Checklist S39194433

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Owner Shane Sater

Other participating eBirders
  • 1
  • 1.41 mi

***NOTE: Due to challenging weather conditions, the counts of this survey are not comparable to those of other surveys.
Sevenmile Creek bird monitoring survey. Overcast and cold - 37 F dropping to 36 F by the end. Gentle N breeze shifting to NW by ca 0800. Steady, soaking drizzle, easing up somewhat in the last half hour. Some sleet mixed in after 0915. Clouds low: Mt Ascension totally invisible and the top of Mt Helena obscured at the start. By the end, Mt Helena completely invisible and the Scratchgravel Hills barely visible due to lowering ceiling.

2 trains passed by. The water in the creek was still fairly clear and flow had increased notably (gauged by water passing over diversion dam), though not as much as I had expected. I did not observe runoff anywhere along the route, though the soil was notably squishy where bare, in marked contrast to the firmer soil covered with grasses and leaf litter.

Huge change in weather in the last few days! On 13 Sept, it was evident that the weather was changing. It was cold and rainy on 14 Sept, continuing on 15 Sept. Conditions were not suitable for a high-quality survey. I was very curious what I would find in terms of bird activity in these weather conditions. Unfortunately, rain and cold frequently fogged up or obscured lenses of binoculars and camera, making identification of anything close to impossible at times. Overall, I stayed warm, but I made the mistake of wearing leaky boots and my feet got very cold. Rubber rain boots might be better for these weather conditions. My gloves worked well, but taking one off to manipulate the camera or to make notes was challenging. Rite in the Rain paper was essential, and even it got quite wet in my pocket. Wind from the NW was particularly challenging, spattering the distal end of my binoculars with raindrops every time I lifted them. Even when binoculars were not fogged up or obscured by raindrops, removing the lens cap before observing a bird increased my response time, making it difficult to identify birds from brief views. In addition to those species listed, I glimpsed a small, drab, yellow-tinged bird briefly in the vicinity of the BCCH, which may have been a warbler. I heard vocalizations from what may have been a flock of WCSP, and glimpsed a larger bird streaking behind bushes that might have been an Accipiter. I listened for, but did not hear, "chip" calls that I was able to identify as belonging to any warblers besides YRWA. I distinctly did not hear any WIWA calls. However, given the conditions, it is very possible that many birds were silent and inconspicuous.

I learned several important things: 1. Surveying in prolonged rain conditions will not result in a standardized survey. 2. I was able to manipulate sound recorder and camera with gloves on, except for the camera lens cap, but doing so was cumbersome and slow. 3. Binoculars fogged up notably less when I used the rubber lens cover instead of my glove, though it slowed response time more. 4. Bringing 3 spare pairs of socks was a good idea - I used two of them! 5. For these (nasty) conditions, 4 layers under a raincoat kept me plenty warm.

Near the reach 3/4 boundary, I saw a doe White-tailed Deer; shortly upstream, a buck startled from among some alder along the stream. Another buck seen near the turnaround point. Notable absence of obviously detectable grasshoppers or other insects.

Overall, it was very quiet regarding bird vocalizations. I was surprised at the amount of activity I saw, though, particularly along the stream a short distance above the diversion dam, where I encountered vocal AMRO, CEDW, and other species. All birds were detected along the creek corridor except for WEME and an unidentified sparrow flushing from the field; two raptors in flight; and many starlings flying over. No warblers detected except for YRWA. Surprised to see a WEKI and an Empidonax!


  1. Number observed: 2

    Comments: Flushed from the stream just above the reach 3/4 boundary. At least 1 was a male; I think both were, but was not positive on the second bird.

    Age & Sex:
    Juvenile Immature Adult Age Unknown
    Male 1
    Sex Unknown
  2. Number observed: 2

    Comments: Flushed from Chokecherry shrubs upstream of the rocky draw, in the vicinity of possible WIFL nest area from this summer.

