[birding] Grassland birds & migrant Wilson's Warblers southeast of Tangent

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Sun Jun 1 09:18:19 PDT 2008

Hi folks,

Yesterday morning (31 May) I did 19 point counts along Glaser,
Blatchford, Ridge, and Tangent Loop Rds. to the southeast of Tangent, as
part of a grassland bird survey that ODFW is running. About five of
these points have been removed from the grassland survey for reasons
that were pretty clear (riparian and/or residential encroachment), but I
did counts there anyway, just for the heck of it.

Here's a quick summary for the grassland obligates:

NORTHERN HARRIER: Two adult females, one hunting over Glaser, the other
rising out of a grass field near the west end of Ridge Rd. where it
might have a nest.

HORNED LARK: NONE detected at points counts but two seen tail-chasing
along Glaser Rd.

Vesper Sparrow: NONE detected.

Grasshopper Sparrow: NONE detected.

Savannah Sparrow: Total of 112 at point counts, plus many in between.

WESTERN MEADOWLARK: Total of 10 at point counts, plus at least two more
seen between points. All were either along Blatchford Rd. or Ridge Rd.
Most were using perennial grass fields with relatively tall growth and
with a few singing perches at roadside. A couple seemed to have staked
out small uncultivated patches at the corners of fields.

Pretty much all of this route is in grass-seed production, with a few
meadowfoam & wheat fields, and a few fallow fields that have been tilled
up (very little pasture or otherwise uncultivated land). 

Among the non-grassland birds, I was surprised at how many WILSON'S
WARBLERS I was picking up at points that were close to a patch of woods.
One in a little roadside thicket along Parker Rd. just south of Glaser
was clearly a migrant still moving through. I'm guessing that most of
the others were migrants as well.

Otherwise, a yearling BALD EAGLE flying over Glaser was the most
surprising "grassland" bird of the day -- not quite as weird as the four
BAND-TAILED PIGEONS that I saw sitting on a fence by a residential
feeder, behind Coffin Butte on Friday.

Happy birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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