Dear Ms Demetriou

I’m writing to inform you that I give my permission for my daughter Ruby Fuller in 12M not attend school on Friday 15th February; in order to join the Youth Strike 4 Climate protest taking place across the UK on that day.

I’m aware of UK law that permits parents to only give permission for their child to miss school on medical grounds or in a few other cases, one of which is under “exceptional circumstances”.

My view is that having only 12 years left to cut CO2 emissions by 50%, as per the latest UN IPCC report, before the disastrous consequences of climate change become irreversible, constitutes exceptional circumstances. And it in light of this that I’m giving my child permission.

It is disempowering and depressing for today’s youth to hear the constant horrific news about the environment, especially as this is the world that they are expected to grow up in and soon will be left to deal with. The fact then that they have very little power to effect how governments, TNCs and people in power deal, or fail to deal, with this issue can be extremely frustrating.

In case you were wondering, a few of these disastrous consequences are illustrated below:

– a football pitch size of rainforest was destroyed each second in 2017 and is expected to accelerate under Bolsanaro’s leadership [In Brazil].

– 26,000 species are currently facing global extinction

– a rubbish truck load of plastic is dumped in the ocean every minute;

– since the first UN summit on climate in 1995 the global emissions have risen by 60% and continue to rise.

– devastating impacts of extreme weather are in the news on a daily basis

I hope attending this demonstration will help my child to feel empowered and able to stand up for what is right, and for a better future for the planet.

I support her to attend the youth strike as part of active civic engagement, which is a core part of the curriculum. People under 18 years can’t vote, but with more of their life in the future, rather than the past, it’s they who are most affected by climate breakdown.

Many other forms of protest have had little impact on the status quo of burning more and more fossil fuels. Nowhere near enough is being done by governments throughout the world, including our own UK government which recently banned new on-shore wind investment; one of the UK’s most effective options for renewable energy because their supporters think wind turbines are ugly.

I respect her decision to attend this protest and I hope and expect you will respect her too. If you would like to discuss this in anyway please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards,

Emma [our daughter-in-law]

[Our grandkids live in London area.  The large global climate strike by teenagers is set for Ides of March…they have the most to lose and I’m glad to see them take to the streets in protest against what we Boomers have bequeathed them, a badly damaged planet.]

Posted by: atowhee | February 16, 2019


Yesterday a Colorado visitor and I spent the afternoon birding the Tualatin River NWR.  Probably our best find was a trio of Western Bluebirds.  Another birder had found goldeneye which we did not relocate but we did have a total of a dozen waterfowl species plus grebe and coot.  Not a single shorebird.  Only mammals: one nutria, three Townsend’s chipmunks.


Pair of mated adults, a lone first-year bird:

This dead tree (below) once held the eagles’ nest, then it began to disintegrate.  Ut was propped up with pole and brace but now is useful only as perch,  The eagles now nest back in a live conifer along the Tualatin River.egl propt

Here we have Bufflehead, the might tree heron scrub-jay, four geese with only a single leg, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Creeper:

The chipmunk, newt (do not touch).

Tualatin River NWR–Atfálat’i Unit, Washington, Oregon, US
Feb 15, 2019.  36 species

Greater White-fronted Goose  1
Cackling Goose  500
Canada Goose  100
Northern Shoveler  40
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  6
Green-winged Teal  4
Ring-necked Duck  12
Lesser Scaup  4
Bufflehead  20
Ruddy Duck  25
Pied-billed Grebe  8
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
American Coot  50
Double-crested Cormorant  3
Great Blue Heron  1
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  3
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Brown Creeper  1
Bewick’s Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  20
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Western Bluebird  3
American Robin  2
European Starling  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)  20
Golden-crowned Sparrow  25
Song Sparrow  4
Spotted Towhee  4
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3

Posted by: atowhee | February 16, 2019


Wild dogs in the big city, click here for video…unfortunately it is silent so we see, but do not hear, the coyotes’ serenade.  For that, come with me to Malheur later this year.


