Posted by: atowhee | July 24, 2021


Bird early on hot summer days. Birds pant but can’t perspire so extreme heat is not their friend. Four of us arrived at the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Office in Adair by 7AM. The next three hours were birdy, indeed. By noon most of the birds we saw would have hidden in the shade. We went north to E. E. WIlson WMA by 9AM but already the bird action was diminishing.

At Adair we were surprised to see a passing Purple Martin far overhead. Still, the insect-catching was going well. At least two dozen waxwings were flycatching over the pond, then landing on shoreline willows to recoup before flying the next sortie. Swallows of three species and at kleast one swift were rapidly cross-crossing, swooping, circling–bugging the bugs in flight. The PB Grebes we saw there were all immature with zebra-striped faces. The Wrentit and grosbeak were heard in the dense brush along the west edge of the pond. The Wrentit let itself be briefly glimpsed.

About that Purple Martin–a cursory check showed me that they breed in the Oregn Stat e arboretum just acrossd Hwy 99 from where we were birding.

One of the day’s most common birds gave us the best instruction on avian life–Killdeer. First an adult with two running hatchlings were along the pond’s muddy shore. The young were about one-fourth the parent’s size. The adult didn’t fake injury, but did try to get us to follow, made noise, flew back and forth along the pond edge. But there were calls to “follow me” and the twinlets did so, at one point they huddled inside the adult’s chest feathers, creating a stock-still six-legged Killdeer, briefly like a feathered insect. :ater on the further shore we saw two adult Killdeer and they were clearly into courtship behavior, turning tail-to-tail, tail fluffing and flapping, calling. Not to be surprised, Killdeer are notorious multiple brooders, sometimes breeding year round if weather and food allow! In another month there may be new pip-squeak-sized Killdeer running next to that pond. Killdeer young are hatched feathered and fast-footed, they run very soon after leaving and run from the ground nest to follow their swift-footed parent(s).

Adult Killdeer left foreground, one of two toddlers in upper right corner, toddling swiftly.

Then here we see the six-legged Killdeer stack, adult with swollen mid-riff, then adult flies off, exposing the two young, one quickly runs into grass and leaves sibling alone on the mud.

Here are three images from Philippe of the same family action:

Two of his shots of the butt-wagging Killdeer:

Some of the big guys, by Philippe:

Some of my shots of the smaller birds:

Above: waxwing adults (we saw some streaky juvies); Spotted Towhee who was scolding us; Violet-green Swallow; pewee.
Below: others

At E. E. Wilson, Philippe Pessereau spotted our American Bittern in the nearly dry pond west of the fishing pond. It was in high grass about 320 yards from the trail. There were three Black Phoebe and a pewee feeding around that pond. In the shallow water were our first adult PB Grebes of the day. Along the shore of adjacent the fishing pond we saw a Spotted Sandpiper–its spots already gone for the year.

Non-avians today included bullfrog, garter snake, deer, bush rabbit, coyote.

Oregon Fish & Wildlife office, Benton, Oregon, US
Jul 24, 2021
27 species

Pied-billed Grebe  9
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Vaux’s Swift  1
Killdeer  5
Turkey Vulture 1
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  2
Belted Kingfisher  2
Northern Flicker  2
Western Wood-Pewee  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Purple Martin  1
Tree Swallow  25
Violet-green Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  4
Wrentit  1
Bewick’s Wren  1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
American Robin  15
Cedar Waxwing 25
House Finch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Song Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  6
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Black-headed Grosbeak  1

E.E. Wilson WMA, Benton, Oregon, US
Jul 24, 2021
16 species

Canada Goose  8
Mallard  7
Pied-billed Grebe  6
Spotted Sandpiper  1
American Bittern 1
Turkey Vulture  4
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Black Phoebe  3
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  X
Barn Swallow  4
European Starling  X
American Robin  X
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  2
Spotted Towhee  X

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