A Mid-Day Skirmish

January 8, 2020, and a new yard bird—#73—makes a dramatic appearance in the backyard.

#73 is a Sharp-shinned hawk.

#73 flew in quickly today, snatched a specimen belonging to #16 (Spotted Towhee), and settled down in the grass for a few minutes (very-still towhee in talons) before flying off. I noticed this skirmish after hearing a small but loud cry (poor towhee) then looked over to see the latter half of the scene.

Wild! I feel awful for the towhee. I bait towhees with delicious seed and inadvertently baited a sharpie with a delicious towhee. I have a lot of towhees, so I suppose I can spare a few? I still feel a bit awful. RIP towhee. I think you went quickly.

Sharpie spent maybe 2 minutes sitting here, and I quickly took a few shots through my office window. I was tempted to open the window, but sharpie would have certainly flown off.
I alternated between taking photographs and viewing this scene through my binoculars. It appears that the towhee went quickly. The time between the sharp, small cry of the towhee and a very-still towhee was less than 1 minute.
RIP towhee. Nice work sharpie. He then flew off with his chunky red-eyed lunch.

March 2 and 4, 2018

To two younger birders yesterday, I described the male Ring-Necked Ducks at Minto Conservation Area as looking so dapper and so dressed up and put together that it looked like they were  ready to go somewhere special. Oscar-quality red carpet ducks, indeed. I love ducks.

Ring-Necked Ducks; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

Ring-Necked Ducks; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Before this weekend, I was holding steady at 115 Oregon birds species until Friday when I saw (finally) a Hairy Woodpecker*. And, not that it was needed, but a Downy flew in and joined the Hairy, and for the first time, I got to see both species side by side. Did I get a photo? I did not. It was a busy place full of excitement and nobody was staying still for that long.

Today, I saw a second Hairy Woodpecker and was able to get one decent photograph.

So where was I this past weekend? I birded in Minto-Brown Island Park on Friday and at Minto Conservation Area on Sunday. The weather hollered “spring!” and I called back by spending as much time outside as possible.

*New Birds for 2018: 1
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 116

Hairy Woodpecker; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

Hairy Woodpecker; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Minto-Brown Island Park; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

White-Crowned Sparrow; Minto-Island Brown Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

White-Crowned Sparrow; Minto-Island Brown Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Song Sparrow; Minto-Island Brown Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

Song Sparrow; Minto-Island Brown Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Brown Creeper; Minto-Brown Island Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

Brown Creeper; Minto-Brown Island Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Golden-crowned Sparrows; Minto-Brown Island Park; Salem, Oregon; March 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Western Grebe; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

Western Grebe; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Spotted Towee; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

Spotted Towee; Minto Conservation Area; Salem, Oregon; March 4, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.