Huddleston Pond in Willamina
For the second year in a row, Jeanette and I have made the decision to stay home for the winter rather than travel to Southern California and Arizona. Yesterday morning while in-route to Huddleston Pond to go birding we were going through the pros and cons of our decision. We are at the age where it is much more stressful to travel a lot of miles, but beyond that we seem to have a good time right here in Oregon. Our day turned out to be a pretty powerful reminder of how much adventure we get to enjoy right here close to home. As we circled the pond counting and photographing birds, we noticed one bird was not one we normally see. We spent a good amount of effort in trying to get a good photo to be able to make a positive identification, which was hard because it seemed determined to feed along the edge of the pond opposite of where we were, and it continued to disappear as it dove under water in search of food. Back at the van, I downloaded the photos into my laptop where I could get a closer look and then searched on my phone apps for an identification. In the end I came up with a female Red-breasted Merganser. I needed to be positive because it was a species not expected to be seen here. They are a species normally found in the bays and lower rivers of the coast. In fact a Red-breasted Merganser had never been reported in Yamhill County or Polk County! But I did have the photographic evidence, and by the time I got up this morning two of the top birders in these two counties had found and reported this bird. So, we seem to discover all the excitement we need to keep us satisfied, and the Autumn colors are glorious.