Posted by: atowhee | March 14, 2022


There was a small flock of Wood Ducks at the south end of Oxbow Slough, west of Faragate Street, Minto-Brown Park. Three were sitting on a large limb fallen across the water. These ducks often perch on limbs. They nest in cavities or nest boxes in trees so limbs are part of daily life in nesting season.. Still they often seem precariously balanced with a butt hanging off one side, head and neck stretched beyond the other side. Yet we cannot imagine a Mallard trying that, and a pintail would find it ignominous and inelegant to even suggest a tree perch. Pintail must sail.

Other birds of Minto-Brown:

Some of the resident birds are deep into their territorial/nesting mode now. A simple pish brought out two or three towhees as I wandered through the old feral hazelnut forest.

Here’s one definition I found for BSE: “A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight.”
So 9-11, covid, JFK’s assassination, Ukraine Invasion, Trump’s Presidency, Fukushima, the next Los Angeles earthquake.
Well, I did have a black swan event today…but it was purely, simply, black swans. Damned lot of fun, unlike previous black swan events I’ve endured. They were grazing on a fenced-in lawn.

You gotta note that stark white band across the top of the beak. Can’t miss it if they come for you, wings opened out, bill agape.
Another bit of Black Swan data:Native to Australia, the black swan or Cygnus atratus can be found across the mainland, except for Cape York Peninsula. Populations have also been introduced to New Zealand, Japan, China, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
THey share a genus (not feather color) with trumpeter, tundra and mute species in the Northern Hemisphere.


The Downy was drumming on a favorite hollow knot. A reader wrote to remind me that adults drum–bith males and females.

The cat is always a loner, an unwelcomed loaner. A lone turkey hen–why did that happen? The flock was nowhere to be heard…or seen!

The top three pictures show a leucistic male junco, speckled with white. The bottom image is a normal male. The white on his tail shows because he’s molting. Soon that white will again be concealed as long as the tail is not spread for flight.

Nature can move gradually–geological time. She can be sudden–earthquake, lightning. Or she can move at the speed of birds. Below are two male American Goldfinches in molt. The first at the start of March, the more golden male was just yesterday. You have to be dressed properly when the courtship prom begins!

Click on image to see it full screen.

Minto-Brown Island Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Mar 14, 2022
17 species

Canada Goose  4
Wood Duck  5
American Wigeon  7
Mallard  2
Green-winged Teal  40
Ring-necked Duck  3
Bufflehead  4
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Steller’s Jay  7
California Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  20
American Robin  3
Dark-eyed Junco  5
Song Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  6

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Mar 14, 2022. 20 species

Wild Turkey  1–alone!
Mourning Dove  2
Downy Woodpecker  1     drumming
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  6
American Crow  3
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  1
Bushtit  20
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  1
House Finch  3
Pine Siskin  1
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  X
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1

A little doggerel [need I suggest “duckerel”?] from my childhood bubbled up and transformed into a Wood Duck ditty, a pre-memic meme of yore:

How much wood would a wood duck duck if a wood duck would duck wood?”

My remembered version from ancient Ozark, hill-billy speak was about a woodchuck, naturally.

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