Bird list for BOGS walk at west end of Royal Avenue, Thurs. 05-09-19, 9-11:40am.
Leader: Floyd Weitzel. Weather: sunny, warm (60 to 71deg.).
-compiled by Janet Naylor
Note: The water was too high for shorebirds.
The weather for our Fern Ridge Bird Walk was wonderfully bright and sunny and it was even WARM! Okay, the one caveat is that by the end at 11:40 I was getting pretty hot even while wearing a hat.
The birding for our once-again-large group got off with a bang: A pair of Western Bluebirds right alongside the path. I'm pretty sure everyone got to see them since they stayed around for a while, starting off on a sign and then returning to a bush right next to the trail a few minutes later and staying there a few minutes.
For the first time we were graced by a singing Yellow-breasted Chat from the trees about 50 - 70 yards north of the Royal Ave path, not very far from the parking lot. I get more excited than most people about hearing this bird sing. I suppose that is because I have some history with this bird going back to my first hearing the Chats at Page Springs Campground near Frenchglen during my first visit to Malheur Refuge in 1975 or 76. Subsequent to that, one time in the early 80s I thought about habitats near Eugene which seemed like they might be right for Chats. I came up with the idea of checking out some marshy areas east of Elijah Bristow Park. When I went out there, I DID INDEED find Chata singing. I felt pretty good about that. In those days the only place people reported Chats in the valley was near Pigeon Butte at Finley Refuge. Field guides only spoke of thick vegetation above marshy areas being Chat habitat. More recently the guides also include drier upland areas with some low dense vegetation. The Woodpecker Loop trail at Finley had a group of chats a few years ago and for our first Summer BOGS walk, we went there a few years ago - perhaps 2016 - and heard them.
At Fern Ridge Thursday we found Marsh Wrens singing in several places and someone located a nest in the cattails too.
Another highlight which lots of people enjoyed was an American Bittern flying past us not very far away.
Some folks near the back of the group got to see a Yellow-headed Blackbird which I think was spotted by Jennnifer Haynes.
At the observation platform, we had some views of Black Terns flying around. These are a favorite of Doris's. American White Pelicans were seen both on "Pelican Island" to the southwest of the platform, and also flying around a few times in the distance.
I'm told that a Bullock's Oriole was also seen on the walk back. I returned to the parking lot a few minutes ahead of the group and I heard TWO Yellow-breasted Chats singing back and forth at each other. Usually they stop singing by around 9am in May, but if there is more than one male singing they keep going to establish their territories. I recorded them. There's one moment when both are singing at the same time. I made two recordings, but didn't get the full range of all their kooky sounds.
I ran into Floyd a few days after the Fern Ridge bird-walk and he asked me if I had stopped at the Acorn Woodpecker Oak Grove on my way home. I had not, but he and some others had done so and saw several very active Acorn Woodpeckers right out in the open. If you missed this, you're in luck because Don saw them and photographed them! The slideshow ends with some excellent close-up photos of the Acorn Woodpeckers!