Ankeny NWR 2/23/12

I birded Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge in preparation for my waterfowl class. Waterfowl numbers have dropped considerably in the past week, suggesting that some birds have already started their northward migration.

Pintail Marsh

Pintail Marsh hosted this small flock of Tundra Swans and Dusky Canada Geese. Protecting winter habitat for the rare Duskies was the main reason for establishing the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Most of the wintering geese were grazing in fields surrounding the marshes. The flock consists mostly of Taverner’s Cackling and Ridgeway’s Cackling Geese.

These very alert Northern Pintails seemed to be keeping watch over the nearby Green-winged Teals and American Wigeons.

Ankeny has two boardwalks that provide access to flooded woodland habitat. This is the Rail Trail.

This Brown Creeper was probing patches of moss on the tree trunk.

If you look closely you can see he is holding a tiny organism in his bill.

Ankeny NWR

The August issue of Birder’s World Magazine features my brief site guide to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Salem. Like the other refuges in the Willamette Valley, Ankeny is a stronghold for wintering flocks of geese. But the refuge is good for other migrants and for nesting species, as well. The guide can be viewed at .

One of the better spots at Ankeny is the Rail Trail, a boardwalk through an ash swale. The woods are good for songbirds and owls. The boardwalk ends at a blind overlooking a marsh that hosts waterfowl and American Bitterns.