Date: 2/7/18 2:11 pm
From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
Subject: [obol] [Fwd: Brownsville-area grassland birds: singing lark, Say's Phoebe and lots of pipits]
As this posting mentions MIGRATORY birds, I've taken the precaution of
cross-posting to BOO. ;-)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
Reply-to: <joel.geier...>
To: MidValley Birds <birding...>
Subject: Brownsville-area grassland birds: singing lark, Say's Phoebe
and lots of pipits
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2018 13:57:52 -0800

Hi all,

After hauling some Willamette Valley Birding Trail (WVBT) guides up to
Eugene this morning, I meandered my way back via side roads on the east
side of I-5.

With fog still hanging, visibility was generally less than a quarter
mile -- so not an ideal day for spotting raptors. However two
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were perched in small near roadside at the Diamond
Hill wetlands (WVBT site S6), along with the usual Red-tailed Hawks. A
few WESTERN MEADOWLARKS were also sitting up on shrubs, and two HORNED
LARKS were foraging in the ditch on the south side of the road.

Farther north along Belts Rd (WVBT Site S7) I encountered a big flock of
AMERICAN PIPITS near the intersection with Tub Run Rd., where Doug Stotz
recently reported a Lapland Longspur. It might well still be hanging
around with that pipit flock, but they were too far out in the fog for
me to have much hope of picking a longspur out of the flock.

Along Bond Butte Rd. north of there I continued to encounter pipit
flocks. Then (just east of the south end of Central School Rd.) I heard
a HORNED LARK singing not far from the road (but invisible in the fog).

After a detour to Thompsons Mill State Park to say hello to a friend who
used to work at Luckiamute State Natural Area, I zig-zagged up to Ward
Butte. Along Morgan Dr. west of Seven Mile Lane, about 80-90 more PIPITS
were perched in the upper branches of a solitary tree. They seem to do
this (use high perches) mainly when they're getting ready to migrate
out, but this seems early for that.

Along Manning Rd. on the east side of Ward Butte, about 120 more PIPITS
were perched up on a utility wire. A SAY'S PHOEBE which others have
reported over the winter was still hanging around on the east side of
the butte.

Farther north along Glaser Rd., three male "STREAKED" HORNED LARKS (easy
to recognize by how colorful they were) were interacting in a nearly
bare field about a mile east of Seven Mile Dr. I didn't see any females
with them but this is one of the more reliable places to see these birds
during nesting season.

Other species along the way included NORTHERN HARRIER (four or five
total) and AMERICAN KESTREL (15 or so), a few eagles, sparrows and
juncos here & there, and lots of starlings and blackbirds. Some new
wetlands/impoundments (maybe rice fields or some kind of hunting club
project? -- didn't look like a real "restoration" project) along the
south side of Tub Run Rd. had well over 100 ducks. The ones close to the
road included Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail, the others
appeared to be Fog Dabblers.

Happy birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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