Date: 11/19/18 7:52 pm From: Brodie Cass Talbott <brodiecasstalbott...> Subject: [obol] OBA Field Trip Report: North Wasco and Sherman Counties
Sorry folks, this was meant to send yesterday, but there were some technical issues...
Saturday's Oregon Birding Association field trip to sites along the Columbia River in Wasco and Sherman counties was blessed with sunny skies, a great group of 12 birders, and some darn good county birds.
First stop was the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center where, thanks to Nick Mrvelj's keen ears, we once again found a very cooperative SWAMP SPARROW at the pond, at one point foraging in plain view of the entire group ( https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010685). Driving in, some participants also saw a pair of GREAT EGRETS. This bird has been seen on all three of my Dalles trips recently, adding weight to Paul Sullivan's recent note that it is possibly increasing in the area.
Next up was a small wastewater treatment pond in the Dalles industrial area that has held a good number of ducks and sparrows recently, including a number of WOOD DUCKS (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010698).
Moving on, we came to a small wetland down the road where we once again found vocal SORA, VIRGINIA RAIL, and MARSH WREN, an impressive haul from such a small patch of urban habitat. Another HERMIT THRUSH was briefly seen as well (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010696).
Moving on to Sherman county, we birded a pretty quiet Deschutes State Park. The passerine activity was lower than previous trips, with a SLATE-COLORED JUNCO perhaps being the best find, but the waterfowl continued to satisfy viewers, with great looks at the lone SNOW GOOSE mixed with a flock of Canadas, and a large group of BARROW'S GOLDENEYE with smaller numbers of COMMON GOLDENEYE mixed in (and one good candidate for a hybrid male, showing an intermediate facial pattern and reduced black spur), all close in in the Deschutes River. A quick scan of the pond on the north side of the highway also yielded a number of CANVASBACKS ( https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010688).
The group made a quick stop at Celilo Park on the way back, where the duck pond had the standard mob of coots, but less diversity of other waterfowl than recent trips. In the main channel the COMMON LOON continues ( https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010695).
We briefly stopped at Seufert County Park to look for the AMERICAN DIPPER we found at the mouth of of Fifteenmile Creek during the scout, but we failed to relocate it. We did, however, have our only (!) BALD EAGLE of the trip at the dam (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010692).
No trip to The Dalles is complete without a stop at Lone Pine, where we scanned the large gull wad, picking out a few HERRING GULLS, and a WESTERN among the hundreds of CALIFORNIA GULLS. A sole PEREGRINE FALCON atop the Dalles Bridge was a nice addition (and probable breeder at the location). We also had a group of 46 SNOW GEESE drop in, which was by far the Wasco County high-count (previous was 10) on eBird. The sample size is quite small, but this fall has shown an uptick in reports of Snow Geese in Wasco County (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50010686).
All told our group found 76 species on the day. Many thanks to Ken Chamberlain for organizing the trip, Nick Mrvelj for faithfully counting up all 3,564 birds for our eBird checklists, and all the participants for their good company and good birding.