Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fern Hill Wetlands, Trip 2

What a difference a week makes. The weather for Beginning Birding 2, Session 2, couldn't have been more cooperative! No rain, no snow, no hail, and even a long sunbreak! Everyone was pleased and I was glad to take my second group of students on a tour of the wetlands. Birds were similar to last week but the complete list is below. We scored on swallows with four species, all seen very well.

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Merganser
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Mourning Dove
Scrub Jay
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Marsh Wren
American Robin
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch

Since the skies were holding themselves together I decided to head over to Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge, where our second trip will be held, to check the place out. I hadn't been there since it was much drier so I was pleased to find high water levels and lots of waterfowl.

I tried digiscoping but it just wasn't happening, focus-wise. I don't know what I was doing wrong.

I liked this one only because I caught a Tree Swallow, too. Dark back, light underparts and the dark comes down below the eye.
The duck is a female Ring-necked Duck

These two are male Ring-necked Ducks. This is a good example of how to identify ducks by patterns of dark and light feathers. This duck has a dark head, chest and back, lighter sides, and a dark rump. It also shows a bright white patch at the shoulder and a white ring around its bill. 100% of birders agree; it should have been called Ring-billed Duck.

Speaking of black and white ducks, can you spot the duck in the photo below? It's one that really pops out at you even without binoculars. Leave a comment with your guess as to
its identity.

After looking over the water for awhile, I headed over to a small group of oaks. I heard a Kestrel call and found her diving at a Red-tailed Hawk who quickly left the scene. I'll be checking that tree for a Kestrel nest next time I'm there. Then I heard a White-breasted Nuthatch calling. I soon found it next to a cavity at the very top of an oak. It dipped inside for a second then came out and sat calling and calling for over five minutes. It's a treat to see White-breasted Nuthatches so I watched it for as long as I could. Finally the temperature dropped as clouds moved in and I made my way home.


NW Nature Nut said...

I have no idea what that duck is just a white speck on my computer. Bufflehead?

me ann my camera said...

What very beautiful landscape shots and I especially love the last one of the tree. And I noticed the little Tree Swallow when you mentioned it; very cute; I love pictures with surprises in them. I note that you have the Northern Rough-winged Swallow on your list also. The Rough-winged is not that common here but I sometimes find them nesting near an old railroad bridge or at the edge of the river near some old cracks and minature cave like holes in ledges along the riverbank. It always interesting to compare the similarites between east and west.