[midvalleybirds] Fwd: Filbert Country Fowl: Trumpeters, eurowigeon and egrets

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Sat Jan 18 13:25:42 PST 2020

Following a tip from Deanna Emig who spotted Trumpeter Swans near Airlie, today I made a loop through the Suver-Airlie neighborhood of southern Polk County. 

So many filbert (hazelnut) irrigation ponds have sprouted up in this neighborhood lately that it's getting unwieldy to describe their locations in words. Instead I've labeled them on the map at: 
[ https://www.freelists.org/archives/obol/01-2020/jpgcNcZaIYQS_.jpg | https://www.freelists.org/archives/obol/01-2020/jpgcNcZaIYQS_.jpg ] 
A few of the older ponds (Wendell Kreder Reservoir and Kester Pond) have official names according to the US Geological Survey. The rest of these are my own suggestions. 

Starting from Suver (where I checked unsuccessfully for the Northern Mockingbird that Mitch Ratzlaff spotted there last month), I continued west on Airlie Rd, pausing briefly at the intersection with De Armond Rd. where "Lac Nutella" had just the usual small flock of Canada Geese. I didn't bother to check Kester Pond as it was devoid of waterfowl when I went by there yesterday. 

Farther west I also skipped "Hazelberry Pond" (a short jog south on Berry Creek Rd), because it's hard to see into and seldom has birds. 

However after I turned onto Sauerkraut Rd, I found "Sour Slaw Slough" was covered with about 600 ducks -- mainly American Wigeon with at least one EURASIAN WIGEON drake, plus many Mallards, Northern Pintails, and Green-winged Teal. 

While I was scanning through the wigeons, suddenly six TRUMPETER SWANS (all adults) came swimming into view. They must have come out of the partly flooded patch of corn that's been left standing along the north shore of this new, shallow pond. This is the same place where Deanna spotted more than a dozen Trumpeters earlier this week. 

Passing through the Christmas tree farms north of there, I saw several KESTRELS but no shrikes or phoebes. Continuing east along Simpson Rd I checked Helmick Slough, a backwater of the Luckiamute River south of Helmick State Park. In past years this slough has drawn mixed flocks of up to a hundred swans, plus sometimes a thousand or more dabbling ducks. But today it had only a little water and just a few Mallards. 

Finally I jogged over to Hwy 99W and checked "Lake Filbert," the biggest of the local filbert-irrigation ponds. This had about 500 back-lit ducks, mainly Green-winged Teal, Mallards, and pintails, plus a few big Western Canada Geese standing on the berm (perhaps starting to think about nesting season). 

This area -- especially along Airlie Rd. -- used to be a good area for Horned Larks, pipits, and open-country raptors including Rough-legged Hawks and falcons, but I only saw a few Red-tailed Hawks and kestrels, plus one Northern Harrier. 

Joel Geier 
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis 

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