Posted by: atowhee | February 25, 2017

WINTER’S SMILE; TUALATIN IS GOOSE CENTRAL

Once upon a time winter gave us a beatific, sunny smile. Not this dawn the wet, cold shoulder of recent times. An antidote to the greed, mendacity and heedless rapacity of earth’s most deadly predator, this day gave us azure skies, cotton-puff clouds, bright reflections on the still water, ducks with butts pointing to heaven.  This morning we relished winter’s brief, beatific smile.  Like flying geese we flocked together and raised our voices.   By 2PM it was raining.img_8514aca-3After this pro-Obamacare demo in downtown Sherwood, my wife and I needed something less MANifest.  We took ourselves just down the road to Tualatin River NWR.
There was a flock of Tree Swallows over the marsh, hawking insects.  Could not find any other swallow species in with them.

Got goose?

gaggl2gaggl1This was just one section of the large Cackling Goose flock that covered much of the grassy area just west Hwy 99W (seen in the background).  The lowland trails at Tualatin are closed by flooding.  The “field” east of Hwy 99W and the Visitors Center is now a shallow lake of about fifty acres.  Ducks and geese there, too. line1All the cormorants were hanging on one fallen tree:cormo
BUGSY

The parking lot signs at the refuge HQ had been nicely warmed by the sun.  Some of our neighbors seeking solar warmth had gathered there for their own demonstration in favor of spring:febug1febug2febug3
SKY HIGH

Words fail when you behold what nature does with no concern for show, for adoration, for acclaim or even attention.  Nature just does. wntr-blu2wntr-blu3wntr-blu5That snow is on the higher peaks of the Coastal Range, west of Sherwood.

Tualatin River NWR–Atfálat’i Unit, Washington, Oregon, US
Feb 25, 2017. 18 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  2000
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
American Wigeon (Anas americana)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  X
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  X
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  X
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  X
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  X
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  8
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  2
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  1
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  20
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  30

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