I trusted the weather today and spent four hours at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve this afternoon enjoying being out and happy to see the special harbingers of spring. First and foremost are the Western bluebirds that I encountered all over the meadow and in the riparian area along the lower stream. They have been around for several weeks, but are always so beautiful to see.
They were happily hopping off their perches to grab tender morsels on the ground. The real treat was to find a male mountain bluebird in the mix at the mid meadow. I do see them, but not that often. I took a lunch break at the lower bridge and was able to watch an American dipper fly upstream and down, low over the water. That's always a treat, but even better was watching it take a twig, work hard to hammer it against a rock, take a smaller piece and fly up to the underside of the bridge. I watched this routine four times. Seems to be nesting season, at least for those who have a protected spot.
Many species seem to be in pairs: a pair of hooded mergansers, a pair of mallards, several pair of Canada geese, two spotted towhees. Jake Schas, who also does bird surveys Camp Polk Meadow, reported the Wilson's snipe were back and that the turkeys were in "full gobble". The beavers have been busy in the lower aspen grove, cutting trees for their purposes. Surely we tall two-legged creatures will soon agree that spring is here!
What spring birds are you seeing return to Central Oregon? Post your sightings here!
~Carol Wall is a Land Trust volunteer who birds at Camp Polk Meadow as part of our bird survey program. Learn more about the survey program.