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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sauvie Island in the Rain

After a great day of birding on Saturday (42 species, 10 year birds, 1 life bird!) I was tempted to get out again on Sunday even though the rainy weather had returned. Sauvie Island was the destination based on recent reports of Snow and Ross' geese, both of which would be new to the year list.

The rain didn't let up one bit all afternoon, but the birding was still pretty good regardless. Once of the first birds spotted was a merlin (81), the first of five raptor species on the day as I also saw American kestrels, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and yet another peregrine falcon. I can't believe I've seen three falcons already this year!

The snow geese (82) were spotted where expected, but they were too far way to pick out any Ross' geese among them. There were lots of cackling geese and Canada geese mixed in nearby, however, including many dusky Canada geese. You may recall duskies are a relatively rare sub-species that overwinter here in the Willamette Valley. At least three of the birds we saw had red tags around their necks, too.

The other main highlight of the 29 species seen on the day was the surprisingly elusive mourning dove (83) - definitely would have expected those sooner on the year list - and, a little more unexpected, a couple of Eurasian collared-doves (84). Some have predicted the Eurasian collared-doves will be the next European starling; in other words, a massively invasive species here in the United States. I hope not! They are definitely spreading as new county records are occurring all over the Pacific Northwest. It will be interested to see what happens.

Sorry, no photos from the Sauvie Island was way too rainy and gray to pull the camera out, and all the birds were pretty far away too. There have been a few sun breaks in the last couple of days so hopefully well get another sunny day here before too long.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika - are your euro Collared Doves intoduced or natural colonists? They have been spreading west since at least the 1940's from their 'original' home in SE Europe reaching us in the early/mid 50s. Certainly very common here now and regulars at the feeding station.



Warren Baker said...

Ah! another blogger without any sunlight, I know how you feel Monika.

Those collared doves will be all over the place in ten years, they breed like...well...Collared Doves!!

The K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monika said...

According to the Wikipedia article about them, the doves were introduced to the Bahamas, then spread to Florida and across the US from there.

It will be interesting to see how they compete with the mourning doves and rock pigeons that are currently ubiquitous here. Hopefully they won't become as horribly invasive as the starling!