Saturday, April 4, 2015

The New Fernhill

I had heard of all the changes at Fernhill Wetlands but had yet to visit the site since the trails had reopened.  I took a drive out there today after wandering around a cloudy and foggy Mt Tabor earlier in the morning.

The Fernhill site is owned by Clean Water Services.  They are trying to improve the water treatment site.  The idea is to use a natural process to clean and cool waste water before it enters the Tualatin River.   It is called a Natural Treatment System (NTS).  Their site is here

For directions on how to get to Fernhill, check out the Oregon Birding Trails Tualatin Loop.

Below is a view south from the parking lot which is located at the northern end of the complex. The phone poles along the right side are on Fern Hill Road.

Next is shot from same spot looking to the east.

This little Killdeer was not pleased with me passing by its nesting area along the trail.  With the stronger black in the face and the bright red orbital ring, I think this is a male. Females would have less contrasting black and more of an orange-red orbital ring

I went counter-clockwise around the site, so down Fern Hill Road first. This picture is of the next pond down the path. I am standing in the small observation deck.  All the ponds are set up in a similar fashion.  They did leave one flooded, the one over in the NE corner.  They will use that water to flood these other ponds every few weeks or so and then let them dry out. This is to get the vegetation off to a good start.

I was happy to see so many American Pipits in the muddy areas. I scanned all that I could, no oddballs.

A beautiful light gray Peregrine Falcon zoomed over the flats, it scared all the pipits up into the air.  A flock of Least Sandpipers took flight and then dove for cover in the mud.  Least Sandpipers can vanish in a mud flat if they want to.  How many can you find?

I have now crossed the area on the lower dike.  I am now looking north toward the parking lot. In front of me is the lake they will use to flood the other areas.

These Cacklers were a enjoying a lunch of grass along the lake, until I tried to slip by on the trail.

A  Song Sparrow is nice bird to enjoy when it is sitting out in the sun.

Which three North American warblers sport a bright yellow rump?

Yellow-rumped, Magnolia and Cape May

Dabbler Marsh is much the same as always, as is the area on the east side of the site.  I did hear an Indigo Bunting singing down the trail. I took off on a run to get a picture.  I stopped after a few steps, I realized I had just been fooled by a Lesser Goldfinch.

Which bird is this?  Long thin wings, held in a M shape.


A view looking south with the sun out.

Up behind the restrooms you have access to two small ponds.  They are fenced off but it looks like a trail goes down the south side.  Below is a shot looking east at the two ponds.

There were 27 Greater Yellowlegs and two Green-winged Teal on the ponds.

Greater Yellowlegs look larger headed than Lesser, they have more barring on the flanks in alternate plumage and their bills are thicker looking. And at the right angle they look knobby kneed.

Birds seen inside the NTS boundary (the new mudflats):

Snow Goose  1
Cackling Goose  1000
Canada Goose  15
Gadwall  6
American Wigeon  4
Mallard  11
Green-winged Teal  21
Bufflehead  3
Great Blue Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  1
Killdeer  6
Least Sandpiper  20
Belted Kingfisher  2
Peregrine Falcon  1
Tree Swallow  75
Violet-green Swallow  15
Barn Swallow  5
Cliff Swallow  3
American Pipit  40
Song Sparrow  3
Red-winged Blackbird  4
Brewer's Blackbird  6
House Finch  4

Birds seen outside the NTS (everything else that was not changed up to middle of dikes):

Cackling Goose  1100
Canada Goose  25
Gadwall  8
American Wigeon  4
Mallard  7
Cinnamon Teal  4
Northern Shoveler  8
Northern Pintail  6
Green-winged Teal  25
Canvasback  5
Bufflehead  3
Common Merganser  3
Ruddy Duck  1
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  1
American Coot  25
Killdeer  2
Greater Yellowlegs  27
Mourning Dove  2
Anna's Hummingbird  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Western Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  1
Tree Swallow  20
Violet-green Swallow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Bewick's Wren  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  6
European Starling  11
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  9
Fox Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  14
Golden-crowned Sparrow  6
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Red-winged Blackbird  7
Brewer's Blackbird  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
House Finch  7

I am looking forward to see how this area develops.  Thanks for visiting.

Yellow-rumped, Magnolia, Cape May

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