Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall North American Migration Count

My new camera arrived in time for this past weekend's North American Migration Count. But I took few photos because the birds didn't stand around waiting for me to click the shutter. And many of them I only heard.

Well, I took a lot of photos but not of birds.

On Saturday, I birded our farm for the Yamhill County NAMC and was a bit nervous when I found, on my early morning walk through our woods, several new bear poop piles. I was even more nervous when I found yet another on my afternoon walk through... this one filled with grain... Where did the bear find that grain? It looks like what I throw out in front of the barn for the birds each morning. Oh dear.

But it was good to see, on my afternoon walk, a Dipper on our creek. It was not thrilled to see me though and gave me one distant chance at a photo before heading farther downstream.

We found five Dippers upstream on our morning survey on Agency Creek road. But none of those posed for a photo.

On the way back out of our woods in the afternoon, I was scanning the trees for birds, instead of watching where I was going. This is what a bear poop pile looked like after I stepped in it. This bear had been eating apples, of which we have a good plenty down in the woods.

Okay, enough of the bear poop. On the way through the arboretum, I stopped to take a photo of one of our Amur Maples in its fall glory...

...and a Cedar Waxwing, who cooperated long enough for me to snap this photo.

The only bird to pose up Agency Creek Rd. was a Great Blue Heron, sitting on a snag very far away, in the middle of the forest. I didn't have time to zoom him up close before he flew.

Sunday we headed to Lincoln City to check on our Black Oystercatcher chicks. The day was quite windy and misty as we headed for The Thumb, our lookout point. 

 Johnny was way ahead of me, climbing the wet and slippery slope. He is the yellow dot where the two paths merge.

We did not stay on top long as the wind was threatening to blow us off. We saw the two adult BLOY and one of their chicks. Likely the other one was out of sight and out of wind. Johnny slid down the hill on his bottom as it was too slick to walk the path. I walked down in the grass alongside the path.

We pulled in to the Road's End wayside to take photos of gulls we had seen on our way up to our trailhead. I figured someone could tell me what the ones I didn't know were. Dawn did. She said the little dark one in front of the bigger Western Gulls is a Heerman's gull.

Here's a juvenile Western begging from its parent (presumably).

 The weather deteriorated from then on. We did not find the Dipper that should have been at the Van Duzer Wayside but did not stay long in the pouring rain. The weather was a bit better on the east side of the mountains, so on our way home, we stopped to hike a forest road in Polk County that is usually full of birds. And there were birds, in spite of the lousy weather, but I could not see them with rain all over my glasses. Johnny saw a few and I heard a few. And we both got very wet. We went home, took hot showers, and headed for Shenk's Wetlands to hopefully get a few more birds for the Polk county NAMC.

Success! The rain let up and the raptors appeared in good variety: Red-tailed hawks, American Kestrels, Northern Harriers, one Rough-legged Hawk, and two White-tailed Kites. I was thrilled to see the kites are back where they raised a youngster last spring. They were on the far side of the field, too far for photos but I took some anyway. Here is one hovering way off in the distance, with my camera zoomed up its entire 60X.

 We had hopes of adding Vaux's Swifts to the Polk county list, but they did not appear at the chimney where they had been spending nights earlier in the fall. The people who live there said they quit coming at least a week ago.

Nevertheless, it was a fun, but exhausting, two days of birding. a nice break from canning and freezing garden produce. And so good to be able to document it with a camera!

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