Posted by: atowhee | April 18, 2021


A small gathering of birders found five species of woodpecker in a little over two hours at Willamette Mission SP (WMSP) this morning. Nothing unusual but all the species present–Pileated, flicker, Hairy, sapsucker, Downy. I do not believe Acorn Woodpeckers are present. EBird shows just one report for the species, once in May–clearly there is no resident colony in the park. Woodpecker noise was all about us. Plenty of drumming. Some calls, especially good to hear the hearty yells of the Pileated high in a cottonwood. And then his fierce drumming.

Some of our group had never seen a Hutton’s* Vireo before. We were about thirty yards from the road on the upper trail to Mission Cottonwood (lower trail closed). We heard a calling male. That monotonous repetition of the bird’s only call. Then a female was seen, her tail splayed and her breast feathers plumped out. I think that passes for excitement in vireo-land. They stayed near and not too high so we got good looks at each.

Checking eBird on the Hutton’s–they are seen at WMSP January through the first week of July, then zero reports for the second half of the year. Do they nest un spring and then hit the road? Of simply avoid discovery with their usual secretive behavior and silence when nesting is completed?

Here are a few shots from directly below the female. At one point, I imagine she thinks “If he’s gonna sing to me like that I’d better get my feathers straight.” Vireo version of a visit to the powder room?

Other “good to see”–pair of Western Bluebirds on nest box near fee station, Tree Swallows had swallowed up the other nest boxes (4), Chipping Sparrow singing at the same location, Wood Duck pair in the weeds along the slough, Greater Yellowlegs fly by, Osprey on nest platform, Band-tailed Pigeons flying overhead near Wheatland Ferry crossing. At the Mission Cottonwood (height 155′, still believed to be world’s biggest black cottonwood) there seemed to be a pair of staring for each possible nest hole.


A botanical note: elderberries in full bloom now. Good news for thrushes and waxwings.

Willamette Mission SP, Marion, Oregon, US
Apr 18, 2021
39 species

Wood Duck  2
Band-tailed Pigeon  2
Mourning Dove  X
Rufous Hummingbird  1
American Coot  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  3
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  3
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Red-breasted Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  3
American Kestrel  1
Hutton’s Vireo  2     male singing, female responding with fluffed feathers, spread tail
Steller’s Jay  3
California Scrub-Jay  6
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Tree Swallow  12
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  X
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  2
Bewick’s Wren  X
European Starling  X
Western Bluebird  2     at nest box just north of fee station
American Robin  X
House Finch  2
Chipping Sparrow  1     singing male near fee station
White-crowned Sparrow  20
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  10
Spotted Towhee  X
Common Yellowthroat  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1

* We know nothing about Lt. Hutton for whom this bird was named by Cassin, back in the day.


  1. You saw a very nice assortment of birds on this sunny morning. Thanks for the sightings.

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