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Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2019

WE CALL IT “THE LOOK”

Among those of us who wander the meadow edges hoping to see a hoping to find a Great Gray Owl, there is that moment when you see the bird and the bird is staring back.  Few birds have both eyes in front with the binocular vision we take for granted.  Owls have that.  Ears, too.  They are in the front of that face, hidden beneath feathers and asymmetrically placed so the bird has pinpoint hearing location.  The eyes meet yours and this nonchalant bird may decide you are too slow, too clumsy and too irrelevant, and look away.  But when your and the owl are looking at one another you do not sense fear or even curiosity, you are being measured and weighed.  It is what we owl prowlers call “The Look.”  That face and those eyes, BTW, are as big as yours.  On a bird that weighs less than three pounds.  Weigh that in your mind for a bit.

Photo in Jackson County Cascades by my good friend, Lee French of Ashland.GGO 7-13-19

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Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2019

SONGBIRDS YES; SHOREBIRDS NO

I went out looking for shorebirds today.  Found songbirds instead.  Plenty of newly fledged young’uns out there.  Savannah Sparrow.  Chipping Sparrow.  White-breasted Nuthatch.  Seven Canada goslings. American Goldfinch.  Orange-crowned Warbler. Barn Swallows with tail streamers less than their parents’.

Here is young Savannah Sparrow with House Sparrow in the background, Yamhill Sewer Ponds:

As we get some warmer and sunny days, it is bathing time.  In our garden the robins are most luxuriant in their bathing, sending water all over.  Soon the starlings may return from the fecund fasmr fields and begin their communal showering which sends water in all directions.  Smaller birds bath more daintily: nuthatch, bushtits, chickadees.  At Joe Dancer Park there is a small drainage stream that is piped from beneath the soccer fields to the edge of the riverside forest then turned free to tumble down the embankment.  There I recently saw a newly bathed chickadee drying in the sun.  A few feet away a young robin, his breast still speckled, wet all over with feathers askew.

At Wennerberg Park this morning I found a bright adult male Western Tanager, not sure if they nest there or he’s just foraging.

Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 16, 2019
9 species

White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Bewick’s Wren  1     singing
Swainson’s Thrush  1     singing
American Robin  8
American Goldfinch  1
Chipping Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  2
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Western Tanager  1

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 16, 2019. 15 species

Canada Goose  9
Mallard  30
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Vaux’s Swift  1–among the swallows
Killdeer  2
American Kestrel  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  12
Barn Swallow  20
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
American Robin  8
American Goldfinch  1
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  2
Common Yellowthroat  1

Posted by: atowhee | July 15, 2019

BIG AND SOFT

Woman finds huge jellyfish in the ocean near England.  Images to amaze.

Posted by: atowhee | July 14, 2019

AVIAN ATHEIST GETS RELIGION

A man who once wondered why anybody would waste money on feeding birds, finally finds his way.

For one thing birds are so much more honest than so many prominent people. And they are wonderfully complex in their actions and interactions.  Recently read that those who study animal behavior now admit that instinct is an out-dated, mechanistic concept that does not properly measure the complex interaction of reason and emotion that really prompt actions from most vertebrates on earth.

Posted by: atowhee | July 13, 2019

THE WIMBLEDON AIR FORCE

There is aerial protection flying over the tennis courts at Wimbledon.  Not drones, not military choppers, just Rufus the Hawk.
Here is story about Rufus who keeps pigeons away from courts and players. Rufus is a buteo, species: Harris’s Hawk, favored by falconers for their smarts, loyalty, strength.  Ironically, Harris’s Hawks are found only in the New World.  It is found in the arid southwestern U.S., much of Mexico and southward along the dry, Pacific Coast of Central America.

Click here for Rufus’s wiki page.

Posted by: atowhee | July 12, 2019

FINE NEW POISON COMING SOON

Score one more for Dow, another loss for bees.
Guess I will just have to give up eating fruit from a pollinated tree.  And I so enjoy a ripe cherry in season…

Posted by: atowhee | July 12, 2019

IT’S A FRACKING MESS IN THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

No process designed by people can ever be 100% perfect and safe.  Witness a three month long oil leak west of Bakersfield, CA.  Click here for the story that highlights one of the joys of fracking for profit.

Solar-powered cars are where in the future?

Posted by: atowhee | July 12, 2019

BIRDS AND BASEBALL

There are plenty of birds in baseball.  Cardinals.  Orioles.  Blue Jays.  They are sometimes joined by mammals like Cubs or Tigers and even an occasional fish, Marlins.
There is one bird family not welcomed at a baseball park.  Here’s how Bay Area baseball fans deal with these unwelcomed park rangers.

Posted by: atowhee | July 11, 2019

THISTLE BANQUET

Now I am seeing American Goldfinches in many places.  In our garden they are bow at the feeders, done with their breeding elsewhere.  At Joe Dancer Park they are after the thistle seeds.

 

Not far from our house is a grove of oaks.  A wood-pewee hunts there. Note in the second image you can discern the two-tone coloring of the underside of the beak.P-WEE M13 (2)P-WEE2 (2)The summer bounty of plants at Joe Dancer:

 

Above: green apples, bindweed, pennyroyal, red-osier dogwood with white berries, spirea, teasel beginning to bloom, a weed I can’t name similar to mullein.

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 11, 2019
10 species

Northern Flicker  1
American Crow  X
Barn Swallow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Bewick’s Wren  1
American Robin  3
American Goldfinch  12
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  1

Posted by: atowhee | July 11, 2019

EXISTENCE, EXTINCTION AND EXISTENTIAL THREATS

To anyone attuned to reality rather than tweets or propaganda it is clear things are not right with the world.  And “right” will be a word we must come back to.
One magazine just published its list of the ten most threatened nations on earth, thanks to climate change.  Don’t plan any distant vacations in the Maldives unless you are superb at treading water.

Right now we are helping push numerous species toward extinction.  Something is very wrong with right whales. 
Other whales are suffering as well, a six-pack of dead gray whales does not bode well for this Pacific Ocean population.

I have been blogging about the dearth of insects these days.  A long-term study in Ohio says butterfly populations there are diminishing.

One celebrity says she will not have any children unless we deal with climate change, not wanting to curse her kids with a dying planet.

There is widespread publicity now about a global push to reforest the planet.  Can we co-operate on such a thing?  Can we do it in such a way that we don’t have to slaughter whole human populations to make room?  One study projects sub-Saharan nations in Africa will feel the worst effects of climate (short of inundation) because food supply will drop as our species’ reproduction runs unmitigated.  Can we find some way to stop rampant population growth, resource use (and waste) and fend off the rabid pro-profit capitalists who would rather see extinctions than loss of stock value?  People have never proven themselves good at long-term vision…

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