Posted by: atowhee | April 15, 2022


Species who live here year-round are alreading parenting. I saw young of four species today. Three were at Riverfront Park where we had a Salem Audubon field trip this morning. In the Bald Eagle nest west of the park we could scope out an adult and the fuzzy gray head of a nestling. Then we saw Canada Goose goslings and Mallard ducklings–each gaggle of young webfeet numbered 7. This afternoon at Mill Creek Wetlands I saw two half-sized Killdeer running around. These waterfowl and shorebirds have precocial young who must run/swim at birth. Most geese, ducks and shorebirds have vulnerable nests so the hatchlings can’t survive if they are blind, featherless or helpless at birth. Bright eyes and moving legs are required–swim or run or die. It’ll be weeks before the goslings, ducklings or Killdeerlings will be able to fly.

In the final picture above note the crouching Killdeer to the right of Mallard family. We think this bird was on eggs–clearly that nest was begun before recent rains raised the water level. Not just our species is going to confront the dangers of climate change–April high water?

Also, I’m fairly sure we had brief looks at some Northern Rough-winged Swallows, who didn’t linger among the other three swallow species feeding along the slough and over the wetlands.


Over the Kuebler Road bridge across Mill Creek a flock of Violet-green Swallows was feeding this afternoon. But the real action was on the field south of the Lineage/Winco warehouse. Dozens of pipits, and two baby Killdeer afoot.

White dots for Killdeer, gold for pipits. In the third and fifth picture the small killdeer is one of the two hatchlings. Far right in bottom image. Sorry these pictures are lousy but my little point-n-shoot is not up to this kind of photography of running birds. The screaming killdeer kept the pipits alarmed and away from me.

Here is some info on American Pipits from Birds of the World Online: “The American Pipit is an inconspicuous, slender, migratory songbird that occurs throughout North America and south to El Salvador. It is one of a very few species of ground-inhabiting songbirds that breed at high altitudes.

Breeding Range–Arctic and alpine regions of North America (Fig. 1). Loosely described as beyond/above treeline in alpine and arctic tundra, between 33° and 78°N from sea level in the north to 4,300 m in the mountains of w. U.S. (nests with eggs found to 4145 m in Front Range, CO). Also occupies isolated mountain tops above timberline, e.g.: Mt. Rainier, WA ; Little Belknap, OR; Three Sisters and Diamond Peak, OR…

“Migrates throughout North America to lower altitudes and latitudes during the nonbreeding season.

“Walks or runs while pecking at ground or gleaning from low vegetation, frequently changing direction; occasional short flights from ground or boulders to pursue prey. Main foods taken:  terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates and seeds.” [see below for range map]


Young red-tail with a thing for light poles…yellowlegs…yellow-rump.

RIVERFRONT GALLERY–The Tree Swallows were putting on a show at an emergent old tree trunk in the slough:

Beyond the beauty and speed and near-fantasy of motion…they eat mosquitoes!

Looking at the Cascades.

Click here for online piece about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and its possibled resurrection from extinction.

Salem Riverfront Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Apr 15, 2022
25 species

Canada Goose  X     7 goslings in one family
Mallard  X     7 ducklings with one female
Common Merganser  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Killdeer  5
Double-crested Cormorant  14
Great Blue Heron  3
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  1
Bald Eagle  3     including nestling
Belted Kingfisher  1
Northern Flicker  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  X
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
American Robin  X
White-crowned Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  5
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Orange-crowned Warbler  1     seen before field trip began
Common Yellowthroat  2

Mill Creek Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Apr 15, 2022
28 species

Cackling Goose  1500
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Mourning Dove  3
Killdeer  5     including two young
Long-billed Dowitcher  30
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Great Blue Heron  1
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  3
American Kestrel  1
California Scrub-Jay  4
American Crow  1
Common Raven  1     a first for this location
Violet-green Swallow  40
Barn Swallow  3
European Starling  X
American Pipit  40
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  6
Western Meadowlark  2
Red-winged Blackbird  40
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1

Click on map to enlarge

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