Posted by: atowhee | June 7, 2020


Three of us birded Grand Island this morning…with a short stop along Webfoot Road en route.  After a cold, damp night the birds were singing, busy feeding, sitting at nests and doing all the things that make spring birding so great here in the Northern Hemisphere near the 45th Parallel.  The only species we saw today that was new for me on Grand Island–Band-tailed Pigeon.  We saw them several times, usually one or two together.  At the river greenway pull-out they were calling from more than one part of the forest canopy.
We also spotted a covey of quail disappearing into the brush.  It was only the fourth time I’ve seen that species on Grand Island.

Coming onto the island we stopped at the Lambert Slough Bridge.  It is used each year as a nesting site by a colony of Cliff Swallows.  Today they were zipping back and forth, perhaps still nest  building, one mouthful of mud at a time:csw over lambt (2)Later we stopped at the old Heiser Barn on the east side of island. Another Cliff Swallow condo:

The barn owners rolled up on their ATV, and we chatted  Years ago when they first owned the barn they had thought to defeat the swallows, but soon realized they were out-numbered.  Now they look forward to the annual return.  At least as good as Capistrano, I figure.  The owners keep the barn doors sealed so the Cliff colony is all outside, but the barn’s red painted is thoroughly streaked with swallows’ white-wash.  Wed marveled at how these small navigators can go winter thousands of miles away and then return to this exact barn, right on time, every spring.  May the bug supply never run out. The books say they winter mostly in Brazil and Argentina!  Portland, Oregon, to Buenos Aires–6830 miles if you’re counting.

Would you put this Bald Eagle on a postage stamp?  First year bird, nicknamed “Scruffy” by the crow population on Grand Island:scruffy (2)

Two Osprey platforms were occupied by mated couples.  One platform seemed unused and then we saw this fourth one:TV TWOUP (2)TVs using an Osprey platform?  I’ve never even conceived of such a thing.  So exposed.  So far from a forest or even row of trees.  Then I saw a third TV soaring nearby, then I had the sense to look below the platform:TV TWODOWN (2)Aha, the Osprey platform was just a convenient observation post.  A meal had been served at the base of the utility pole.

Hairy Woodpecker, they were hunting as a pair.  This is the female:

Flycatchers–two shots of a wood-pewee, followed by two shots of a Willow, first discerned because he was calling “fitz-brew”.

Blue Herons airborne:

White-crowned Sparrows were in the open areas of the island:


Nutria escapes, molluscs on the move.  The two snails were more than two feet above the ground on narrow stalks:

Grand Island Loop, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jun 7, 2020. 42 species

California Quail  X
Band-tailed Pigeon  X     several calling in forest along the river; seen in at least five locations
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Mourning Dove  X
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Rufous Hummingbird  2
Great Blue Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  6
Osprey  4
Bald Eagle  3
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Red-breasted Sapsucker  2
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Western Wood-Pewee  2
Willow Flycatcher  1
Steller’s Jay  2
California Scrub-Jay  X
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  150     colonies nesting on Keiser Barn and beneath bridge onto the island
Bushtit  2
Brown Creeper  1
European Starling  X
Swainson’s Thrush  30     singing in every piece of forest underbrush we visited
American Robin  X
Cedar Waxwing  X
Purple Finch  X     singing
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  X
White-crowned Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Spotted Towhee  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  X     several singing

Webfoot Road, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jun 7, 2020
12 species

Mallard  4
Red-tailed Hawk  1
European Starling  X
American Robin  X
Cedar Waxwing  X
House Finch  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X
White-crowned Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  X

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