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
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.