Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7

Forget February. Busy, busy, busy with book revisions, Winter Wings Festival programs, nordic ski races, life. The birding was tough - how many times do I have to walk the First Street Rapids trail before I find that damn Harris's sparrow? Obviously, more times than I've been done there.

Seemed like wherever I went, I was met with bitter cold and winds, poor luck or repeat species. Not that the latter is bad. I can watch golden-crowned sparrows until the day turns to night or hoot for non-existent owls until the night turns to day. It's the "being out there" that is the most important.

Still, I wouldn't have minded picking up a new species. Or two.

Today, I walked the Old Mill District loop along the Deschutes River and saw about 14 waterfowl individuals. Not species, but total number of ducks and geese. Pretty slim. But, much to my surprise I picked up a white-fronted goose trying to hook up with a pair of Canada geese and a greater scaup moving in on a pair of ring-necked ducks. The soaring trio of geese disbanded after the Canadians landed on a nearby roof, and the white-fronted was forced to land in the river. Even its honking sounded mournful.

The scaup was diving and swimming with the ring-necks. It would be interesting to see if they hang out together on their migration or if the ring-necks try to ditch the scaup.

Of course, I was looking for another species. A woman sent me a photo of a female Barrow's goldeneye that she had observed the other day. I couldn't find a goldeneye even if my  name was Bond. Scare would be giving the birding a lot of credit. Even the lone robin in the parking area seemed like a teaser.

But, things progress. The juncos in my yard are singing, the house finches are thinning out, the lone song sparrow seems to be showing up more often, the pygmy nuthatches are pounding away on my neighbors garage, trying to break in. Nothing but fun in birdlandia. Of course, I can always count on the local quail stopping by.

Species to date: 80

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