BSWA Annual Birds of the Forest Walk – May 2022

By Mike Unger & Dave Ehlers

Joel Geier, Mike Unger and Tree Farmer Dave Ehlers led a bird walk at the J2E Tree Farm located along the Luckiamute River across the valley from Fort Hoskins. We were joined by 13 other birdwatchers including a few new birders.

We walked a total of 1.1 miles around the tree farm checking for birds in a multitude of habitats: deep water ponds, hardwood & conifer riparian buffers along Sarah’s Run, upland meadows, Oregon White Oak woodlands, mixed Oak & conifer forests, working timber stands, and Pine flat wetlands.

The group was met with a cloudy, damp morning. The temperature was nice at 55 to 61 degrees, but it was windy and rainy for a good portion of the walk. The winds were 6 to 14 m.p.h. with an 18-m.p.h. gust early in the walk. The day before the walk we had an inch of rain, so the paths were wet.

The bird activity was decent considering the conditions as we observed (saw and/or heard) a total of 35 species.

The highlights were as follows:

  • We heard a few flycatchers throughout the walk. Most of the flycatchers were Pacific-slope Flycatchers. There was one flycatcher that we had a tough time identifying so we had to lump it into the Western Flycatcher category.
  • We observed three wren species including House Wren, Bewick’s Wren, and Pacific Wren.
  • There was a Hutton’s Vireo in a tree near the end of the walk. It was out in the open for a little bit, so everyone got to see it. We also heard a Warbling Vireo and a Cassin’s Vireo.
  • We observed four species of warblers including two MacGillvray’s Warblers near the upper portion of the walk. Other warblers observed were the Hermit Warbler (3), Black-throated Gray Warbler (5) and the Wilson’s Warbler (5). We heard all the warblers singing but only got a glimpse at a couple of warblers.
  • Near the ponds we saw four different swallow species including Tree, Violet-green, Cliff and Barn Swallows. We had a nice discussion on identifying the various swallows. There were also numerous Red-winged Blackbirds, a Black Phoebe, and a Pied-billed Grebe around the ponds.
  • While walking along the trails we had a quite a few Evening Grosbeaks flying over us. Many times, we heard their whistling call. There were a few Band-tailed Pigeons that flew over us too.
  • Late in the walk as we were coming down to the starting point, we saw a Bald Eagle in a tall tree along Vincent Creek.

Full bird list: https://ebird.org/checklist/S110057854

We asked participants to list their favorite things about the experience:

Answer: “Finding out from the other participants about all of the different apps that are available to ID birds and their songs.

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