Posted by: atowhee | July 23, 2022



Here’s fellow confirming that WIPH breed annually at Baskett:

Mitch Ratzlaff

“Wilson’s are annual breeders there in small numbers since at least the mid-nineties, when i started birding there regularly.”  

Today our McMinnville Birding Class made a field trip to Baskett Slough NWR. We spent most of our time on a walk downhill to the remnant wetlands south of Coville Road. See map at bottom of the blog. The south and eastern portions of Dusky Marsh had the most water, and most of the birds. Shorebird migration is underway.

We found a handful of Wilson’s Phalarope. Rather, they found us. One found us infuriating. It flew around us, calling. Various books have described this phalarope note as “ernt,” or “werpf.” Sharp, staccato. The protestor would fly in circles overhead, calling every few seconds. As it flew the feet dangled below and behind, the wings flapped rapidly, sometimes audibly, the white tail flashed when we could see it.

On their swimming, which we did not see because the pools were so shallow: “Lobed toes* fold on recovery stroke to reduce drag, open on power stroke.” Mostly today’s phalarope were wading or walking up into grass beyond the edge of the water.

Wilson’s Phalarope nests in inland areas of the western U.S. It is possible these young were born at Baskett or nearby.

*Speaking of lobed toes we saw two juvie coots in the marsh today. Small organisms made the water roil and bubble so there must have been plenty of food.


In the third pic above there are two wading phalarope to the right of the Killdeer.

Before the phalarope affair, we thought we’d been found acceptable. A young Savannah Sparrow came & perched alongside the gravel road. Then a pair or Horned Larks deliberately landed in the road about twenty feet in front of us! And then posed for pictures before departing. They were a new bird for at least one of our group! I have never had larks land near me on purpose unless I am inside a car. Our bird karma was in gear.

Among the many summer wild flowers we saw: loosestrife, pennyroyal, tansy ragwort, Queen Anne’s lace.

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US
Jul 23, 2022. 28 species

Canada Goose  200
Cinnamon Teal  8
Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
American Coot  2
Killdeer  100
Least Sandpiper  20
Wilson’s Phalarope  5
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  6
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  2
Turkey Vulture  3
Northern Harrier  1
American Kestrel  3
American Crow  X
Horned Lark 2
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  2
American Goldfinch  4
Savannah Sparrow  3
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

We walked south from Coville Road between Cackler Marsh to the west, Vancouver and Dusky Marshes to the east.

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