Posted by: atowhee | December 20, 2017


There is little daylight now, even when it is sunny.  The sun is low and night come early.  The longest thing I saw today was snipe beaks.


At Yamhill Sewer Ponds today Nora and I waded around the edge of the seasonal marsh.  We scared up six Wilson’s Snipe.  None of them were seen until they snorted loudly and took to the air in their whizzing, zig-zag flight of escape.  Such is the life of this mudpiper, its beak often probing the earth while the eyes in the top of the skull watch the sky overhead.  The beak has nerve endings that pick up vibrations, texture, smell and chemical traces.  Don’t imagine that a mudpiper’s beak is simply a hard insensitive appendage like a talon.  It is a sensory organ of great sensitivity. Snipe aloft:SNIPE UPPSNIPE UPP2

A kestrel was again present.  I suspect the couple that hunts there will nest nearby.FEMTREL

There was one quartet of little Cacklers meshed with a larger flock of larger Canada Geese.BIG-LITLHalf of the scaup present, there were some females in another part of this pond.LS-5Mr. Shoveler:SHOVONE

Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year, then the slow climb toward the equinox begins before Christmas.

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Dec 20, 2017 10:49 AM – 11:29 AM. 17 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  3
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  24
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  25
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  10
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  27
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)  6
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  4
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  2
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  7
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  6
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1

Hwy 47, North Yamhill County, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Dec 20, 2017. 6 species

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2
Steller’s Jay (Coastal) (Cyanocitta stelleri [stelleri Group])  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Dec 20, 2017. 14 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  2
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])  20
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  20
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X


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