R L ROWLAND RONALD ROWLAND
Hey "ible", RL here.
World Shorebirds Day is upcoming, so I was out scouting reservoirs in preparation for the shorebird counts that I do. I knew folks would be looking at Black's and Indian Ck. Res.'s so decided to pass those up and went further out. I'll catch those on my count days.
Some bad news about water. Little Camas, Long Tom and Mtn. Home Res.'s are, for all practical purposes, dry as they could be. Only LC Res. had any behind the dam, not much but there were a few ducks, plenty water in the pool below the dam but it is inaccessible except by scope. LT Res. had only a trickle from two of its feeder creeks, cows grazing where there would normally be 30 feet of water over them. MH Res. was completely dry, not even a mud spot. There are birds in these places, you just have to pound the brush/willows for them.
The bright spot was Mormon Res. in Camas Co.. Maybe 5' down but plenty action, except for shorebirds, though I did have a flyover of five WESA's (likely?). However, all the canals, stream beds and any other channels were totally dry. BTW, Mormon is posted for possible algae contamination. The note is from last year's posting, could tell by the wear on the signs, but, I could see a thin blue-green ring along parts of the shore. It's been checked evidently and the news still holds for this year. I did not stop at Camas Prairie Marsh.
Why I am really writing this long, for me, message is the for the photogs among us. In the part of the prairie south of Fairfield down to Mormon and between Hwy 46 and the Camas Prairie Marsh the ranchers are cutting/baling hay and the place is lousy with Swainson's Hawks. They were everywhere, sitting on the ground, on poles, hay bales, you name it. Though it's all private property, but from the road with a good lens, the right light, it can be a bonanza. I also had Red-tailed's, Ferrug's, Harriers, Kestrels and an Osprey. Did not see an Golden Eagle though looked for them. If I'd stayed a bit longer I am sure I could have seen/heard at least two species of owls.
Not into raptors to photograph. There were sparrows everywhere also: Brewer's, Savannah's, Vesper, Song, Lark, Spotted Towhee's, I know of some possible Grasshopper's. In the borrow pit brush along the roads, in the willows and bitterbrush/sage. Some especially good spots were: Mormon Res. willows and the main boat ramp; Dixie Cutoff Rd. (Elmore Co.), from the east end riparian area where it "Tees" into Anderson Ranch Dam Rd. west to the summit before it drops off into Long Tom Ck. drainage; the summit of Prairie Rd. (off Hwy 20, near mile-marker 111) before it also drops off into the Long Tom drainage.
I did note, except for Camas Prairie, that most of my sparrows were being seen on the hilltops. As I was going in to Long Tom, for example, there were no sparrows as I went up Prairie Rd. but at the turn off on the summit there were buckets then as I dropped into the drainage to go to the reservoir there were very few again. The opposite of what was going on there in the spring. Curious.
Best times for you to get your photos what with all the smoke in the air would be the last 3-4hrs before sunset or the first couple hours after sunrise. It was really incredible up there last evening. Smoky haze, cloud cover, a couple rain sprinkles, temp.
I am not sure if this is the right place for this, but, I do not Facebook. I check/read ID Sightings there, but, joining to post... I think not. I'm not that social.
Well, Continued Good Birding. RL