Date: 9/19/19 3:28 pm From: Roy Gerig <roygerig...> Subject: [obol] Ruff and Stilt Sandpiper at Morgan Lake, Baskett Slough NWR
I finally felt the strength and courage to walk into Morgan Lake in BSNWR, about 1/3 of a mile. It was slow and tiring, but worth it on this beautiful late summer day. (off topic) A tumor on and subsequent damage to my spinal cord has left me with nerve damage that makes it very hard to walk, but I am slowly recovering. By spring migration time I should be able to walk almost like a regular person, according to the neurosurgeon who is seeing me through this. He calls me professor, and I call him doctor.
The lake is down to two puddles with lots of mudflats and giant freshwater snails from either Japan (japonicus) or China (chinensis), I cannot remember the genus to tell you the binomial...and lots of shorebirds. The giant snails were identified for me by Dr Joe Furnish of Salem BLM in 1992, at that time we did not know of them around Salem except at Morgan Lake.
There were 80 Dowitchers, several each of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, 10 Western Sandpipers, and what I first thought to be an extreme Short-billed Dowitcher except it was noticeably smaller but feeding with them and like them, it raised a wing so that I could see a white rump, a STILT SANDPIPER. It is pale gray, paler and smaller than a Lesser Yellowlegs next to it.
Nearby with some Greater Yellowlegs but a little smaller with a short all dark bill and yellow legs was a male RUFF. The RUFF and a Greater Yellowlegs flew over to the puddle north of the main puddle when I could see the white U on the upper tail coverts. I have seen 2 or 3 Ruffs over the past 20 years in Ankeny NWR, south of Salem (BSNWR is west of Salem) that seemed identical to the one today, most likely juvenile and male by size.
On the walk in I saw a SNOW GOOSE with 60 or so Canadas. That seems early. We usually see a few, never more than that of Snow Geese around here in fall/winter