I finally found a spot that seemed promising, somewhere in all those trees. Hopefully when I return next weekend they won't be chopped down. It seems every trip to the lower elevation spots there (below where the national forest starts) surprises me with a fresh new clearcut. Ugh.
I did find a neat area with lots of old stumps that turned into multiple trees...
Pretty cool. On the hike back to the car I was surprised when a handful of Gray Jays suddenly appeared before me. A county bird! I knew they were around on Larch Mountain, plenty of people had seen them there, but I had never crossed paths with any. Score.
Varied Thrushes are rarely so accommodating.
Yesterday morning I decided to go down to Marion County and check out a couple places I had never been. First up was Champoeg State Park.
I spent most of the time wandering around the Riverside area of the park, adding several birds to my county list: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Belted Kingfisher, Brown Creeper, and Red-breasted Sapsucker.
Over in the Oak Grove section I found a disc golf course and a few Acorn Woodpeckers making a racket.
Overall it was a way cooler park than I expected, and way bigger too. Not so sure about the guy collecting the park fees though...
After Champoeg I headed south to what is referred to on eBird as the Turner Road ponds, essentially a lake by a Lowe's parking lot. Cackling Geese were arriving by the dozens and coots and Ruddy Ducks scooted to get out the way.
It's actually a pretty nice little spot, considering the proximity to Lowe's and the highway. Kind of like Mays Lake, I suppose.
I went down to Ankeny NWR afterwards hoping to clinch the last few species I would need to hit 100 in Marion, but the heat was too much to leave the dogs in the car for any amount of time, and I quit with only 98 under my belt. Here's #98 at Eagle "Marsh":
Pintail Pond had plenty of water, but I didn't notice anything I needed, and it was hot, and I needed to get back home. I accidentally ran over an already dead skunk near there and the smell came the whole way home with me. Good times!