Posted by: atowhee | September 19, 2021


Despite over an inch of rain in the past 48 hours most of the Fairview Wetlands are dry lands. In the far sityhwest cirner there was a shallow pool under the scruffy cottonwoods. The flock of swallows was busily feeding, and it could be my final flock here this year.

Fairview Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Sep 19, 2021
12 species

Killdeer  3
Red-tailed Hawk  2
California Scrub-Jay  1
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Violet-green Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  30

Bushtit  15
European Starling  3
American Robin  1
American Goldfinch  1
Song Sparrow  4
Spotted Towhee  1

Posted by: atowhee | September 19, 2021


Dick Ashford got this picture in Ashland where he and the Wstern Screech-Owl both live. These guys do not migrate.

I did see migrants today–a few Barn Swallows and a single Turkey Vulture. Any day now I will get my final look at those species in Salem…for this year.

There are several lakes in southeast Salem which may explain why I was watching a V-formation of white-fronted geese flying NORTH about 930AM. Maybe they were looking for a parking place.

Over our garden:

Posted by: atowhee | September 19, 2021


Here are two shots of the white nutria on the big island at Ankeny’s Eagle Marsh–both taken by Richard Kapple:

Four years ago a whuite nutria was photographged at Ridgefield NWR just north of Portland. Click here to see that along with some history of the nutria fur farming hereabouts.

Did you know one of the beast’s names is “coypu”? There are many white nuitria images to be found online. HOw rare are they anyway?

Posted by: atowhee | September 18, 2021


Wonderful to hear the rain. I opened a door to listen to rain pouring down last night (and the screen door kept out any four-footers…I see skunk divets in our garden regularly). Our first real rain since May. Pouring down this evening again after brief respite…and we had .7 inch by noon. We’re six inches down for the year, so let it pour, let it pour, let it pour…

There are now six turkeys in our local marauding flock (up from five). They barely yield for cars, they diss pedestrians and one neighbor told me they came to her front door and made angry sounds at her two-year-old daughter. They are certainly the toughest wild animals in our neighborhood. We have no coyotes, bears nor wolverines. Does the Second Amendment give these particular turkeys the right to carry guns, too?

I ran a choice experiment today. After the morning rain stopped I put out both peanuts in the shell and acorns, scattered around together. Four scrub-jays and one bold Steller appeared within seconds. The Steller took two peanuts in his beak and left; the scrubs chased him pointlessly, repeatedlty. None of them seem to get the two-nut trick!? Wrong beak size? Three of the scrubs took peanuts in singularity. But Junco Jay took three acorns in sequence. His behavior and aplomb make me think he’s a mature male, and he certainly knows his corvid history. Oregon jays have eaten oak acorns for millions of years. Peanuts are an introduced delicacy like blueberries and crabapples. Here is one of my many archival shots of Junco Jay dislplaying his namesake tail:

I saw one Vaux’s Swift high overhead today.


On the top of a fund-raising appeal letter from Greenpeace today I read this:
“Endless pursuit of limitless growth, on a planet with finite resources, has a predictable end that’s already in sight.”

Wow, at last one conservation group now openly admits that the current systems under which we operate are dooming the planet. That’s a huge step away from pretending there is some future tipping point. If there is any creature to write history of mankind it may well be that the invention of money was the tipping point, passed long ago.

The U.N. recnetly warned we could be heading toward 2.7 degrees Celsius. of average temp rise. More direct and not captive to member states nor corporations, writer George Monbiot sees 2.9 degrees rise, click here.

In California the continuing fires (they are NOT getting any of this rain front) now threaten the largest living single trunk trees on earth–sequoia. Click here.

I know goats d horrific damage if turned loose on islands, or allowed to roam across senstivie habitat. They eat as they go–tree leaves, poison oak, and fruit or berries or roses. Similar to deer they browse. Grass is mundane and disdained. Goats may be the best way to revent horrible raging wildfires. Read this.

Waiting for service on car at Toyota dealer I saw my first Ruddy Ducks and Glaucous-winged Gull of the season, our winter neighbors are settling in.

Lake Capitol, Marion, Oregon, US
Sep 17, 2021
14 species

Mallard  8
Ruddy Duck  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
American Coot  3
Western Sandpiper  2
Glaucous-winged Gull  1     first of season in Salem
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  4
Barn Swallow  3–still not gine yet. I saw several in downtown Salem Saturday as well
American Goldfinch  X
White-crowned Sparrow  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  15

Posted by: atowhee | September 16, 2021


We know that other animals seem to have more fun–dolphins, kittens, puppies, lion cubs chewing in moim’s big ears, but maybe none can match the exuberance of playing otters. Click here to enjoy Lee French’s video of river otters at play in Curry County coastal waters.

Click for another video from Lee–this one with otters and herons face to face.

Meanwhile one of the largest mammals in North America is struggling to survive in Minnesota–moose. This is a link.

Posted by: atowhee | September 16, 2021


In the southern Oregon Cascades this is a great month for Great Gray Owling. The weather is still usually good (of there is no wildfire nearby to smoke you out). The young owks are now full grown and even if they still follow dad around they are often calling. The roads are not snow-closed.
Here are two pictures this week by Lee French, taken in Jackson County:

Posted by: atowhee | September 16, 2021


Plenty of birds, little water. Three dozen White Pelicans loafing at Eagle marsh. I can’t believe the water there is deep enough for them to float or swim. Maybe one of the pools to the east of there is deep enough? At Pintail Marsh the dowitchers were wading about, up to their knees, at least thirty feet from shore–that’s shallow.

Eye-catcher: an all white nutria* on island at Eagle Marsh.

Here’s Ryckman’s fine pelican shot from earlier this week–same place we saw them today:

Ankeny NWR, Marion, Oregon, US
Sep 16, 2021
21 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Least Sandpiper  1
Western Sandpiper  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  30
Greater Yellowlegs  15
American White Pelican  36
Great Blue Heron  6
Great Egret  14
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Harrier  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  1
American Kestrel  2
American Crow  1
Barn Swallow  50
European Starling  X
American Robin  1
Brewer’s Blackbird  1

*Nutria were released here when the fur farming biz went south and they are now prolific and invasive rodents in many western Oregon marshes. A large male adult can weigh 35 pounds or more. They will reproduce up to three times per year, half dozen or more young each round. Likely their only serious predator would be river otters who could catch the young. They are natve to South America. Click here for more.

Posted by: atowhee | September 15, 2021


Photos from Ankeny NWR by Albert Ryckman. Frog legs prominent on the menu:

Posted by: atowhee | September 15, 2021


Our garden is now definitely on the regular circuit of a Wild Turkey family-of-five. This visit they ambled right up to the house but only took a tiny fraction of the sunflower seeds strewn for the goldfinches. I had put out seven acorns to see how long it took the jays to respond. Turkeys gobbled them all in a few seconds. No wonder jays bury their cached acorns. Yesterday I did see a scrub-jay take off with an acorn, but not until he’d weighed at least three in his beak. We know that many western oak groves were planted by jays.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: