Posted by: atowhee | January 7, 2023

RAIN? GUESS I’LL GO DUCK-WATCH

Even in these windy, wet, soggy-bottomed days, there are ducks and their associates out and about. Over 200 cacklers grazing, coots milling and munching, a heron hunting, cormorant fishing. So I checked out a couple ponds along Mill Creek in southeast Salem. The muddy creek itself roaring along, nearly up to top of its embankments.

Today’s birds: goldfinches gobbling breakfast; four wigeon and a Gadwall; coots plus; flicker; fur person; Varied Thrush in seedy gum tree; one-third of the crow trio that claims our garden; chickadee; mourning doves in tree, waiting for me to go back inside; male Mallard, handsome but generally ignored by us snobby birders, too common; keep those feathers cleaned & preened; cacklers.

Invasive species: domestic geese, blue-sided kingfisher.

Yesterday Blake Nolan found Red Phalarope wading in shallow water along the north jetty at Florence. Storm-tossed travelers, no doubt. Red Phalarope prefer to winter at sea but can’t afford the risk and energy of fighting high winds that bring them ashore. They return to their pelagic winter habitat once the winds die down. Decades ago my wife and I were house-sitting at Pt. Reyes Station and one night a gale-force storm came through, straight out of the north. Many roads were blocked the next day. I went out after breakfast and birded locally. Just south of town a flat field atop the San Andreas Fault was a temporary pool. Atop the wavelets ride about two hundred Red Phalarope. I reported it to Bird-Box but nobody could get through to see them–roads closed. By late afternoon the field had only water and a heron. All the phalarope had returned to their open ocean. Get example of “look what the wind blew in.”

Speaking of watery species–this one has San Francisco birders excited. The species breeds about forty miles further south along the Bayshore, but rarely commutes to the city. Phot by David Assmann of SF.

Pasadena’s peacocks being evicted…but not killed. Click here. I haven’t seen a peacock in our neighborhood since late October. The Wild Turkeys are irregular but are seen off and on except during June-July where they go someplace quieter to nest and raise young up to flying size.

California rain and drought–click here.

SALEM CBC AREA #1, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 7, 2023
23 species (+2 other taxa)

Cackling Goose  220
Canada Goose  30
Domestic goose sp. x Canada Goose (hybrid)  4
Northern Shoveler  12
Gadwall  30
American Wigeon  25
Mallard  60
Mallard (Domestic type)  9
Bufflehead  15
Hooded Merganser  3
Common Merganser  2
Ruddy Duck  35
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
American Coot  75
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Northern Flicker  4
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  2
European Starling  11
American Robin  35
Brewer’s Blackbird  8

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 7, 2023. Comments:     No turkeys this past week
15 species

Mourning Dove  16
California Scrub-Jay  5
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
European Starling  1
Varied Thrush  1
American Robin  1
House Finch  1
Lesser Goldfinch  2
American Goldfinch  40
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  25
Spotted Towhee  1


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