Date: 2/21/18 1:46 pm From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...> Subject: [obol] Sandhill Crane south of Brownsville plus various Linn Co. grassland birds
This morning Bob Altman and I took a meandering route through western Linn County.
Just south of Brownsville along Holmes Rd., as we were checking out a possible dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk and trying to decide if it might be a Harlan's, a lone SANDHILL CRANE came flying over, calling, fairly low. It circled around and called for about a minute but we didn't hear any answering calls.
South of there along Belts Rd. west of Gap Rd., an adult PEREGRINE FALCON was standing on the ground out in a field, surprisingly close to a large excavating machine that seemed to be working on an expansion of the large new private wetlands. Two big flocks of shorebirds (we were guessing DUNLIN, probably upward of 3000 total) were flying back and forth in the distance, occasionally settling down to feed in the mud.
We saw lots of BALD EAGLES, RED-TAILED HAWKS and AMERICAN KESTRELS. Some of the kestrels and a couple of the Red-tails seemed to be paired up.
We didn't find any HORNED LARKS despite focusing quite a bit on fields in areas that have had them historically. We did find SAVANNAH SPARROW and AMERICAN PIPIT flocks in a couple of places.
A SAY'S PHOEBE was still on the east side of Ward Butte along Manning Rd.
About that puzzling dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk along Holmes Rd: The underside of the bird's tail was whitish with a smudgy, indistinct terminal band but no other apparent banding. That seemed right for Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk but the bird's breast and belly were uniformly dark brownish-black, with no light streaking. According to Sibley, a Harlan's shouldn't have any brown tones.