Posted by: atowhee | May 6, 2009

Phantastic Phalaropes–Oregon #229

The pair of phalaropes were paddling right along the shore of Howard Prairie Lake near Lily Glen County Park.  Just to the left of the sleeping White Pelicans.  And it was great to see them.  It was my first phalaropes [these being Red-necked] in Oregon, and for most of the OLLI birding class folks it was a new bird that they’d never even heard of.  We watched the two paddle about picking little critters off the lake surface, and talked about how the female is the bright and bold one, the pallid male stays with nest and eggs and rearing the chicks in the Arctic.

We had other good birds, despite the cold and rainy day.  Bullock’s Orioles and Western Tanagers at the cattle corral just before milepost 6 on Dead Indian Memorial.  A Lewis’s Woodpecker there, then a passle of them at the first juncture with Shale City Road.  At the prairie itself one carload saw some landing Snipe, the rest of us were left with the wing whirrs.  A lone Sandhill Crane marched across the sodden sod east of Howard Prairie Road.  A Red-shouldered Hawk.  A hunting female Kestrel, perhaps two.  There was a brief and distant glimpse there of a Mountain Bluebird.  All the side roads were clear of snow but we had to stick to the highway with our entourage of cars.  A couple of pleasant surprises: three Cinnamon Teal on the lake, a small circle of Dunlin circling overhead, then heading off northward.

Location:     Howard Prairie Circuit
Observation date:     5/6/09
Notes:     OLLI field with intermittent rain and then wind at Howard Prairie Lake.  Orioles and Tanagers were just uphill from Milepost 5 on Dead Indian Memorial Road.
Number of species:     39

Canada Goose     40
Wood Duck     2
Gadwall     2
American Wigeon     6
Mallard     16
Cinnamon Teal     3
Double-crested Cormorant     10
Turkey Vulture     1
Osprey     1
Red-shouldered Hawk     1
American Kestrel     2
Sandhill Crane     1
Killdeer     4
Dunlin     24

Wilson’s Snipe    3
Red-necked Phalarope     2
Ring-billed Gull     25
Lewis’s Woodpecker     15
Acorn Woodpecker     4
Western Wood-Pewee     1
Steller’s Jay     3
Western Scrub-Jay     2
Common Raven     3
Tree Swallow     50
Barn Swallow     1
Red-breasted Nuthatch     1
Mountain Bluebird     1

American Robin     3
European Starling     6
Western Tanager     2
Chipping Sparrow     2
Lark Sparrow     4
Savannah Sparrow     1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     2
Black-headed Grosbeak     1
Red-winged Blackbird     10
Western Meadowlark     5
Bullock’s Oriole     2
Purple Finch     3

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