Posted by: atowhee | September 26, 2020


Our McMinnville Parks bird walk at Baskett Slough this morning coincided with youth hunting day, and lots of gunfire. Waterfowl were almost invisible. When was the last time you saw more harriers than Canada Geese on a birding trip to a marsh in Oregon? Today it was 12 to 1.
The usual trails were closed so we went to some areas where there were no nearby hunters.
It was a day for migration: kettles of Turkey Vultures. One along Livermore Road included a Peregrine. Was he on the move, or just enjoying the ride of sun-induced thermals? Later, when clouds had blocked the sun and even brought some drizzle I spotted two forlorn TVs perched on a utility pole. Soaring is good, wing flaps will be discouraged.

Our best birding was along Livermore Road–Coop, Red-shoulder, snipe, a slew of Great Egrets, Peregrine and our only teal.

We had two birds today that must pride themselves on being cryptic. At the Coville Pond we had a fly-by…and it turned out to be an American Bittern with dark outer border on its wings.

Then there was the snipe who looked very much like the mud and grasses in the marsh where he stood.

Zooming in he becomes obvious:

Images by Albert Ryckman:

Harriers and TVs were the most numerous raptors today–migration in progress. A few harriers will over-winter.

We didn’t see a single adult male harrier.

Didn’t get the Peregrine, too fast and too far away. Here’s the posing Coop:

Those white tufts sticking out to the side at the base of the tail–leg muffs to keep foot and talons warm on cold days while patiently waiting for a junco to make a mistake.
Red-tail, in one shot a Barn Swallow, one of hundreds circling and feeding today:

Turkey Vultures were numerous, many riding thermals while the sun was visible. The small kettle was over the hillside at Van Duzer Winery:


The caterpillar, woolly bear, is the over-wintering spore of the isabella tiger moth. The little bear eats almost any palatable plant so the moths are widespread. The retreating ducks are GW Teal, the floating rodent is a nutria, the sparrow is a savannah. Did you find the American Goldfinches in the first image?
The female red-wings, seen from Smithfield Road.

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US–along Coville Road
Sep 26, 2020
25 species

Canada Goose  1
Mallard  6
American Bittern 1
American Coot  3
Turkey Vulture  5
Northern Harrier  3
Bald Eagle  1
Northern Flicker  2
American Kestrel  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Tree Swallow –viewed closely to know they weren’t VGS
Barn Swallow  X
Bewick’s Wren 1–singing
European Starling  X
American Goldfinch  X
Dark-eyed Junco  1
White-crowned Sparrow  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow  X
Savannah Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Lincoln’s Sparrow  X
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Baskett Slough NWR–Smithfield Rd., Polk, Oregon, US
Sep 26, 2020
10 species

Turkey Vulture  7
Northern Harrier  X
American Kestrel  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
European Starling  X
Cedar Waxwing  X
American Goldfinch  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Red-winged Blackbird, female flock 30

Livermore Rd., Polk, Oregon, US
Sep 26, 2020
24 species

Mallard  1
Green-winged Teal  3
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  12
Turkey Vulture  15
Northern Harrier  7
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1     chased by kestrel
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
American Kestrel  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  X
Common Raven  X
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  2
Cedar Waxwing  30
American Goldfinch  X
Song Sparrow  X

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