Posted by: atowhee | August 21, 2015

TUALATIN SHOREBIRDS

UPDATE: Birding friend Steve Runnels tells me and some other volunteers have put together an updated checklist for Tualation River NWR.  It will be printed as soon as the current supply is exhausted.

I took a 1.5 mile circuit of the part of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge this morning.  I came away pleased with the gloriously mild & smoke-free weather, happy at the shorebird count, and convinced the refuge needs a new printed checklist.  Five of the species I saw today are common enough in the real world but the checklist doesn’t even list them as summer possibles.  I saw nine Greater Yellowlegs which given the “occasional” rating for this season.  Meanwhile, the plain old Ruddy Duck I saw is called “rare” in summer.  Best bird of the morning was a lone Pectoral Sandpiper among the Killdeer about fifty yards south of the southernmost trail that parallels the water delivery channel, in turn south of the visitors center.

My best photos came while another birder and I were standing beside the nearly dry water delivery channel south of the visitors center…and three Greater Yellowlegs came sweeping and peeping in, calling loudly, then they landed and proceeded to make a meal.  We could see the water churning with the motion of small creatures moving about.  We did not wade out to see what the yellowlegs were eating.gy pair (1280x960) gy--cu1 (1280x960) gy-cu2 (1280x960)Note how the yellowlegs closes his eyes as he reaches into the water with his beak, just like a diving human would do. gy-probes (1280x960)Here’s one shot of the distant phalarope. They all flew off while I was there: rnph--tual (1280x960)Queen Anne’s lace, one of the last blooming plants of the drought summer.QALACE (1280x960)There is very little water at Tualatin River NWR so the waterfowl and shorebirds are concentrated about a hundred yards west of the bus stop along OR99W.

Tualatin River NWR– Washington County, Oregon, US
Aug 21, 2015 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM.  20 species.  species not recognized as expected summer birds by printed checklist are in BOLD.  eBird, of course, gives a more accurate summer view of birding TRNWR…and shows that LB Dowitchers are regular there all summer, though not noted by paper checklist.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  500
Gadwall (Anas strepera)  X
American Wigeon (Anas americana)  1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  150
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  1
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)  6
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  20–still several zebra-striped young present
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  4
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  3
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)  2
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  8
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)  9
Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)  1
Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)  3
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)  5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  50
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  20
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  8–feeding in berry-bearing tree along river
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  20
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  4

 

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