Date: 10/27/20 4:25 pm
From: Joel Geier <clearwater...>
Subject: [obol] Trumpeter Swans back in Airlie area (s. Polk County), Golden Eagle & Snow Goose at Baskett Slough NWR
Daughter Martha and I decided to head up to Baskett Butte for a walk this afternoon. It was a beautiful day to be out, with a clear sky above and trees turning various shades of orange, yellow, brown, while poison-oak added splashes of red. We could see Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson in the distance, but noticed a layer of haze over the western Cascades where fires are still smoldering.

On the Rich Guadagno Memorial loop trail we encountered a nice mix of woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, creepers and chickadees, and also spotted a juvenile GOLDEN EAGLE soaring over the fields north of the butte, visible through the area where the trees were thinned in 2019.

Just as we came back to the trail junction where there's a sign featuring a photo of a WESTERN MEADOWLARK, we heard a real live one singing, as if right on cue, in the saddle area of the butte to the west.

On our way out we stopped by "the narrows" area along Coville Road, and noticed a SNOW GOOSE quietly keeping to itself while a couple of big Canada Geese were in semi-mortal combat behind them, presumably a dispute related to the upcoming election. There were also plenty of Cackling Geese and Mallards, and a few Shovelers, Pintails, and Gadwall.

We returned home by way of Dallas and Airlie Road. When we got to De Armond Road in south Polk Co., we decided to check to see if any swans had shown up yet on Kester Pond (the pond in the little hamlet along that road). I was thinking, it seems like time for a few Tundra Swans to be showing up, though still too early for Trumpeters.

But much to my surprise, there were two TRUMPETER SWANS dabbling on the pond -- looked like an adult male and adult female. While the female was tipping up to feed, there were several Green-winged Teal swimming right around her -- a remarkable contrast in size, to have the largest and smallest waterfowl in North America, swimming side-by-side.

South and east of there where Robison Road meets Wiles Road, we found a nice flock of bluebirds. Roy Gerig has found Mountain Bluebirds here more than once, so we looked through them carefully, but they were all Western Bluebirds -- still always fun to see and hear their soft little calls!

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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