Stopped at Ankeny at 5:00pm today. Last week I saw 3 black phoebes both at Eagle Marsh and at Pintail Marsh. This evening it was 51 degrees, light winds, dreary overcast with a rainbow in the distance, and occasional light showers. I saw six tundra swans at Pintail marsh lightly calling or tucking their heads under their wings as they floated in the middle of the pond. We saw 2 red shouldered hawks flying as a pair and two red tailed hawks sitting on electrical poles or in bare branched trees. Suddenly, an adult bald eagle came down from an electrical pole and swooped into the pond that was filled with coots and many ducks. The eagle seemed to herd the coots into a crowded line with about fifty or so rapidly scattering away as a group to avoid the hunting eagle. He made about 12 passes without catching any coots, dipping to about a foot off the water without touching it, then flashing his white tail and swooping back to altitude in a repeating loop pattern. He landed on a snag in the water, rested for about five minutes, then started again. After another 5 passes he suddenly dipped to the water and snagged a coot from the pack in his talons. He flew back to the top of the pole from which he came, victim hanging down from his feet, and started to pick at the carcass. Right about ten feet from him, a red tailed hawk who was perched on the top of the pole next to the eagle, watched his new friend start the meal. We saw a similar hunting pattern last week at Pintail Marsh with similar success. Was he herding the coots in a premeditated pattern? Hard to say but his activity was successful twice that I have seen.
We also heard shots in the distance from what we guessed was a hunter. Then an amazing rise of cacklng geese rose over the trees about a half mile away, loudly yelping as they took wing. We estimated at least ten thousand were airborne within a minute of the shots we heard.
An amazing sight! All within a 30 minute period during a last minute stop-by visit. It's the wonder of witnessing events such as these that keep me always coming back to the enjoyment of birding.
Paul Evans , Salem
On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 3:27 PM, Roy Gerig <roygerig...> wrote:
> On the way to Albany where my Mom lives, I stopped at Ankeny. I always > do. Shortly after I stopped when Marty Cunningham and I were visiting and > birding, a 1st winter BONAPARTE'S GULL landed for 5 minutes or so at > Pintail Marsh, it came in for real nice views before it left again a cute > bird. My disapproval of Gulls only goes to the larger pink legged ones. > Getting late, 3 BARN SWALLOWS were around..otherwise a dozen DUNLIN seemed > to be looking for a place to land, but the water is too high for exposed > mud. Some LEAST Sandpipers similarly > > For awhile now there's been a couple BLACK PHOEBES and imm RED SHOULDERED > Hawks around.. > > Roy Gerig, Salem OR >
-- Paul Evans DO, FACOFP Vice Dean and Director, Physician Leadership Development Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific- Northwest 200 Mullins Drive Lebanon, OR 97355 541-259-0667