Posted by: atowhee | September 9, 2020


The most important fact today: smoke. Second: orange sky, the color of…oh don’t get me started down the political rabbit-hole.

Four OF us socially distanced from one another but cuddled right up to the smoke. The swallows cuddled one another on the wires as is their wont. There was no visible ash fall as there has been for a day in central Salem, east of Baskett Slough. Birds were behaving normally–eating, calling, perching, flying, swimming, soaring. The American Goldfinches seemed most particularly pleased as thistles and other seed-bearers are baring and bearing and even berrying right now, a veggie cornucopia.


My first American Pipit of the season, at Parvipes Marsh, with water!

Above: goldfinches, harrier, flicker, nutria, scrub-jay and other colorful characters beneath a color-altering sky.

As I took shots of the Red-tail on his utility cross-bar, he got anxious and departed for parts unspecified:

Outta here

Then there was this pathetic fellow, a late summer fledgling of the Song Sparrow persuasion. Feathers pointed in all directions, greasy look, no tail to speak of–at least he doesn’t have to migrate like the first year swallows we saw on fences and power lines.

Got a comb?


Turkey Vultures:

Swallows abundant:

The best birding was around Parvipes Marsh, still accessible from the parking lot at Livermore/Smithfield Roads at north side of refuge. The trail there will close on October 1. Parvipes has water. There was none in those marshes on either side of Coville Road which presently provides only one important thing–the toilet building.
Thanks to Salem Audubon for carefully organizing these small bird outings. No thanks to global warming for the soot and ash in our lungs.

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US
Sep 9, 2020. 31 species

Canada Goose  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
Green-winged Teal  X
California Quail  20
Pied-billed Grebe  10
Eurasian Collared-Dove  1
Mourning Dove  2
American Coot  50
Killdeer  1
Dunlin  12     flock flying over, dark necks, longish bill decurved, right size for dunlin
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Turkey Vulture  14
Northern Harrier  6
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  3
California Scrub-Jay  4
Violet-green Swallow  30
Barn Swallow  250
Marsh Wren  1
European Starling  X
American Pipit  3
American Goldfinch  200
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  10
Spotted Towhee  6
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Common Yellowthroat  3

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