Posted by: atowhee | February 10, 2017


There was cold wind, recurring rain squalls, rainbows, ducks after delicious daphnia, a kiting Rough-legged Hawk and a dense flock of Least Sandpipers constantly circling and banking for another pass.  These shorebirds were in the air the whole three-quarters of an hour I was at Sheridan Sewer Ponds.  They never landed but when the light was right the dark heads, short beaks and white bellies glowed in the sun cheating through the broken storm clouds.
The Least Sandpipers at this time of year are a surprise to eBird. But checking eBird I find records in this part of the Willamette Valley* for every week of the year.  This species is scarcest here in June. This flock may have been sweep inland from coast during recent storms.   While Osprey, Turkey Vultures, Tree Swallows and cranes may begin appearing north of wintering grounds this month, it is too early for these little guys to be migrating.  Storm vagrants is my guess.

Ducks on daphnia at sewer out flow…Shovelers, scaup, coots and even a few Bufflehead off camera.daphnia-crowdThe rough-legged Hawk, first seen hovering over the sewer ponds, later moved across Hwy 18 to soar along the foothills on north edge of Sheridan town.rlh-from-belorlhl-prfctrlh-prfct3rlh-s1Male scaup, coot I watched a flock of Golden-crowned Sparrows came out of the berry thicket, began to feed along the road and then bathe in the puddles.gc-puddlinggc-puddling2

Sheridan South Side Park and Fishing Pond, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 10, 2017 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM.  12 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  4
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  20
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  8
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  2
American Coot (Fulica americana)  50
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  2
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  15
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  18

Sheridan WTP Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 10, 2017 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM.  15 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  1
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  200
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  300
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  50
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  1
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  30
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)  100     single flock, in the air circling the whole time I was there
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3

  • I searched Polk, Washington and Yamhill Counties which stack up here in the northwest corner of the Willamette and contain two national wildlife refuges: Tualatin River and Baskett Slough.

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