|The view of Mt. Jefferson behind Detroit Lake|
Since we arrived well before check-in time, we headed over to an nearby area called Detroit Flats. It’s a place that often shows up on my eBird county needs alert email, so it seemed like a good opportunity for boost our Marion Co. numbers. And we did have get a singing Willow Flycatcher, a couple of Band-tailed Pigeons that appeared briefly before disappearing over the trees, and a male Rufous Hummingbird who gave us some great looks.
|Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel|
|Common Garter Snake|
|Common Garter Snake|
|Northwestern Garter Snake|
Once we’d successfully navigated all the snakes and emerged at the end of the trail we found a female Common Merganser and her nine tiny ducklings. All ten of them were huddled together on a rock hardly bigger than the group of them, and with the mother trying to tuck all the little ones in underneath her. It was a sweet sight, and when we came back the next day to check up on them, the family was in the same area, but swimming. The precocious ducklings were feeding on their own, and all keeping pace with mama… except for one rascal who hitched a ride on her back instead.
|Common Merganser and brood|
|Merganser duckling hitching a ride on his mother's back|
|A different merganser family, with somewhat older ducklings|
We discovered Tumble Creek Trail on the way over to our campsite, which is an uphill hike that runs alongside a fairly steep, rocky stream. Right at the trailhead we could hear a warbler, but weren’t able to place the song, or even locate it, close as it was. We decided to push on up the trail, but before getting very far, I realized that I’d left our scope in the car and ran back down to get it.
|Western Columbine, Aquilegia formosa|
Since I had to pass the warbler again and it was still singing, I gave it another go and came up with a Hermit Warbler! A West Coast warbler that had so far eluded us. I managed to catch Maureen’s attention for her to join me, but by the time she had it had vanished. Disappointed, we trudged on up the hill, but within just a couple of minutes Maureen found us a different lifer warbler — MacGillivray’s Warbler! He was on the other side of the water from us, and high up in the trees, but at least I’d gone back for the scope. Plus, he was singing and he stuck around for a good long while, so there was plenty to be excited about.
|Pacific Banana Slug (bottom)|
|This looked like some kind of fungus mimicking dead oak leaves|
Our butterflies that weekend included the widespread Silver-spotted Skipper, which we’ve found previously when we’d visited Atlanta, but is always a welcome sight. Juba Skipper and Pacific Fritillary are two species with more limited ranges (the latter being restricted to the Pacific Northwest), and both were lifers. One other arthropod I want to mention was a sharp-looking ground spider (Sergiolus sp.), decked out in argyle, that we found on the campground. As an argyle fancier myself, I approve of this spider’s sartorial choices. I prefer to wear it in my socks, but if I had eight feet to dress every morning, I might settle for a vest, too.
|Ground spider (Sergiolus sp.)|
Back over on our actual campsite, we were sitting at the picnic table when we saw two MacGillivray’s Warblers — a male and female — just behind our tent. They were sticking pretty closely to the bushes, and never stayed put for very long. But they helped get us off our asses, and start exploring. Not long after we turned up a pair of Hermit Warblers. And then another pair. And another.
We were surrounded by Hermit Warblers now, more than compensating for the one Maureen had missed a day earlier. We also turned up a Black-throated Gray Warbler, completing the trifecta of breeding warblers in the county. Black-throated Gray, like the others, is an awesome western warbler that we’re glad to have around, but is actually a species we saw in 2010 as a stray to south Florida, and was one of the very first vagrants we chased.
|Black-throated Gray Warbler|