[birding] E.E. Wilson: R-n Duck, no Green Herons or Cinn Teal, few chats

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Sun Jun 23 10:31:59 PDT 2013


Hi all,

I took Heidi for a long walk around E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area this
morning. Songbirds were active and singing vigorously despite the
intermittent mist. 

The only unusual bird for the season was a drab-looking male RING-NECKED
DUCK skulking around in a back corner of the Canal Pond. Perhaps he just
failed to migrate, but the way he was acting, perhaps it's worth
checking back for Ring-necked Ducklings (I think there are nesting
records from Baskett Slough). An eclipse male WOOD DUCK was resting on a
log in the Angling Pond (which was bereft of anglers, perhaps because
the pond weed which was poisoned off two years ago has grown in thick
again). One PIED-BILLED GREBE was diving on the Canal Pond, and a couple
of stripy-headed juveniles were on the pond on the west side of
headquarters.

I checked quite a few of the usual spots but couldn't find either a
Green Heron or a Cinnamon Teal. I have yet to see either of these on the
wildlife area this year.

Cinnamon Teal have been a common nesting species there as long as we've
lived in the neighborhood (17 years now), so it's strange that they
should be absent, or at least hard to find this year. 

Green Herons weren't exactly common, but they were usually possible to
spot by scanning along the edges of the Canal Pond, or along the "canal"
itself, where they usually nested in the Oregon ash trees within earshot
of the nature trail. It's been close to two years now since I've seen
one on the wildlife area.

The wetland habitat hasn't changed dramatically although many of the
ponds have gradually become more densely vegetated with trees growing in
around the edges. 

BULLFROG numbers seem to have increased, which I suppose might impact
Cinnamon Teal directly (predation on ducklings) and Green Herons
indirectly (predation on smaller frogs, tadpoles and fish that Green
Herons might feed on).

I also wondered if competition with GREAT BLUE HERONS might be a factor,
as numbers nesting in the young colony just across Hwy 99W have been
increasing.

I heard four or five YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS, which is only about half as
many as I would have expected for this route a few years ago. It's
curious that, even as chats are getting easier to find elsewhere around
the Willamette Valley, numbers seem to be declining in this former
stronghold.

On the plus side, WILLOW FLYCATCHERS still seem to like this site, and
WRENTITS (which were scarce or absent 15 years ago) are now easy to hear
throughout the wildlife area. LAZULI BUNTINGS have also become fairly
common, and YELLOW WARBLERS seem to be thriving in the willow marshes.

Happy birding,
Joel

--
Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis





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