Posted by: atowhee | December 4, 2020


The dog and I did some Christmas Count scouting, and checked out Fairview Wetlands. When we first arrived the sun had not yet melted all the ice from the overnight freeze. There we saw a baby nutria for the first time. It was the size of an uncut salami, with a tail. He couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old, perhaps born there after the marsh started taking on water after October rains.

Here’s what one website says about nutria breeding: “Nutria are highly prolific and breed all year. Reproductive peaks occur in late winter, early summer, and mid-autumn. Reproduction and survival may be influenced by extreme weather conditions. Nutria reach sexual maturity at 4 to 7 months. Sexually mature male nutria can breed throughout the year. Females are pregnant from 128 to 130 days, and are ready to breed within 2 days after giving birth. Litters typically contain 4 to 9 young; however, they can have up to 13 young per litter and may have three litters per year. As an example of their proliferation: In 1938, twenty nutria were introduced into Louisiana and within twenty years, the nutria population exceeded 20 million animals. By 1962, nutria had replaced the native muskrat as the leading furbearer in Louisiana.”
Big ones, last image shows one of the nutria canals across the marsh:

The slow and the quick. The shovelers dabble about while the diving Bufflehead disappears from sight, pops back up, zooms away:

Shovelers, GW Teal and one pintail at far left:

Golden-crowns at Fairview:

In the afternoon we saw three crows in the sky above Clark Creek Park (CCP). They were chasing away a Sharp-shinned Hawk.. The crows were both larger and faster than the exposed accipiter so he beat a retreat. In the park I spotted a White-breasted Nuthatch, not a species I see often hereabouts. CCP rarely has many birds, but is squirrel-rich. There are nine mature and nutful walnut trees there. If you were an acrobatic, active aerialist who is nuts for nuts, you could not find a more hospitable homeland.

Snipe on Christmas Count territory:

Weirdest bird of the day, this stationary red-beaked chough:

SALEM CBC AREA #1, Marion, Oregon, US
Dec 4, 2020. 13 species

Cackling Goose  55
Canada Goose  1
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Green-winged Teal  60
Ring-necked Duck  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  4
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
European Starling  X

Fairview Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Dec 4, 2020
18 species

Northern Shoveler  25
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  8
Green-winged Teal  40
Bufflehead  3
American Coot  10
Northern Harrier  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  2
American Crow  1
Bushtit  15
American Goldfinch  6
White-crowned Sparrow  5
Golden-crowned Sparrow  14
Song Sparrow  3
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: