single Black-bellied plover clung to a piece of sunken driftwood as the tide came in, but no other shorebirds at all were seen. We had a good time birding the upland area finding a fair variety of passerines.
We had lunch at the Tokeland Marina, where nice new picnic tables gave us views of the wintering Willets, and we looked hard for unusual water birds, really finding nothing other than the usual Common loons, and a variety of grebes, ducks, and gulls.
At Graveyard spit we did see Caspian terns and 3 Bonaparte’s gulls, but no curlew or whimbrels.
Our last stop was at Westhaven SP where we hoped for the missing rock birds, but only Black Turnstones were found which we had already the day prior at the base of the jetty.
A good time was had by all, a big group of 19 on Sunday and 21 on Monday.

2017 Northeast WA Trip Report

Lark sparrow was a lifer for at least one of us seen on the last day at the Moses Lake Rookery entrance road.

Ken Brown led a trip to NE Washington from Thursday June 29- Sunday July 2 and we visited many of our old favorite sites and a few newer ones while totaling 148 species.
We met at the Snoqualmie Pass Reststop at 7:25 AM after hitting tough traffic and being tardy for our 7 AM meet-up. From there we headed east, our first birding stop at the Winchester Wasteway Ponds where we looked for and did not find American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt. Killdeer was the only shorebird there. We went on to Sprague Lake in Adams County, where among 42 species our favories were a Grasshopper sparrow who atypically sat on a fenceline giving great views to all and Black terns and Franklin’s Gull giving distant looks thanks to Chazz who scoped them just as we were about to leave. See Heather Voboril’s photos of the GRSP on our href=”″ target=”_blank”>ebird list. Additional Thursday stops were at the Sprague WTP, a stop for Burrowing Owl on the Sprague Hwy which was seen only by a few when it flushed and went into hiding in the tall grass, Brown’s Lake, the Reardon Ponds good for waterfowl, Newton Road and the vicinity in Valley trying without luck for Bobolink but surprised to hear Sora, and Hafer Road where at mid-afternoon Clay-colored Sparrow was not found. We had dinner at Subway after sweating and waiting in an upstairs Mexican Restaurant without even getting a menu, and headed for Little Pend Oreille NWR Cottonwood Campground for the night. On the way in we saw and heard Common Nighthawk and a small flock of 8 Wild Turkey as the sun set.
We camped at the Cottonwood Campground, and were up early. Heather saw a cow moose near the port-a-potty about 4 AM, but most of us slept a bit later and missed seeing a moose. We started birding at 7 AM after breaking camp and having an early breakfast. Birding was slower than is usual at the campground, missing American Redstart but seeing the expected Red-eyed vireo along with it’s genus-mates Warbling and hearing Cassin’s vireo. At the Headquarters we got the two expected hummers, Caliope and Black-chinned, but again missed AMRE. On the Auto loop our favorites were a family of White-headed woodpeckers at a nest hole see photos, along with Gray catbird and a good variety of other species. At Amazon Creek Marsh the vegetation was filling in the wetlands more than we’d remembered and we struggled for brief looks but prolonged listens to American Redstart and Northern waterthrush. We headed for Big Meadow Lake Campground to set up for the night, but despite getting there about 2 PM it was full. We anguished over how to proceed. We decided to skip birding there and look for another place to stay. It was fortunate we did as we barely found the last two sites an an unexpectedly nice campground Edgewater Campground nearby. We set up camp, looked around a bit, and drove back to Iona for dinner. This worked out pretty well. Bruce Labar heard a Western Screech Owl call once after most of us were sleeping, and Chazz and Donna heard a Common Poorwill early the next morning. Most of us just slept well ;.)
Saturday we were up early to head for Salmo Pass. There we got great looks at American three-toed woodpecker, fleeting looks at Boreal chickadee (see Heather’s photos) and really enjoyed seeing Pine Grosbeaks. After the pass we drove almost to the Salmo Mountain Lookout, stopping at the parking lot just below the tower, where we added Mountain Bluebird, heard and saw Townsend’s solitaire, and on the way back down had great looks at American three-toed woodpecker (though disappointed after some of us initially thought it was BBWO) see photos Before heading for a much needed shower and bed in Colville, we made a stop to see the Mill Pond chute.

digiscope photo of Clay-colored sparrow. See Heather’s photo on the ebird list for better shots.

Sunday we made up for missing Clay-colored sparrow by showing up earlier, and immediately heard them singing and everyone got great looks at both adults and juveniles on Hafer Rd. Heather got nice photos. and next we tried really hard for Bobolinks again in Valley. No luck but nothing beats morning in a marsh, and we really had fun seeing close-in fly by looks at both Wilson’s phalarope and Black tern. See e-bird list for photos. Next were killer looks at Ferruginous Hawks outside Odessa (see great photos by Heather) before driving to the rookery at Moses Lake for Black-crowned Night-heron and Lark Sparrow. The trip home was uneventful and I at least enjoyed my own bed last night. Another great ABC trip. Thanks to Ken for leading, Heather for being our photographer, and all for coming.