Posted by: atowhee | September 29, 2017


There is a great deal of busyness around our bird feeders these days.  The American Goldfinches have lost their bright breeding plumage and grown their drabber winter feathers.  They are adding body fat in preparation for their migration south.  Few of this species will winter here in the Willamette Valley.  Meanwhile the chickadees (both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed) are present as well as the Red-breasted Nuthatches.  These birds are carrying off single seeds to cache for winter.  The goldfinches simply sit in the seeds and eat until filled or scared off.  The Bushtits come only for the suet and eat their fill which doesn’t take long as they are so small. Constant motion is their natural state.  Even when nearby they come and go in less than a minute usually though they may return only ten to fifteen minutes later.
Today we have both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees after food but they do not come and go together.

Rain has revived the smaller perennials on the forest floor, like the wild geraniums or the trunk-rooted licorice ferns.  But the deciduous trees continue their parade toward nakedness.  Colors are bolder and leaves more easily loosened by a breeze…except the stubborn oaks who leave their leaves the longest.

At Carlton Sewer Ponds, restricted access, there were at least 30 Wood Ducks today.  Yes, I was surprised and eBird demanded me to show cause why they should believe should an unusual claim.  They out-numbered Mallards.
In the nearby weed border along the plowed fields: sparrows, mostly Savannah.  In the fields a mixed flock of Killdeer and American Pipits, the latter are my first in the county this fall.

Goldfinch gild the feeders:amgo on wireamgos moramgos mostamgosx2Pipits abroad in a plowed field, what to do?  Find the general area with your camera, wait for motion to move through visual field and try to zoom in before the bird vanishes…fortunately they hunt and pounce like plovers so they are not always in motion.  Find the bird in this first shot?FIELDAP-CU1Creeper, half of a pair, on beloved oak at Wennerberg yesterday when there was no rain.bc-oakbc-oak2Who put up this sign?  Anybody smart enough to not be part of the Trump Administration knows that Song Sparrows can’t read:sosp can;t readThe latest fall fashions.  Here is evidence that a wise rodent is hay-gathering while the harvest is still fresh and green.  No need to come above ground when it is cold and wet if there’s enough hay laid by. makin' hayRed osier dogwood in the creek at Wennerberg. RED OS Licorice ferns are among the first to take advantage of the opening of the season, the rainy season–at Joe Dancer Park.  I told a poet friend that I feel these delicate, unfurling fiddleheads are a poem by nature.lic frn nuLEAVS3leavs2leavs

Carlton City Sewer Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Sep 29, 2017 10:10 AM – 10:20 AM. 8 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  30
Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas)  X
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  8
American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)  2–there were probably many more I didn’t see through the rain
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  40
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  20



  1. I give… I can’t find the Pipit in the wide angle picture 🙂

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