When I drive to Walterville Reservoir, I always feel like I've gone to far when I pass Deerhorn Drive, and even more so when I cross the McKenzie River and Hayden Bridge Park. Just as I start looking for a place to turn around, the "Walterville" sign pops up along the roadside and I realize I've not gone too far after all.
I got out of bed at 6am so I have no explanation for why I was about the last person to arrive at the reservoir. We had a nice turn-out of birders; to the point that the parking lot was full. Several people we haven't seen on recent bird walks for various good reasons - (i.e.; not just because it was raining) - came out for this one, including Don Laufer, Doris and Jody.
Don started right out getting spectacular photographs of the red crown patch of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. He could have gone home right there and still been assured of having taken the best photo of the day.
While there was some high thin overcast, die Sonne schien warm und die Schulbücher waren vergessen. Oops, that comes from my 1969 year of college German ... At home there was no breeze. Along the drive to Walterville, smoke from the mills and such rose straight up high into the sky; so again, no breeze at all. So when I arrived at the "Pond", I was a little surprised there was a bit of a cool breeze, even though I knew in my heart, there is always a breeze here. But I quickly forgot about it because the temperature wasn't cold enough to make it bothersome.
I read on the internet a few years ago that there is a long-term plan to phase out Walterville Reservoir, and from the way the willows have increasingly grown in over most of the former pond, it looks like that may be coming to pass. Although I cannot find the article I read before, the following quote comes from: McKenzie River Reflections Newspaper"
"Over the next several years, it will be lowered in 6-inch increments until it is about even with the height of the canal. The gradual lowering is being coupled with an extensive planting scheme that includes willows and other trees, shrubs and native grasses."
We stopped for a long look at some Yellow-rumped Warblers and even though I was at the back of the pack, as we started moving again I was surprised to be able to grab a couple of good photos of them.
A kettle of Vultures was soaring in a thermal way off in the distance. A Red-tail Hawk graced us with an overhead fly-by, as did an Osprey a little further along the path. Lots of "everyday" birds like Song Sparrows and Ravens were seen, but no Great-blue Herons were seen, nor did we hear or see any Kingfishers or American Robins.
We did hear a Wrentit which Don got a glimpse of. Also Bewick's and Marsh Wrens were heard but not seen. We had to content ourselves with lots of the very attractive Gren-winged Teal, mixed with a few other species such as female Bufflehead, Mallard Ducks and American Coots.
A highlight for many of us was suddenly seeing all the ducks taking flight at the same time and flying in a somewhat disorderly fashion, wheeling this way and that; quickly followed by the appearance of an adult American Bald Eagle flying low and circling over the pond. If Don is right that the Eagle had its eye on the Green winged Teal, that might well suggest a pattern of prejudicial "profiling", since we saw an adult Bald Eagle snatch a Green-winged Teal from an island in this pond a few years ago, only to drop it again, apparently dead, after circling the pond once.
Along the last section of the loop, as we walked abreast of the EWEB canal, we say Violet Green and Barn Swallows and Red-winged Blackbirds. The walk was a good bit of exercise, which I needed, and I think everyone was in pretty good spirits and enjoying themselves.
Bird List compiled by Doris Wimber
Bird list for March 29, 2018, for walk at Walterville Pond, on Hywy 126. Weather was dry, cool with light clouds.
There was discussion of Bushtits and Kingfishers, but I don’t know if they were seen or not. Please let me know of any birds that you saw that are not on the list so Steve can add them in his report next Thursday.