Posted by: atowhee | December 17, 2022

SALEM, OREGON, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Today I was on one of three teams working Area #1. We have several old gravel quarries, now lakes. Just our team had 63 species under cold, but perfect conditions. Sunshine and no wind. Under lesser conditions last year our whole area only managed 63 species in toto. The historic high species count for Area #1 is 73…we may come close this year.

Happy surprises today: Clark’s Grebe, Band-tailed Pigeons, Green Heron at Turner Lake, sharpie, Black Phoebe and dozens of Hooded Mergansers. Unexpected misses: Fox Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pacific Wren.

What bird is most likely to be unique for the Salem count this year? Its name not even on the print-out checklist?

Our Clark’s Grebe. Peripheral birds were among the hundreds of Cackling Geese at the same lake.

Our Sharpie (see those yellow eyes?). He was patient with us. We were all watching the same flock of sparrows in the garden beside the Campbell potato chip factory on Kettle lane. The Sharpie and hundreds of starlings there mutually ignored one another. Some starlings actually perched in the bare tree over the hawk’s head! The sparrows seemed unaware or unconcerned.

In the field we convinced ourselves this was a Merlin–the bird sat contentedly as we walked beneath its perch. Not the usual nervous accipiter behavior. But these images in perfect natural light have two pieces of strong evidence: shoirt wings that barely reach the top of the tail and yellow eyes–both confirming this is an accipiter.

Our only wild mammals today were tree squirrels and nutria.

SALEM CBC AREA #1, Marion, Oregon, US
Dec 17, 2022
63 species (+3 other taxa)

Cackling Goose  1441
Canada Goose  84
Domestic goose sp. x Canada Goose (hybrid)  4
Northern Shoveler  76
Gadwall  30
American Wigeon  74
Mallard  487
Mallard (Domestic type)  11
Northern Pintail  24
Green-winged Teal  92
Ring-necked Duck  26
Lesser Scaup  8
Bufflehead  50
Hooded Merganser  54
Common Merganser  2
Ruddy Duck  136
Pied-billed Grebe  14
Clark’s Grebe  1     in lake south of Kelly’s appliance store–beak bright yellow
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  30
Band-tailed Pigeon  2
Eurasian Collared-Dove  3
Mourning Dove  3
American Coot  154
Killdeer  48
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Short-billed Gull  52
Ring-billed Gull  886     Blue Gill Lake has huge flocks of gulls at dawn
California Gull  66
Glaucous-winged Gull  470     Blue Gill Lake has huge flocks of gulls at dawn
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)  9
Double-crested Cormorant  11
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  2
Green Heron  1
Northern Harrier  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Bald Eagle  4
Red-tailed Hawk  6
Belted Kingfisher  2
Downy Woodpecker  4
Northern Flicker  6
American Kestrel  6
Black Phoebe  1
California Scrub-Jay  22
American Crow  39
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Bushtit  40
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  2
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  1056
Varied Thrush  1
American Robin  228
House Sparrow  4
House Finch  3
Lesser Goldfinch  9
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  101
White-crowned Sparrow  30
Golden-crowned Sparrow  32
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  5
Spotted Towhee  7
Red-winged Blackbird  50
Brewer’s Blackbird  18
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2


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