Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Rewarding Morning

Huddleston Pond

A good amount of rain was in the forecast to arrive midday yesterday, so continuing to work our "bright spot" plan we made a morning trip to Huddleston Pond in Willamina. I was hoping that recent rains would have brought in some winter migrants to the pond.  When we arrived, all was quiet, and we immediately began to think we were going to have to make a second choice of where to bird, but we started off on a loop of the pond.  The further we went the more birds we started to pick up, and by the end we had identified 22 species.  You can see the complete list here.  

The real story of the day is a rare bird we happen to get, a Black Scoter.  All Scoters; Surf, White-winged, and Black, are coastal and rarely seen in the Willamette Valley.  Jeanette is the spotter on our team and I'm the recorder/photographer.  She noticed an unusual bird with a lot of white swimming near a couple Pied-billed Grebes, and called to me to get a photo.  As I zoomed in the camera, I was unsure so took a number of photos.  As I looked at them later in the camera, I decided it was probably a female Ruddy Duck, a common bird to be seen arriving this time of year.  When I got home and down-loaded the photos to my lap-top, it didn't look right.  Searching through bird guides I began to think it was a female Black Scoter.  But as I looked at eBird records, none had ever been seen at Huddleston Pond, and very few have ever been seen in the Willamette Valley.  So, I retracted my Scoter idea and settled for a Ruddy Duck.

Late last night while reading "Oregon Bird New" on my iPhone I was surprised to see a birder reporting that a Black Scoter had been seen at Willamina Pond by Jim & Jeanette Scott!  Isaac Denzer, an amazing teen-age birder, had recognized my photo on eBird of a Ruddy Duck was actually a Black Scoter and reported it on Oregon Bird News.  It was confirmed on site by another birder, and then reconfirmed by veteran Yamhill birder Paul Sullivan.  Wow, a first time ever at that location! I gladly changed my Ruddy Duck to a Black Scoter.

female Black Scoter