Posted by: atowhee | September 18, 2015


I had the enjoyment of talking to the Corvallis Audubon Society last night about Great Gray Owls–over sixty humans in attendance.  No owls seen.  On the way down Hwy 99W from McMinnville I visited some of the hot spots.  Baskett Slough was my first stop, dry but not completely arid.  The ponds were busy places.

BIRD OF THE DAY:  My first Fox Sparrow of the season, just before the summer deadline when the calendar claims it  is officially autumn. The sparrow was in the thickets along one of the paved roads weathering away at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area north of Corvallis.FOX-S (1280x960) FOX-S FOX-S2 (1280x960)


The last storm clouds from the overnight front were moving north on the face of a gusting wind.  The afternoon was mild with occasional bursts of sun through gaps in the thinning clouds.  Swallows were on the wing.  A hundred Barn Swallows for every Violet-green.  Scrub-Jays naturally observed my intrusion, making comments as required by Scrub-law.  BASKETT SCRUB (1280x960) BASKETT SKYOn one ridegetop stood this tall, dead tree.  I dubbed it “TV antenna” in honor of its tenants.  Like the swallows, these birds are moving south.TV ANTENNA2Also on migration were my only shorebirds of the afternoon, a half dozen Red-necked Phalarope.  No Killdeer but six phalarope.RNP SWIM-A RNP SWIM-B (1280x960)On the move, if not exactly migrating, a woolly bear. WOOLLY BEAR (1280x960)Great Blue Heron flying off whist dropping ballast.GBH FLIZ (1280x960)At least ten muskrats were motoring around two large ponds and the narrow canal connecting them. M-RAT CANAL1 (1280x960) M-RAT CANAL2 (1280x960)This muskrat was shuffling, or even shambling.  I heard no saxophones and certainly would not call this a “Muskrat Ramble.”M-RAT1 (1280x960) M-RAT2 (1280x960) M-RATY SWIMS (1280x960)

PEAVY ARBORETUM BEW IN LEAVES (1280x960)There was a determined pair of Bewick’s Wrens, accompanied by their neighbors, S. Towhee Esquire and wife, who were going to be certain that I did linger along the trail next to their particular patch of lush undergrowth.   BEW1 (1280x960) BEW2 (1280x960)They made a few short comments but mostly they gave me their best “get outta here” stare.  I am contually glad I am not an inch-long caterpillar trying to hide. BEW3 (1280x960)BEW BLURD (1280x960)

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US
Sep 17, 2015 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM
20 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  7
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  7
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  17
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)  6
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  5
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  8
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  20
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  500
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  1
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  1
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  4
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  40

E.E. Wilson WMA, Benton, Oregon, US
Sep 17, 2015 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM.  12 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  4
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  3
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  4
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  1
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  1     first of the season for me
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  40

Peavy Arboretum, Benton, Oregon, US
Sep 17, 2015 4:30 PM – 5:10 PM.  5 species

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  3
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  2
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2

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