Sunday, February 10, 2008

After weeks of Oregon rain, freezing rain and a mix of rain and snow with no birds in sight, I made a drive north in a morning drizzle. The country road I chose passed through grassy fields that have been soaked for weeks and now have standing water in large puddles.

I knew my choice of road was right as soon as the Canada Geese flew over, headed toward the river, not one wedge but many. I could count ten in the short time I was under them.

My next reward was passing by a large flock of Tundra Swans settled in a field close enough to let me watch as one or two changed locations like children at recess. Not much farther, a sheep pasture alive with hundreds of gulls mixed with the sheep caught my attention. Not usual since our gulls typically prefer parking lots near a food source over soggy fields. In that same field, a pair of wood ducks had found a temporary large puddle attractive for a swim.

Of course, I could spot the usual hawk in a bare tree or sometimes a fence post, and once in a awhile a pair of crows along side the road.

Before I got to an urban area, I'd also spotted one field hosting a huge flock of starlings, probally gathered for a general meeting before they divided and headed out in smaller groups to search for food. Those big flocks always make me wonder just who is in charge and if there are sub captains.

My last spotting, the one I always think of as lucky, was a Great Blue Heron in a sheep pasture bordering the river. A satisfying morning drive for me. The winter dearth of birds hasn't meant we're deserted.