Photos from personal trips AND trips with
Birds of Oregon and General Science, (BOGS) in association with Eugene's Celeste Campbell Center
BOGS Delta Ponds North,
February 27, 2014
BOGS Delta Ponds North, Feb 27, 2014
Rain was subsiding as we arrived at Delta Ponds North, though the skies did not clear beyond some openings here and there, with a general brightening of the sky overall. It wasn't cold really, especially as we were moving pretty steadily and building up some warmth that way.
We began at the North end trail which goes to a small observation deck looking South over the ponds. A Bewicks Wren was heard first by Nola I think, and then confirmed visually by Steve. Some of us were still looking for movement in the thick brush, while Steve already had the bird in his binoculars and named it. I never did see it, and would have liked to, because it's a very nice looking bird and I rarely see them.
Back near the parking lot, before winding all the way South, we saw a Great Blue Heron flying East over the ponds. It landed on a nest located in a tree on the long peninsula close to the East trail along Delta Hwy. We looked at and photographed the nest several times along our walk, from different locations.
I had been told that American Beavers have been active around the ponds both here and along the river during this period of high water. We saw fresh Beaver gnawings at several places on our walk. A few days after this walk I saw two Beavers (and their wonderful tails) in the ponds near Willamette Oaks along the river.
The usual ducks and geese which winter in the valley were mostly all seen; Pied billed grebe, Canada goose, Mallard, Wood duck, Gadwall, American wigeon, Ring-Necked Duck, Northern shoveler, and Bufflehead. A Canvas-back Duck has been reported at the ponds several times in recent days, but I don't think anyone in our party saw one on this particular day.
We did have a Varied Thrush singing, along with Red-Winged Blackbirds.
Steve pointed out a large black patch on the top of a female Mallard Duck's bill. I've not seen it before so I suspect it is a breeding season thing. She was swimming close by to a male Mallard, undoubtedly her mate.
We walked all the way around the "U" shaped trail system from the parking area on the NW corner, South to the next parking area, East across both bridges, then North to the two promontories which point West into the ponds near where the dedrick slough (or Debrick Slough, depending on how old a map you look at) outlet channel carries water North under Goodpasture Island Rd and under Beltline (Hwy569) and back to the river. At the Northern extent of our walk we found a Pied-Billed Grebe, a few Cedar Waxwings (not photographed), Tree Swallows, and had an even better view of the Herons in the tree with the nest. There were also two or three more GB Heron nests in one tree which we could see to the East across Delta Hwy. There were pairs of birds in at least two of those nests too. There was some discussion whether the Herons have been successful at raising any young in this general area in recent years. Predation of the nests by Bald Eagles has been said to be happening, resulting in the Herons giving up their nests long before any young birds have fledged. While I have not been studiously observing the Herons, I take walks in these areas often and haven't seen birds on the nests beyond some time in March, and I would think that's too early for any young to be fledging.
While there are crocuses and daffodils blooming around town, no such plants are to be found in this particular piece of real- estate. However, some lichens, mosses, fungi and one blooming currant bush did grab my attention on this walk.
There has been constant construction going on all Summer and Winter along Goodpasture Island Rd, making it difficult to hear each other at times, and while walking right along side Delta Hwy the road noise is very loud, and I heard several people saying it was difficult to hear each other. But these ponds are becoming better and better habitat for wildlife, so in spite of the road noise, they are very much a worthwhile place to visit.
On our return trip Steve managed to line up a spotting scope on a Marsh Wren which was chattering up a storm. We all heard the bird, but almost no one could see it. The bird was almost impossible to see in the middle of the base of a thick clump of grasses and bush stems. Even looking at it in the scope I had to wonder how Steve had been able to find that bird in his binoculars, for all the stems obstructing any clear view of it. That was a fine event for a sort of finale to this pleasant birding trip.
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