*BIRDING MALHEUR *  May 22-27 & June 7-12  * 5 Nights * Leader :  Harry Fuller *  $900 / $850 RV *

BIRDING MALHEUR & STEENS MT *  Sept  16-22 * 6 Nights * Leader :  Harry Fuller * $1000 / $940 RV

Cost includes all meals and accommodations at Malheur Field Station on the wildlife refuge.

About Harry Fuller:  Harry has lived in Oregon since 2007.  He has been leading bird trips and teaching bird classes since the 1990s.  He annually leads birding trips in Oregon and Washington for Klamath Bird Observatory, Road Scholar and Golden Gate Audubon.   See more at:
To register contact the Malheur Field Station at 541-493-2629


Spring: Trumpeter Swan, Cinnamon Teal, Black-chinned Hummingbird, White Pelicans, Franklin’s Gulls, Black Terns, Wilson’s Phalarope, Wilson’s Snipe, Long-billed Curlew, Sora, Sandhill Crane, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Golden Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Short-eared Owl, Burrowing Owl, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Say’s Phoebe, Gray Flycatcher,  Loggerhead Shrike, Prairie Falcon, Horned Lark, Sage Thrasher, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Sagebrush Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow,

Mammals: pronghorn, mule deer, badger, kit fox, coyote, long-tailed weasel, river otter, Belding’s ground squirrel, Nuttall’s cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, yellow-bellied marmot.

Fall: Trumpeter Swan, migrant ducks, migrant shorebirds, Sora, Sandhill Crane,  Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Horned Owl, White Pelican, Common Nighthawk, Prairie Falcon, migrant woodpeckers (Lewis’s, et al.), Say’s Phoebe, Horned Lark, Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, Western Tanager, Yellow-headed Blackbird, migrant warblers.

Mammals: wild mustangs, pronghorn, mule deer, kit fox, coyote, long-tailed weasel, river otter, Nuttall’s cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit.


Posted by: atowhee | February 16, 2019


Dr. Tom Cade.  Click here for obituary and description of his role in reviving our peregrine population.

Breeding endangered species in captivity and releasing them after proper preparation has worked to keep many species alive–California Condor for example.

The release part is still not a guaranteed for the Hawaiian Crow (Alala), however.  Click here to read about their current status, with most Alala living still in captivity.  Their threats in the wild include endangered hawk, endangered owl (Pueo) and toxoplasmosis from feral cat feces.  There are fewer than 200 of these birds alive.

One pioneer of  captive breed and release as programs for endangered species was Gerald Durrell.  The TV series, “Durrells in Corfu”, is fun viewing those of us who enjoy animals as much or more than other people.



Posted by: atowhee | February 13, 2019


This morning in McMinnville we got some scattered sunshine.  As clouds muddled about, occasionally leaving a patch of blue, some wan winter sunlight came through.  That began to warm sidewalks and dark roofs.  One relieved little House Sparrow went to the peak of a neighbor’s roof, there to warm and dry and preen.HOSP SUN

Late in the day a dog walk took me past the east edge of the country club golf course and there was a Peregrine eating in the top of the highest Doug fir.

A CRITTER GALLERYAMGO-TWOAmerican Goldfinches after food.  Below: a size comparison.  For ever ich of finch, three of dove.BIG.SMLLIMG_2385Above, collared-doves enjoying a respite from the rain.  This is one of the local pea-nutters:P.NUTTERPERKYAbove, there is word for this guy…perky.  Another word might be…impertinent.  The local red-tail in a treetop during a halt in the rain.  This bird may have young to feed or a mate on eggs.RTH.NX

Among the blooms in sight now are the earliest daffodils.  Also heather, candytuft, snow drops, crocus in bright bud but not quite open, and none of the native plants yet.DAFFS-FEB


I will be teaching a three-week birding class in McMinnville this April–three night lectures and three field trips on Saturdays.  Click here for program and registration info.

In addition to identification we will discuss recent discoveries in bird behavior and pay special attention to courtship and nesting behavior of our local birds.


