Posted by: atowhee | September 29, 2016


I may have seen my last Turkey Vultures of the year for the northern Willamette Valley.  I saw a handful at Hagg Lake and then one over McMinnville.  Nights are getting colder and soon those carcasses will freeze overnight, not the sort of diet to please the vulturian palate.

I found no shorebirds at Hagg Lake but plenty of ducks tucked back in the quiet inlets, away from fishermen and boats.  It was especially nice to see a small flock of Hooded Mergansers; the males had their white cheek windows only partially ajar.home-a1-1280x960 home-a2-1280x960Note the up-turning tails not quite as vertical as would be required to qualify as a Ruddy Duck. home-a3-1280x960 home-a4-1280x960Note male in foreground with his flaming eyeball.

One female Common Merganser was doing her plumage when I got there.come-hagg2-1280x960 come-hagg1-1280x960Goose Island:cago-is1-1280x960 cago-is2-1280x960Sapsucker beak-work: sap-tree-a-1280x960Scoggins Creek, major water source for the reservoir which is well below capacity right now. scogg-crk-1280x960Triffids?  Metal-legged crabs that feed on pesticides and radiation?  Alien invaders?  Protectors of spawning fish when there’s water?  Impediment to anchoring?  Clearly they are under water when the lake is full…triffids-1280x960Comment below indicates these are in fact to protect spawning fish…now all they need is enough water to cover them up.

Garden denizen, a shaded and shady character indeed. sql-2 sql-3

Henry Hagg Lake Park (Scoggins Valley Park), Washington, Oregon, US
Sep 29, 2016 12:05 PM – 1:05 PM.  12 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  50
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  20; Ring-necked Duck   1
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  12, the
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  5
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  3
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  5
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  16
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  2

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Sep 29, 2016 7:45 AM.  13 species

Four sparrow family species for the first time this season.  GC and Song are not in my garden during the breeding season.  Now if one of those traveling Whigte-crowns will just show up and bring a Fox Sparrow with him, we could get to a half dozen in a day with no vagrancy required.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  X
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  20


  1. I like the crabs

  2. Triffids = fish habitat structure enhancement placed by fishing /conservation organizations. They used to gather Christmas trees, bale a few together & weight them with cinderblocks to provide hiding places.

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