Fernhill Wetlands 7/4/10

A quick walk around Fernhill Wetlands (Birding Oregon p. 61) produced two out-of-season species this morning.

Cackling Geese (Branta hutchinsii minima) winter here in the hundreds, but an individual in July is quite unexpected.

Note the stubby bill, short neck, and dark purplish breast typical of this subspecies.

Clark’s Grebe is rare at Fernhill during migration, but never expected in summer. Here you can see the white of the face surrounding the eye, unlike the more expected Western Grebe, which shows the eye surrounded by the black of the cap.

With more white on the face and neck, Clark’s Grebe shows a more narrow black line down the back of the neck than does Western Grebe.

Green Herons are often flushed from the shores. This one sat in a tree briefly.

Common Carp were spawning in the main lake. Small groups of fish were swirling near the surface in several areas.

2 thoughts on “Fernhill Wetlands 7/4/10

  1. John, The Cackling Goose has been present since spring and may have a wing injury that prevented it from migrating. I assume the Clark’s Grebe, which is rare locally as you say, is the same one present for several weeks. In either case, both are rare summer occurences and shows that there are no real “absolutes” when it comes to bird distribution. It shows how exciting and unexpected birding can be–even an abundant bird (Cackling Goose) at an odd season, or a locally rare bird (Clark’s Grebe) at the most unlikely season.


  2. Glad you got out birding on your “bonus” day off! We drove out to Jackson Bottoms at the crack of dawn and on to Killin Wetlands and around WA county to Vernonia and Scappoose and Sauvie Island! A big tour! Saw some nice barn swallow babies in a shelter at JB and a Green Heron. Killin wetlands was quiet though. The best bird action: a clearcut outside of Vernonia. I’ll post something soon.

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