Umpqua Valley Audubon Society

Nov. 11, 2023 Ford’s Pond Monthly Bird Field Trip Event Report

This month we had a good turnout of 13 participants with a nice mixture of experienced and new enthusiastic individuals. Mark Hamm and Stacy Burleigh volunteered as co-bird leaders and Diana Wales volunteered as Umpqua Audubon’s greeter of information and logistics.

It was a cloudy day, with a light chilly breeze, but no rain. We saw 40 different species of birds (see list below), a lot less than our 63 from October. Three possible reasons for this: just one of those quiet mornings for song birds, we passed the October peak for migration, and last month we had two exceptional bird identifiers.

A highlight moment occurred toward the end of the morning. While scanning over the water of the side pond to the south of Ford’s Pond, an eruption of 25-30 COMMON MERGANSERS popped up simultaneously onto the surface from diving below. It was startling because at that point we had no idea they were there. They continued doing these simultaneous short dives and pop ups in close proximity to each other for a while. It was most entertaining!  Synchronous swimming and diving by COMMON MERGAMSERS during fall migration is documented in “Birds of Oregon, A General Reference”, edited by Marshall, Hunter, and Contreras. A group of Common Mergansers is called a dopping!

Species List (40 with 2 maybes)

Western Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Accipiter, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, American Coot, Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Acorn Woodpecker, California Scrub Jay, American Crow, Bewick’s Wren, American Robin, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Golden-crown Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbird, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, House Sparrow. Possible Varied Thrush and Wilson Warbler.

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