Posted by: atowhee | September 25, 2015


Paul Sullivan and I spent a busy two hours at Sheridan Sewer Ponds this morning.  There must have been 2000 waterbirds on the ponds.  The riparian corridor, full of yellowish-tinted ash trees on the western edge of the pond property was also alive with birds.  And the sky was twice hit by a tsunami of hungry, migrating swallows.

We totaled ten waterfowl species including Cackling Geese and my first Ring-ducked Ducks in the county.  Highlight for me was Paul calling out pipit heard overhead and within a few seconds the two birds chased one another out of the sky and landed on the dike-topping road in front of us.   Just as we had unconsciously requested.

Among the migrants present were both Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, aforementioned pipits, Eared Grebe, Western Sandpiper and two species of swallow.

The rain stopped as we arrived, conveniently enough.  But the photos were all taken through the gray scrim of a very wet, poorly lighted atmosphere.  erd grb (1280x960)Eared Grebe above, Wood Ducks below with males already in breeding plumage.  The Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, Pintails and Shovelers are all in their drab outfits right now. W-D1 (1280x960) W-D2 (1280x960)The bold feathers of the Wood Ducks mean they are fully able to fly.  When they molt in late summer both sexes lose the ability to fly temporarily until their wing feathers grow back.  Not many birds take the evolutionary risk of losing the ability to fly. W-D3 (1280x960)Here are three grebes topped by two swallows, which is what we often saw on and above the ponds.  Why? Swarms of  swallows. grbs3-swlo (1280x960)After a cold, rainy night the swallows were hungry, feeding over the ponds and then apparently stopping on the exposed dark gravel to warm up using a little solar energy. SWLO FLTR (1280x960) SWLO FLTR2 (1280x960) swlo fltr4 (1280x960) swlo fltr7 (1280x960) swlo fltr8 (1280x960) swlo rod (1280x960)Thge swallow swarms seemed to be composed of only two species: Barn and Violet-green. swlo rox quiet (1280x960) swlo rox swrm (1280x960)When not disturbed by something real or imaginery, whole seconds would tick past with no swallow taking off or landing. swlo rox1 (1280x960) swlo rox2 (1280x960) swlo rox-gud (1280x960)Flicker:NOFL (1280x960)Shoveler, the most abundant bird there today, in small coterie around bubbler which seemed to be delivering the good stuff these dabblers desire.  I tried not to imagine what they were eating. SHOV BUBBLE (1280x960)Waxwings in the alders, including many first-fall birds, still streaky on the chest WAX ARISE (1280x960) WAX BAX (1280x960) WAX FLIZ (1280x960) WAX FRNT (1280x960) WAX FRNT3 (1280x960)Wilson’s Snipe, same bird in two locations on the water’s edge.snipe on rox (1280x960) snipe over-bst (1280x960)

Sheridan WTP Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Sep 25, 2015 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM.  32 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  2
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  2
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  20     not unusual at this location I’m told
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  40
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  1000
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  4
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  10
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  5
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  25
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)  20     on migration
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  200
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  6
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)  1
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  4
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  300
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  150
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)  2
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  100
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  15

Spotted Towhee  1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  2
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  30

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