[birding] Salem Hills & Waldo Hills grassland birds + Audubon's Warbler fledglings

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Thu Jun 27 15:31:18 PDT 2013


Hi all,

Highlights of this morning's search for grassland birds around the
southern edges of the Salem Hills included WESTERN KINGBIRDS along
Wintercreek Rd. north of Jefferson, and along Gath Rd. north of Turner,
and a WESTERN MEADOWLARK along Summit Loop Rd. south of Turner..

HORNED LARKS were singing in a couple of very young grass-seed fields
along Waldo Hills Rd. north of Aumsville (a traditional area for this
species).

I didn't come up with any VESPER SPARROW detections until I got to a
spot south of Union Hill cemetery, where Jeff Harding had seen a pair in
the road during his Scio Breeding Bird Survey route. 

The male of the pair was singing along the roadside when I got there. 
His choice of a singing perch was sort of pathetic: A large TANSY
RAGWORT along the edge of the road which was drooping, apparently after
having been sprayed. Overall the habitat was not very auspicious: A
dense stand of Christmas trees over 6 feet tall on one side of the road,
and a dense grass-seed crop on the other side. However, there's about a
20 ft wide strip of grass and weeds between the road and the Christmas
trees, where the Vesper Sparrow seemed to spend most of his time.

In Union Hill Cemetery at the top of the hill, a pair of AUDUBON'S
WARBLERS and at least two fledglings were foraging in the tall
Douglas-firs. The fledgings were begging a bit from their parents, but
were also trying to forage on their own, rather tentatively, by
shuffling along the main limbs and stretching out their necks to glean
insects from twigs.

I remembered that Jeff had reported Audubon's Warblers with fledglings
about a week ago, so I assumed that this was the same family. But now
(looking at the list archives) I see that the warbler family found by
Jeff was near his place in the Griggs area of Linn Co.

Coming back home via Richardson Gap and Crabtree, when I detoured south
on Brewster Rd to drop off a key, I saw a male NORTHERN HARRIER tangling
with an adult BALD EAGLE over a grass field. It was hard to say who was
chasing whom, but my guess is that the eagle may have come too close to
a harrier nest.

I made a very brief attempt to listen for Red-eyed Vireos along the
South Santiam River near Crabtree, but the late-morning traffic made
that a hopeless effort.


Happy birding,
Joel

--
Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis





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