Spring begins in 38 hours, not that I am counting or anything. Winter has been tough on this western Oregon woman. The cold, and especially the wind, have sometimes been down right brutal. Over the last week as I battle the wind up and down the river I am reminded that spring is near. The hillside on the north is covered with bright green low growing plants. Hang in there girl, the seasons are a changing.
The Bald Eagle sightings have dropped down to two this month. One morning as an adult eagle was flying low along the river I watched a Red-tailed Hawk eating its breakfast while sitting on a snag over hanging the northern bank.
The early mornings are becoming filled with the songs of American Robins and Red Winged Blackbirds, followed by the occasional crow of a rooster.
The Great Blue Heron rookery is alive with excitement. Most of the activity right now is happening in the early morning hours. There are six confirmed pairs, complete with mating and I am watching six others that I am not sure if they are paired up or not.
For about a week there was a pair of Canadian Geese that were coming in along the river and checking out possible nesting sights but I haven’t seen them for a few days. One morning they brought in a flock of twenty nine other geese who circled the river and the cliffs a few times followed by their departure to the east.
The three pairs of Hooded Mergansers are either in hiding or have flown away. I keep checking their hiding spots but the rapid rising river is changing the landscape. Two weeks ago I got a brief glimpse of a female as she was heading up the creek, so maybe that is where they have decided to settle.
The five pairs of Common Mergansers are still on the river. Sometimes they don’t even need to paddle as they go by, they just let the rapid moving water carry them along.
I got to watch a pair of Wood Ducks up the river about two weeks ago. They only stayed for one day and then they were off to an undisclosed location. A lone Killdeer was in the ball field on that same day.
There is a flock of California Quails living just north of where the river and the creek come together. There are several Ring-necked Pheasants living over there too. The pheasants have been the most active of the birds this month. All along the river, the males are out calling and strutting around every morning. I actually got to witness two of them in a heated battle for territory.
There is a Black-crowned Night Heron living to the west of me, I hope that it moves back to its territory from last year, which was just outside of my backyard. These birds are so fun to watch in the early mornings. They compete with the Great Blues for fishing territory.
Fox, Yellow-bellied Marmots, deer, mink, otter, beaver, and the occasional fisherman round out the sightings for this month.
The crocus, daffodils, and tulips are in bloom today. Spring is now only 37 hours away …
link to my article in the Pendleton Bird Club Newsletter http://www.pendletonbirders.org