Posted by: atowhee | December 31, 2016


The dog and I were headed north on Westside Road on our way to Wennerberg Park.  About two miles north of McMinnville, at the first creek north of Baker Creek, I zipped past a small raptor sitting in a tree by a large metal barn.  The bird wasn’t tail-wagging  like the usual Kestrel.  It was out in the open on a high branch.  That bird brain element that strengthens with hundreds of hours in the field sent out a clear “go look” message.   I turned around, drove back, found a safe pull-out. I thought the compact brown bird might be a Merlin.  In the back of my mind I heard two messages:  “Move along, you are scaring away my brunch.”
“You’re an annoyance,  but I shall remain long after you are gone.”coop-wsr
I took my photos, wished him well and left.  Able to examine the details in the images once I got home, it became clear this was a young Cooper’s Hawk. The markings on the chest feathers says “accipiter,” the rounded tail indicates a Coop.  There is no certainty without a DNA test but it will be a Coop in eBird in perpetuity.


At Carlton Sewer Ponds the  Bufflehead dominated. There were also plenty of Shovelers there for the daphnia main course. The quartet of wigeons were a pleasant surprise, not a bird I see often at the two north Yamhill Sewer Ponds–Carlton and Yamhill town.

The fields adjacent to the sewer ponds still wore their frosting at 10AM as the temp slowly approached 33 degrees. On the frozen field a group of Crows were feeding.  One had given out the loud caw and the other five flew from the trees to join the caller. They moved about, evidently finding something worth attention.cro1cro2cro3cro4cro5The one crow in the air is trying to make you think he’s a Raven with that fanned out tail…it is a maneuver to slow slight before landing on the frozen earth.  Later I did see 3 roadside Ravens along Hwy 47 south of Carlton.cro6After an overnight frosting:frost1frost2

For now, high and dry in the creekside willows, a flood orphan: flood-orphan

Westside Road, Yamhill County, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Dec 31, 2016.  5 species
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X

Carlton City Sewer Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Dec 31, 2016 10:15 AM – 10:30 AM.  8 species
American Wigeon (Anas americana)  4
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  27
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  31
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  6
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  20
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  6
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1


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