  3. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Seen flying over the eastern part of reach 4 and the old sewage pond area, near survey end. Juvenile/female; suspected juvenile (rich coloration underneath), but did not get a good enough look to confirm.

  4. diurnal raptor sp.

    Number observed: 1

    Comments: Seen in flight (moving roughly downstream) over reach 1, 0920. Likely a RTHA, but my binoculars were fogged up and I wasn't able to tell for sure. When I first saw it, it seemed patchy white below like an immature BAEA, though I don't think it was large enough.

  5. Empidonax sp.

    Number observed: 1

    Comments: Seen briefly in shrubs along the stream, near the WEKI. Lifting tail; buffy wingbars; fairly drab grayish overall. Poor, brief views with optical challenges due to weather. Nonvocal. As with WEKI, I wish I had noted behavior better, though given the conditions it is unsurprising I did not.

  6. Number observed: 1

    Comments: *Surprised to see this late! Perched in an alder along the stream, reach 4, making an occasional "pik" call; wings and tail appeared quite frayed. Observed it on a few different perches, but did not make notes at the time on behavior. Given the weather conditions, I wonder now if it had been sallying - I did not note any obvious insects during the survey.

  7. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Seen in flight, south of the stream, below the diversion.

  8. Number observed: 5

    Comments: All detected along the stream between the diversion and the rocky draw.

  9. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Seen flitting around in a large willow near the reach 3/4 boundary. Nonvocal.

  10. Number observed: 3

    Comments: 1 seen briefly, perched near AMRO and CEDW. Later, 3 seen at once a few hundred meters farther upstream in a row of Chokecherry. 2 seen perched within a few meters of each other. I got photos of the bird that was perched higher; when it flew the second bird flew up to the perch the first had been using, and I got a photo of this individual too.

  11. Number observed: 8

    Comments: At least 4 (probably more) observed along the stream in the vicinity of the CEDW. 4 more flew over. On the return, heard vocalizations from at least 3 birds in shrubs east of the property, along the stream.

  12. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Heard mewing briefly from shrubs along the stream, vicinity of AMRO and CEDW.

  13. Number observed: 1880

    Comments: Estimate by tens, probably low. Numerous groups seen flying overhead reach 4 in long lines, to the E or NE, between 0755 and 0826. I heard vocalizations from one of the later groups; otherwise they were silent. Noted triangular wings on some; was aware there might be blackbirds mixed in, but did not note any. Conditions were difficult for observation, though, and there could conceivably have been some blackbirds that I missed. Counted 320 at 0755; 500 at 0803; 640 at 0806; 400 at 0809; and 20 at 0826.

  14. Number observed: 2

    Comments: Minimum count based on vocalizations, along the stream ca 200-300 m above the diversion.

  15. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Heard calls in flight over the stream corridor, below the diversion.

  16. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Flew from the ground and perched in a shrub along the stream, below the diversion.

    Age & Sex:
    Juvenile Immature Adult Age Unknown
    Sex Unknown 1
  17. Number observed: 3
  18. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Seen and heard in reach 2, along the stream (near AMRO and CEDW).

  19. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Flushed from an open area along the stream, bordered by lush grasses, in reach 4. Seen somewhat poorly - small sparrow with fine streaks below and tail cocked up, wren-like.

  20. towhee sp.

    Number observed: 1

    Comments: Heard only, mewing 2-3 times along the stream near the reach 3/4 boundary. Suspected SPTO based on likelihood, but I am not confident separating SPTO and GTTO by calls alone. The bird became silent and I was not able to record it.

  21. sparrow sp.

    Number observed: 10

    Comments: 1 flushed from grasses in reach 4 and disappeared again in grasses near the east fence. 2 others seen poorly along the stream corridor. The remaining 7 were glimpsed poorly ca 200-300 m above the diversion, making high, rising calls - suspected WCSP. None seen well.

  22. Number observed: 9

    Comments: "Chup" calls heard; no singing.

  23. Number observed: 1

    Comments: Flew in briefly to Chokecherry and alder, vicinity of AMRO and CEDW. Identified by distinctive "chep"

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