Date: 3/2/17 7:53 pm
From: Lars Per Norgren <larspernorgren...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Malheur County birds

some chronological perspective:
On Feb 11 the Ontario sewage ponds were not surprisingly frozen and covered with snow on the same 4 of 5 .
Being a Saturday the road was gated. I had to walk, and the wind was fierce enough i didn't walk very close. There
may have been a Redhead, but I missed it. There were
100s of Ring-necked Duck
Dozens of Lesser Scaup
8 Goldeneye, mostly standing on the bank
A very few Bufflehead
10 Gadwall, the only puddleducks present

There is a large island just south of town . The mainland bank near the bridge had scores of Coot, Mallard, and Baldpate. Half a mile south of the bridge, on the larger channel of the Snake, 45 Goldeneye were busy diving for shellfish (they looked suspiciously like the dreaded Quagga mussel, an invasive from the Dnieper) in the company of many score Mallards. This was right up against the bank, some of the best studies I've ever had of Goldeneye.

i wisely skipped the Ontario sewage ponds Feb 25. There were no ducks or coot on the west channel of the Snake at lunchtime last Saturday where the bridge crosses, and the main channel where so many Goldeneyes were two weeks earlier had none, but Mallard numbers were up.
Ft Boise WMA at the mouth of the Boise River had hundreds, nearly a thousand, Mallards and three or four Wood Ducks. I'm sorry to say I saw them all aloft because some yahoo with a motor bigger than his boat was roaring up and down every slough he could negociate to scare them up. Duck season ended weeks ago in Oregon. It seemed to be still going in the State of Permitfree Concealed Weapons.
Shortly after "rallying the birds" as my father always described this federal offense, I heard gunfire upstream from whence the boat had originated.
There were one or two thousand Snow and Ross' Geese on the wing, all headed north at various levels at 3-4pm on 2/25 at Ft Boise WMA . About a thousand White-fronted Geese were on the ground along Sharp Road, the southern boundary of Ft Boise WMA.
True to its name the Boise River is heavily wooded, unlike the nearby Owyhee and Malheur. In May and June the passerine birding could be great.

On Mar 2, 2017, at 6:23 PM, <jmeredit...> wrote:

> Vale Sewage Pond area was very muddy and had deep puddles and I could not / did not try to make it in to check birds. Not even sure whether the ponds were frozen etc.
> Ontario Sewage ponds facility has maintained road access but 4 of the 5 ponds were totally frozen. The open pond had:
> 45 Gadwall
> 1 Common Goldeneye
> 1 Redhead
> 3 Lesser Scaup
> 1 Ring-necked
> 1 Bufflehead, in poor condition
> Mallards
> Killdeer all over.
> Period. No Swallows over here.
> I suspect that with the river open, most birds are there. Flocks of Brewer's and Red-winged Blackbirds mixed with Starlings were in many places and in flocks of all sizes. Nothing unusual found with any of them I was able to look at closely. Otherwise highway driving and no stopping. Judy Meredith, <jmeredit...>
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