Date: 12/2/18 8:24 pm From: David Irons <llsdirons...> Subject: [obol] Re: White-winged and Surf Scoters - Columbia County
I agree Jeff, the Columbia River certainly offers up an infinitely better mid-winter birding experience than it did back in the 1970s (and earlier in your case). I was under the impression that quagga mussels had gotten into the lower Columbia, but according to the article linked below invasive quagga and zebra mussels have yet to reach the Columbia Basin, the only major river system in the U.S. that is free of them.
I don't know anything about the asian clams that Wayne mentions. They may be every bit as problematic ultimately, but they don't seem to the poster children for "bad bivalves" like the two aforementioned species, which are a real nightmare elsewhere. I will have to read up about asian clams. Scoters, scaup and goldeneyes are all doing well in the Columbia River these days. Whatever they are eating, it seems to be plentiful.
From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...>
Sent: Monday, December 3, 2018 4:08 AM
To: Jeff Gilligan; David Irons
Subject: Re: [obol] Re: White-winged and Surf Scoters - Columbia County
Asian clam - Corbicula fluminea
On 12/2/2018 10:58:45 PM, Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...> wrote:
Dave and all
Its been speculated before, but the Columbia River seems be much much better for diving ducks that eat mollusks than in the old days. I recall when it was difficult to see any on the main river on the Portland and Sauvie’s Island CBCs. Either the native mullosks have increased, or there is a non-native species that has become established.
There are crazy numbers of Common Goldeneyes along that section of the Columbia right now. Last weekend (Friday after Thanksgiving) Shawneen and I saw a group of about 30 on the Oregon side by the entrance to the little lagoon just before you get to Rentenaar Rd. Then on that Sunday we birded the Washington side up around Woodland Bottoms and counted nearly 90 near Deer Island. We only scrounged up one female Surf Scoter and could not tease a Tufted Duck out of several hundred scaup (mostly Lessers). We continued north through Kalama and Longview and back over to the Oregon. At Prescott County Park we had another 20 or so goldeneyes. I love birding along the Columbia River this time of year (both up and downstream from Portland).
Steve Rogers and I saw an adult male White-winged Scoter and a female Surf Scoter, with about 15 Common Goldeneyes on the Columbia River, where the pavement on Reeder Road along the Columbia River ends and gravel begins.