Purkerson Bluebirds, October 14, 2016
Flurry of bird activity on a stormy weekend
Thursday Oct. 13th we had an extremely strong winter storm. Strong winds and gusts, along with long periods of rain may have left birds with little opportunity to feed as much as they need.
The next day, we had a short break before a second even stronger storm was to arrive on Saturday the 16th. This second storm, was fueled in part by a typhoon which originated on the southeast Asian coast. This was combining with a strong low pressure system dropping down from the Aleutians, as well as a jet stream adding energy to the whole system.
During Friday's break, for several hours the Sun was even shining. I took the opportunity to drive out to the dam at Fern Ridge reservoir to scan the skies for rare birds blown inland by the storm.
At Shore Lane, as soon as I was 50 feet from my car, I saw two adult Bald Eagles flying in circles around each other right along the shoreline at tree-top height. However I did not see any other birds of special interest.
Starlight Lane is north of Fern Ridge dam and west of the small town of Alvadore. BOGS goes there sometimes in search of White-tailed Kites, Western Bluebirds and Red-shouldered Hawks. A few days ago, a Short eared Owl was reported there - the first such report ever to appear in eBird for that location. I visited Starlight Ln but saw only a flock of Geese flying way off to the north.
I decided to drive the back roads north of Alvadore. Soon I found myself turning north from Meadowview Rd onto Purkerson Rd. Birders often report interesting birds on Purkerson and other back roads further north along the old flood plain common to both the Amazon Creek and Long Tom River.
At that intersection, there is a small sign for the Camas Country Bakery, which only opened six months ago, in March 2016. Some birders had posted about this Bakery just a week ago, so I was interested in visiting it.
About a quarter mile along Purkerson Road, there was a lot of bird activity. Songbird sized birds were landing on the road, on the wires above and on adjacent fences and trees. Most of these turned out to be Western Bluebirds, but there were also other species occupying the same area.
There were other birds involved in this flurry of activity as well. Some Yellowrump Warblers were taking "baths" in the sandy gravel along the roadside.
This Northern Flicker probably needs no introduction.
At one point, an American Kestrel flew up from behind the trees and at a low altitude started circling the area, looking for a quick meal. The songbirds quickly scattered and seemed to disappear.
Once the Kestrel was gone, the birds quickly resumed their intense activity. My last photo shows another one of the Bluebirds, this one a brightly colored male.
After photographing the birds, I continued up the road a short distance to visit the bakery.
The Hunton family has been farming here for 50 years - 3 generations.
Here is a link to their web page, which is simple yet elegant in design with links to the Bakery and their mills. The Bakery page includes the menu of their offerings.
I bought a Ginger-Molassis cookie and a loaf of their Rye bread. The woman at the counter was very friendly and helpful.
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