Posted by: atowhee | September 17, 2022



Two more images now in original selection:

Above: Seven images of waxwings on hawthorn fruit–all streaky first-year birds. Red-tail in flight, later red-tail ambushes Turkey Vulture. Raven. Robin flying. Song Sparrow, a year-round resident at Cornerstone as are raven, red-tails, Spotted Towhee.

I have a field trip this Sunday with some open slots. 8 AM at Luckiamute nature prfeserve, north end. we will visit a bird-banding station there–expect Swainsion’s Thrush and other small birds in the hand.
Email me at if interested.

Today (Sept. 17) the Polk County Water and Soil Conservation District sponsored a bird walk at their Cornerstone Preserve west of Baskett Slough. Perfect weather, no wind. This season is devoid of bird song but we did hear from the ravens, thrushes, and towhees–calls and some disapproving warning calls. A kettle of TVs seemed to be migrating. They were pestered by two soaring red-tails who seemed to be diving on the vultures as a matter of form. Best performance of the day–waxwings, as a small flock of them landed in a hawthorn about forty feet in front of us, cowed down and let us get much closer. Two streaky-chested young waxwings lingered in that tree for over half an hour.

What is in about waxwings? They are not large or loud or loquacious or even lively. Is it the bold feathered crest? Is it the gold tip on the tail? Is it the black mask of a villain? Is it their group behavior? Their sharp vision that always brings them to a plant with fruit? What is it…must be the whole package and how they relate to one another without squabbles, their intensity when feeding, their striking costumes (one of only a few* Oregon birds with a crest!), their tight-knit aerial flock-flights, their very beingness and waxwingery.

There were woolly bear caterpillars afoot this morning. A seasonal sign like migration.

*(I exclude bad hair waterfowl like Common Mergansers)–kingfisher, titmouses, Pileated–this list contributed by Karl Schneck…the “other” waxwing, Phainopepla and eastern Blue Jay are all occasional visitors.

Cornerstone Preserve–Polk Water and Soil Conservation District (restricted access), Polk, Oregon, US
Sep 17, 2022
14 species

Mallard  2
Turkey Vulture  8
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Steller’s Jay  2
California Scrub-Jay  4
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Violet-green Swallow  20
Swainson’s Thrush  2
American Robin  4
Cedar Waxwing  8
Savannah Sparrow X
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  6

Click here to see gallery of images from our late June birding visit.


  1. Is the Cornerstone Preserve generally open to the public?

    • Let me know when I can join you on a future birding outing to the preserve?

      • likely next spring

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