As Lars mentions, much of the regional agricultural land, especially at
least in the northern half of the Willamette Valley, is transitioning into
long-term perennial crops such as hazelnut orchards, grapes, blueberries
and hops in the last few years, and nursery stock before the 2008 economic
crisis. This use is mostly coming from grass seed and declining vegetable
acreage such as corn, peas and beans.
This is a contributing reason for the regional decline in Meadowlark,
Horned Larks, Northern Harrier, SE Owls, American Pipits, etc .... which we
pretty much missed all on our Silverton CBC last Friday.
BTW, I had a flurry of kinglet and chickadee activity, along with an
aggravated Hermit Thrush yesterday, obviously trying to harass a small owl
(IMO) that I could never see, in some dense brush at our place.
On Mon, Jan 1, 2018 at 6:34 PM, Lars Per Norgren <larspernorgren...>
> Yes, many perrenial crops in the vicinity of Seward and McClagan have been
> replaced with annual rye-grass. The perrenial crops often supported vole
> populations and raptors that ate them. The stubble of organically grown
> flax had been a roost for Short-eared Owls and is now gone. Pretty much all
> of this area may become hazelnut orchards in the coming decade, so enjoy
> these artificial prairies while you can. Lars
> On Jan 1, 2018, at 6:03 PM, Mary Garrard wrote:
> Hi everyone, thankfully the skies cleared today so I took the opportunity
> to observe and count the Tangent eagle roost, first time this season. Often
> it’s challenging to distinguish between adults and sub-adults in the
> gathering dusk but tonight there was a 10-minute window with clear slanting
> light from the setting sun between two layers of clouds. The white heads
> and tails of the adults simply glowed before the sun dropped behind the
> clouds at the horizon. It was a magnificent few minutes and one of the
> reasons I love living where I have access to the wide open spaces of the
> 4:15 pm 53 birds, 20 full adult.
> 4:30 pm 57 birds, 22 full adult
> 4:45 pm 69 birds, light too dim at this point to be sure of adult/subadult
> Temperature was 41F and dropped into high 30’s by the time I left. Sunset
> at 4:44.
> In the past the surrounding fields were good for raptors including
> red-tails, rough-leggeds, and harriers, as well as short-eared owls.
> Tonight: a lone red-tail and a lone kestrel. I’m not sure why, except that
> the crops may have been rotated to something less appealing. Anybody have a
> Happy New Year and best wishes for a great year for the birds!