Posted by: atowhee | January 13, 2023


“Fowl” as in waterfowl. Rain is good for many living things. It is especially good for ducks, geese, and a pair of Trumpeter Swans at Ankeny NWR right now. Friday the 13th–must bring good luck for rained-on birders.

An adult and a gray immature swan had one whole field to themselves. It is just south of the rail crossing on Buena Vista and west of that road. Here is a real photo, shared by John Matthews, one Salem’s astute and avid birders. This was taken before today but the same swans in the same spot. No other birds nearby. I had, as had manyn others, thought these to be trumpeters. Here’s Dave Irons explanation of why they are, instead, “mere” tundras, a far more common bird hereabouts:
“The two swans in your photo appear to be Tundras. Note how the black skin towards the base of the bill is decidedly pinched in front of the eye and how the eyes are mostly surrounded by feathers. On Trumpeter the back of the bill where it meets the eye tapers more evenly front to rear forming a nice wedge and is not pinched like this. Many birders think that the absence of yellow on the bill in front of the eye points to Trumpeter, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A sizeable minority of the Tundras that winter in the Willamette Valley show no yellow on the bill. Shawneen recently finished an article on this topic that will appear in the next issue of OREGON BIRDS. –Dave Irons”

Wigeon and pintails out-numbered all the other species I could see and hear. Pintails–most were in stubblefield north of Wintel Road, east of Rail Trail entrance road (along with most wigeon); another large flock in stubblefield west of railroad and west of Pintail Marsh.

The flock of Snow Geese was in a private stubblefield just east of houses around Wintel Road and Buena Vista intersection, north of Wintel. They were on the edge of a larger flock of cacklers in the same place.

Eagles above Eagle Marsh, roadside Coop, dark morph red-tail, geese overfly, thrown aside at a refuge pull-out:

Ankeny NWR, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 13, 2023 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
12.0 mile(s)
28 species

Cackling Goose  820
Canada Goose  122
Snow Goose 75
Tundra Swan  2     west of Buena Vista Road in first field south of the railroad crossing
Northern Shoveler  170
Gadwall  15
American Wigeon  2130     most were in stubblefield north of Wintel Road, east of Rail Trail entrance road
Mallard  290
Northern Pintail  3300     most were in stubblefield north of Wintel Road, east of Rail Trail entrance road; another large flock in stubblefield west of railroad and west of Pintail Marsh, north of Wintel
Green-winged Teal  350
Ring-necked Duck  4
Bufflehead  14
Ruddy Duck  71
American Coot  20
Northern Harrier  1
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  5
Red-tailed Hawk  6
Northern Flicker  1
American Kestrel  4
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  2
European Starling  500
Western Bluebird  1
American Robin  350
White-crowned Sparrow  40
Spotted Towhee  2
Red-winged Blackbird  500

Mammals: four nutria at Pinail Marsh.

Thew tracked robin is still there! The robin  down from  Canada has been sensed at Ankeny again, first Tuesday, then  Thursday and again  already today…and I was out there in the rain this morning …hundreds of robins so this bird has company

I have attached copy of piece I wrote for OBA last winter just after we got the ODFW grant for Ankeny Tower…yes, I spoke with the OU prof in Eugene who put a tower in his own garden! It’s the only other Motus Tower in Willamette Valley…so far.

Here is main Motus website, full of info. In short you must be a registered researcher to place a transmitter on a netted bird…Motus network is a high-level parallel to eBird, it’s where the date gets shared and recorded. 

Here is the Ankeny Motus Tower, newly and nicely fenced by the refuge staff, and overlooking a nearby marsh.


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