Monday, April 23, 2018

Western Bluebird Eggs!

Jeanette asked me this afternoon if I had seen the bluebirds today.  They seem to come and go, and we are not really sure if anything is going on with the nest or not. "No", I replied, "I don't think I have". I went to my den window to double check myself, and after looking around the front yard and staring at the blue bird nesting box for awhile I thought I might see a head inside of the entrance.  I got my binoculars and watched as the female squeezed out the opening and flew off to a street lamp post. As I continued to watch she flew back to our front porch gutter, and then flew off to the west in the direction of a green-way. I decided this was the time to find out if anything was going on with the nesting box. I got Jeanette, gave her my cell phone, and we made a quick inspection of the box.  To our complete surprise and astonishment we discovered these six eggs!  Western Bluebirds lay eggs at the pace of one a day, so this has been going on for at least six days.  Incubation takes two weeks, so we will try to wait patiently and keep our fingers crossed that they hatch successfully. By the way, we did a complete inventory of the rest of our nesting boxes, two that have had swallow activity were completely bare, the third had a House Sparrow start up nest, which got emptied.

Friday, April 13, 2018

More On Owl Chicks

Our good friend John West went to Cattail Cove State Park today to get this photo of the Great Horned Owl chicks.  Notice, on the far left is also an adult, which I would assume is the mom.  My guess is the chicks hatched some time around the first week in March, and will probably not be able to leave the nest until around the middle of May.  Even though they can fly then, they will still be dependent of being fed by the parents for a couple of more months. Owls hatch asynchronous, meaning not at the same time, and this is evident if you look at this post and the former post, you can see the three chicks are of different sizes.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Arizona Owl Chicks

I now have photographic evidence of the Great Horned Owl chicks at Cattail Cove State Park!  Regular readers of this blog will remember that Jeanette and I spent January and February volunteering at Cattail Cove State Park in Arizona.  While there, Jeanette was very fortunate to find the small cave where the female Great Horned Owl was starting to nest. This was on February 3rd.  Because the incubation period for Great Horned Owl is approximately 35 days, we were not able to see the chicks before we left at the end of February.  Yesterday we received e-mail from Ron and Alison Husak with an attachment of the above photo. Look close and you can see there are three chicks!  Alison was on some of my bird walks, and so knew the location of the nest, and took the above photo yesterday.  Below is the first photo of the mom on the nest, taken on February 3rd, for comparison.
  

Monday, April 2, 2018

Osprey Obsession

2018 begins my fifth year of paying attention to nesting Osprey in the West Salem Area.  It started with volunteering at the Salem Audubon Nature Reserve on Eola Drive in 2014.  I was captivated with the Osprey that came to the platform that had been installed by Salem Electric.  The next year, returning Osprey to the nest site on Murlark Ave was brought to my attention by friend John West. Then I began keeping track of other sites in West Salem, the site at Patterson Street & 9th, and the site at the ball fields at Wallace Marine Park.  Keeping track of the observations and adding photos is made easy with e-Bird, and now I go to a whole new level of craziness, adding names.  Another birder/photographer on Facebook has come up with the novel idea of assigning names to the Osprey she photographs to help her keep track.  She gives them a name starting with the first letter of the location of the nest site.  So here goes for my collection of nesting Osprey in West Salem this year.

Each year it seems the first nest site to be occupied is the platform on Murlark Ave.  This female was first observed at the site on March 18th this year. A male has now joined her.  I'm thinking Muriel and Merl.


The Patterson & 9th Streets location provided a sighting on March 22nd.  Salem Electric has now installed a live cam which can be viewed via You Tube.  However if the bird is on the perch as in this photo it is out of range from the camera.  This female was photographed on 4/1/18. Patricia & Patrick seem right.


The ball field at Wallace Marine Park has long had an Osprey Nest.  This occupying pair was noted and photographed on March 30.  Wally sits on top of the pole while Wendy sits on the nest.


The site on Eola Drive NW at the Salem Audubon Nature Reserve was the last of the four central West Salem sites to be claimed this year.  I believe this to be the returning male from last year.  I think Ernie fits him.

I don't know that handing out names helps any in keeping track, but it does make them a lot more personable than just referring to them as "the male" or "the female". Names can always be changed, so if you have any better suggestions, please leave a comment.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Seeking Her Favor


The saga of the Osprey nest on Murlark Ave continues. Yesterday morning when I stopped by the queen was on her throne, and it appeared two male supplicants were seeking her approval. They where circling overhead, hovering and making quiet a display.  In this photo the male, who I believe is the favored one, came in with a fish for a brief moment and then left.  I have watched this behavior before at other nesting sites and what normally happens is the male will perch near by and eat the head off of the fish before bringing it back to the female. This nesting site is currently the best location to watch the Osprey in their annual nesting routine.  I have suggested to eBird that it be classified as a Hot Spot, and it is now so designated.  This brings attention to the site with other birders, helping them locate and hopefully contribute to the data base with observations and photos.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Back To Our Old Haunts

We have been back home from our winter in Arizona for over two weeks now, and are enjoying birding at some of our old haunts.  Today we went to Fairview Dr Wetlands in South Salem.  It's on the list of our all time favorites, and possibly our oldest. I checked and we have been birding here for 20 years.  Here is the link to the oldest bird list is could find. We were starting to get serious enough that we started to make a written list then.  At that time we lived with-in walking distance of the wetlands.  We were much more into hiking at that time, more so than birds, so hiking to the wetlands  was simply a destination for a hike. It has developed over the years with the addition of wonderful trails and lots of native plantings.  A trip there now always brings back a flood of memories from our many birding experiences over the years. Here is the link for today's trip.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Building of the Nest


The saga of the Osprey nest site on Murlark Ave in West Salem continues.  We orginally spotted the female at the nest site on Sunday.  Monday we checked, no birds.  Today, Tuesday when I checked the female was back on the pilots perch.  I stopped to take some photos, and she started giving an excited cry, and then the male flew in with this stick.  A fresh cotton wood limb with buds. It seems that they are getting right down to business.