Posted by: atowhee | August 6, 2021


No wind, no bright sun, no heat. An August dawn, the eastern sky orange and gold as distant wildfire smoke colors the sunrise. Most of the birds I see are busily feeding–ducks and shorebirds and grebes at the ponds. Swallows at speed across land and water. Blackbird and starling flocks in the fields. Only a single raptor–a kestrel. The cool air means those big birds could not find any updrafts, wing-flapping is so tiring and boring. Better to wait for the solar energy to do its duty.

All the ducks are in eclipse plumage–nowhere to be seen are the glossy green pates and whte neck collar of the breeding season male Mallards. Nowhere among the hundreds of Mallards busily feeding at Pintail and Eagle Marshes. The shallow, warm water there is bubbling. It’s not a temperature boil, but the roiling of many small aquatic creatures breaking the surface of the water. No wonder so many birds are feeding wth such alacrity. Perhaps most energetic are the dowitchers pumping those long beaks up and down like a frenetic teeter-totter.

Many trees are altready droppoiing leaves, some leaves cloing though they’ve already yellowed. Where water stood three months ago now the pennyroyal mint plants stand in dense upright patches, in bloom and arimatic if you brush them with your shoe or hand.

Ankeny NWR, Marion, Oregon, US
Aug 6, 2021
36 species

Wood Duck  40
Cinnamon Teal  4
Gadwall  2
Mallard  300
Northern Pintail  1
Ring-necked Duck  7
Hooded Merganser  6
Pied-billed Grebe  50
Band-tailed Pigeon  X
Mourning Dove  1
American Coot  1
Killdeer  8
Least Sandpiper  1
Western Sandpiper  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  50     at Pintail Marsh
Greater Yellowlegs  8
Great Blue Heron  4
Green Heron  2
Northern Flicker  3
American Kestrel  1
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Black Phoebe  1
California Scrub-Jay  5
American Crow  X
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  X
Cedar Waxwing  60
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  X
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  4
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Yellowthroat  1

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