Posted by: atowhee | April 8, 2021

IN YOUR FACE, YET ELUSIVE

Today the dog took me to Fairview Wetlands for her morning excursion. It was the liveliest scene I’ve ever encountered there. Swallows criss-crossing just above the water and the budding spirea. Higher up, more swallows were like flying commas upon a huge sheet of blue paper. There were four species among the swallows. The flock was mostly violet-greens but I managed to pick out one each of–barn, tree and northern rough-winged. Barn and rough-winged were first of the year species. Elusive? Some of the violet-greens would fly low just over my head, or Nora’s. But they passed at top speed; there was no hope of getting a picture. Food was their focus. I did not see a single one perched anywhere–motion in all directions, at every moment. They have been clocked in traveling flight ay 28 miles per hour.

There is an estimated VGS population of 7 million, sadly decreasing over recent decades.

New for the location today was a single Pied-billed Grebe. I have been wondering why I had not seen one there before, or heard one? Perhaps the shallow water made it an unattractive place? How fast the water dries up may determine if a pair tries to nest there.

Today the land bird species far exceeded the waterfowl. Many of those will be departing soon. I expect only Canada Geese and Mallards around this summer, and maybe a pair of Gadwall.
WINTERING WATERFOWL–The coots, GWE Teal and snipe were all at the wetlands by early October. By late October the shovelers, wigeon (who didn’t stay long) and pintails had arrived. In November the Gadwall, ring-necks and Bufflehead showed up.

For the first time at Fairview Ms RBW was blatantly present, usually much less demonstrative than the effusive male Red-winged Blackbirds who’ve been shouting and touting for weeks now. Song Sparrows were singing there today.

WETLANDS GALLERY
Yes, the invasive American bullfrog, seen for the first time this year. Soon I exect to hear their baritone calls around the marsh. Then: G. Yellowlegs, male GW Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Shoveler pair and when they return in the fall the male will be in his drab eclipse plumage sans the bright crimson, then a series of skirmishes between two pairs of Canada Geese (i noted none of the females were on nests while I was there), camas in bloom. current in bloom.

Fairview Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Apr 8, 2021
28 species

Cackling Goose  30
Canada Goose  4
Northern Shoveler  25
Gadwall  12
Mallard  30
Northern Pintail  2
Green-winged Teal  60
Ring-necked Duck  4
Bufflehead  12
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
American Coot  24
Killdeer  3
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  1
Violet-green Swallow  60
Barn Swallow  1
Bushtit  2
European Starling  X
American Robin  5
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  6
Red-winged Blackbird  15


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