Posted by: atowhee | January 11, 2021


It was just dog walk while we also ran an errand in northeast Salem this morning. Small creek and corridor of open space on the west side of the McKay High School campus. Sakes alive, snipes alive–sat least twenty. Single or in loose groups they would rise from the grassy hide-outs along the creek, do their typical zig-zag erratic flight at top speed and then land far behind or in front us in the same creek gully. A couple times there would be the alarm call, a screechy “wreeek!” as they lifted off. Some of the birds the dog and I must’ve roused at least five or six times. I never once managed to see one before it took flight. That’s camouflage. And they were often less than thirty feet away when they reacted to the two nearby predators. So I some marginal shots of something moving through the air. Each time there was a fly-out, I tried to track their tricky and unpredictable aerial maneuvers. Each speck is a snipe, I promise.

Yet among the many dozens of frames, were two that revealed a bit more. One showed the impressive proboscis that helps define snipe-ness. The second shows the bird in a sharp turn, its wings perpendicular to the earth–the physics of that would make an entrancing formula for sure.

The biggest surprise was a fleeting look at Virginia Rail, a low flight from it first dense grass hide-out to one across the creek from the dog and me. Of course, he didn’t reappear as the snipe did repeatedly by flying around and then returning to the creek.

Here are two shots of a tiny fraction of the passing gaggle of Cacklers:

South from the school is an access street that goes south to Sunnyview. ON one side is the creek and its narrow corridor of grass and trees, on the other are back gardens of private homes. The second one south of the school, west of this access street is sparrow-world. There us a dense edge of blackberries intertwined with arbor vita, and feeders. There were at least a half dozen well-stocked feeders, mostly suet. While there I saw nuthatch, chickadee, starling, scrub-jay and three sparrow species. It hosted the largest flock of House Sparrows I have ever seen in Oregon. And I was spying across the fence for less than ten minutes.

Here is shot of the creek corridor on campus and then a look at a scarce digital-fir, which may actually be, not tree, but cell tower:

Wolverine riparian corridor, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 11, 2021
Checklist Comments:     short riparian corridor on the west side of the McKay High School Campus between Wolverine and Sunnyview Streets
20 species

Cackling Goose  500     in the air above the high school
Green-winged Teal  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove  1
Mourning Dove  4
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Wilson’s Snipe  20
Glaucous-winged Gull  2     fly overs
Northern Flicker  3
California Scrub-Jay  4
American Crow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  X
House Sparrow  50
White-crowned Sparrow  4
Golden-crowned Sparrow  8
Song Sparrow  3

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