Sunday, July 18, 2021

Rickreall Creek Trail System

Black-capped Chickadee

Rickreall Creek winds its way through the center of Dallas.  Along its banks the City of Dallas is developing a system of trails. At this point it is made up of 8 different sections, or phases. Eventually it will become one continuous route. It is a fantastic location for birding, even though not all sections connect at this time. I enjoy every minute of my time here looking, listening and photographing birds.  Here is a collection of my favorite photos taken so far for this month.

Cedar Waxwing

Wilson's Warbler

Violet-green Swallow

Spotted Towhee

Green Heron

Wild Turkeys

Monday, July 12, 2021

Osprey Success

This is a story of Osprey success!  For background you need to know that this Osprey season of 2020-21 has been a very difficult one. For the second year in a row the Osprey nest in Independence at the Riverview Park failed. This is a closely watched nest site because there is a live camera mounted there and it is watched by a wide audience. Last year the male just disappeared, and the female stopped setting on the eggs.  This year she had two new suiters, but she eventually seemed to give up on them and abandoned the nest.  Another nest site is located at 9th and Patterson in West Salem, also with a live cam, but the extreme triple digit heat in June killed the three juveniles. So this morning, June 12, I was very pleased to find three large juveniles on the nest site in West Salem on Murlark Ave.  

Three healthy looking juveniles on the Murlark Ave. nest site.  Easily identified as juvenile by the white edging on their feathers. The bird in the middle obviously has a full croup, a good indication they are getting fed. This nest site is only about a block away from the river. 

While watching the juveniles I noticed a forth bird circle around, which gave chase to a fifth bird, an obvious interloper. She continued to circle the nest, producing clucking noises toward at me.  Eventually I figured out that she was not going land at the nest as long as I was pointing a camera around, so I hid out of sight under a tree.  Then she came into the nest.

You have to look close at this photo to notice that there are actually two Osprey.  They are so close together that they look like one bird.  It actually appears that the mother is giving a protective hug to one of the juveniles.  Adults are easy to identify by the yellow eyes, where as juveniles have brown eyes. Click on the image for a closer look.


Saturday, July 3, 2021

E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area

one of many new benches along the trail

We took a trip this morning to go birding at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Management Area. This is the site of the former Camp Adair, a US Army Training Base from 1942 to 1945. Jeanette had suggested it several times recently as a place to go birding, and I was not that interested, but once again she had the right idea!  I checked eBird, and it has been ten years since we were last birding there. This nice new bench in the shade of an oak tree caught my attention right off, it's one of many improvements we spotted on our walk to the fishing pond.


Jeanette using Merlin to record and identify a singing bird

The real story of the day however, was our first experience with our iPhone using the Bird Song ID feature of the Merlin app.  It was amazing!  Jeanette is shown in the photo above recording a bird's song.  Almost instantaneously, Merlin identifies the bird and displays the name and image of the bird. This will truly be a transforming tool for anyone interested in identifying bird sounds. It allowed us to probably double the number of birds we were able to identify today.  You can see our eBird Observation List with photos by clicking here


Friday, July 2, 2021

Huddleston Pond - Willamina

Yesterday we took off for a morning of birding at one of our old favorites, Huddleston Pond in nearby Willamina.  We have birded there a lot in winter over the years, because a lot of waterfowl visit then.  But we have not visited much in the summer, so this was almost a new experience.  We were surprised to discover the mosquitos were one of the most numerous life species. One of the most pleasing finds were these nesting Ospreys, shown in the bottom photo. The male is on the left, and the female is on the right.  Not shown in this photo is a juvenile who popped it's head up for a moment. This is particular reassuring to find a successful nest after nest failures this year in Independence, and this past week due to heat a nest failure, three juveniles in West Salem.  You can view our e-Bird Observation List and additional photos by clicking here.