Posted by: atowhee | July 10, 2021


Tim Wilson, Philippe Pessereau and I birded Baskett Slough for three hours in the early morning. We saw a juvenile stilt, Wilson’s Phalarope in the marsh south of Coville Road, Horned Larks were in the bare field nearby, a vocal chat was heard only at Morgan Lake Parking. It was at Morgan Lake we saw the Hooded Merganser and many small ducklings. There swallows over the water were joined by flycatching waxwings. In a willow on the dam there we saw what I took for a fledgling Lark Sparrow. But here are Philippe’s images–young savannah which is abundant in that habitat:

Only Morgan Lake seemed to have ample water. There was the sound of running water going inside the culvert through the dam. Most of the marsh south of Coville Road is now dry. The shallow pond at the narrows along Coville has water but it is choked with vegetation. We heard a marsh wren sing from reeds next baked mudflats. Nearly all the swallows were near or over open water, not the baked earth. Water is very low in the lakes in the valley between Smithfield and Coville Roads. It is not a fit place for Osprey right now, nor fishing Bald Eagles, cormorant, terns…

Philippe Pessereau took some fines shots of lark and stilt:

Other images. Note the feathers on the TV’s wings and how the lengths vary. I guess this is due to molting and some replacement feathers haven’t grown to full length yet:

Lisa Millbank writes: “The caterpillar is a Cinnabar Moth, Tyria jacobaeae.  They were imported from Eurasia to eat the toxic weed Tansy Ragwort.  This one looks pretty large, and it’s probably crawling away from the host plant to find a spot to pupate.  They don’t usually leave the host plant during the earlier instars.”

Great! The tansy ragwort at Baskett Slough was in full bloom, ready to foster anohter spread of this perennial curse, poison to man and horse. I find myself wearig a strapped-on pair of plant shears often, so I can log all the tansy I walk past. It infests trails and park here in Salem. Iy especially thrives where people distubr the soil; mowing just seems to make it tougher.

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US
Jul 10, 2021
44 species

Canada Goose  20
Mallard  40
Hooded Merganser  1
California Quail  2     on Smithfield Road east of the refuge
Pied-billed Grebe  25
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Mourning Dove  X
Sora  2
American Coot  15
Black-necked Stilt  2
Killdeer  8
Wilson’s Phalarope  4
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  5
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
American Kestrel  9
Western Wood-Pewee  1
California Scrub-Jay  6
American Crow  X
Horned Lark  5
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Red-breasted Nuthatch  5     family group at the main Coville Road parking lot
Marsh Wren  X
European Starling  X
Swainson’s Thrush  X
American Robin  1
Cedar Waxwing  12
House Finch  X
Purple Finch  X
American Goldfinch  X
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Savannah Sparrow  X–juvenile at Morgan Lake in images above
Song Sparrow  X
Spotted Towhee  X
Yellow-breasted Chat  1
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  300     dense flocks in every marsy area we visited
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  X


  1. Since you seem to know the area, I wonder if you would be willing to comment on this posting about a shorebird a Basket Slough:

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