Posted by: atowhee | February 11, 2019


“We have met the enemy and he is us.”      –1970 Earth Day poster (not Walt Kelly’s Pogo who simply parroted the sentence)

“Our species, it seems, is intelligent enough to understand the damage it is causing to the world in which we also evolved, but incapable of co-operating to protect the resources on which we all depend.”
— Anne Magurran in review of book on invertebrates in TLS, Jan. 11, 2019

 “Yet as the year turns, and we enter another millionth sliver of geologic time, it is apparent that although we humans are often individually long-lived, as a species we will die young. What remains is to negotiate the precise terms of our extinction.”  

                        — John Davis, “Burn Lands” (southern California), in CounterPunch, January 13, 2019

 “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”                                                                             –Max Planck, supposedly

Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time.”        –Andreas Wagner

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
— Nelson Henderson

Nero fiddled.  We buy, and drive, and consume and throw away. There is some cause for optimism about life on earth.  There is much cause for alarm.  Bits of evidence from local changes to global trends demand human attention and action.  Yet that may not be forthcoming.  There may be need for more funerals first.   My Boomer generation is slow to depart.  Across the globe thugocracy rises:  Putin, Xi, Jong Un, Duterte, Assad, Fattah al-Sisi, Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, Maduro, Ayatollah, Taliban.  These are not regimes that will pay any heed to the destruction of the earth as a place to live.  It says too much to read that Canada is now seen as the most moral major nation on earth—yet it makes its living fracking and taking oil from tar sands and shipping deadly fossil fuels to other addicts.  Let us stop ignoring the fact that burning fossil fuels is killing us, and them, and all those other creatures, too.  After many funerals it is possible my grandchildren’s generation will seize control and change the direction of the world’s economies, cultures and ethics…maybe.  To be able to return in a hundred years and see what has transpired would be a news person’s dream, nightmarish or otherwise I could not predict.

Santa Cruz is one of the most scenic small cities on the California coast.  Visit while you may, time and the Pacific march on.  

In Louisiana a coastal town is being inundated and it has the first-ever federal grant to relocate inland to higher ground.  Could we ever afford to move whoel cities?  Houston, Galveston, Miami, New Orleans, Manhattan…

We are killing off all those other creatures we depend on.  You may think it’s fine if spiders and mosquitoes and fleas all go extinct.  But alongside them will vanish the monarchs, honey bees and zillions of pollinators on which we depend for cherries and pecans and oranges. It should be upsetting to read a headline with the phrase “collapse of nature.”  Can humans survive in a world with only algae and dandelions and maybe a few brine shrimp?  Not to mention tiny strips of land where some other animals may linger?

Man vs. polar bear–twas ever thus.  As the planet becomes less accommodating to forms of life humans will inevitably make decisions to favorf themselves.

Can we make it better by turning to more nuclear power, less pollution of the atmosphere?  Do we send all that radioactive waste to the sun?  There is a book saying US and western Europe have failed to take advantage of nuclear solution.

There is now one analysis of humanity that says the population will begin to decline in this century, not continue to grow without restraint.  This projection of falling numbers is in a new book called Empty Planet. 

Will a declining population of humans and supposed reduced consumption and less exploitation of nature actually be enough to prevent apocalypse and massive extinctions, including our own species?  There is a new book out, The Uninhabitable Earth, which lays out the perplexity of our situation: 

“I have never been an environmentalist. I don’t even think of myself as a nature person. I’ve lived my whole life in cities, enjoying gadgets built by industrial supply chains I hardly think twice about….Whatever we do to stop warming, and however aggressively we act to protect ourselves from its ravages, we will have pulled the devastation of human life on earth into view…”

In his book, David Wallace-Wells is the first writer I’ve seen look at what a cataclysm it will be when Bangladesh becomes uninhabitable.  A densely populated Muslim nation trying to emigrate into Hindu India or secular China or Buddhist neighbors to the east?  Shipping tens of millions across the Indian Ocean to Pakistan or Indonesia or an unwelcoming Australia which already operates concentration camps for refugees?  We see how Europe has reacted to the Syrian refugee crisis and Syria is a tiny nation with a few million compared to the tens of millions of Bangladeshis.  Trump, naturally, has set a standard for how the US will treat anybody driven from home by violence, drought or starvation.  His unspoken message: go home and die where you were born.

Apocalypse has long been a word ascribed to various religious views. To those believers who say their god would never allow anything bad to happen to humans, I can only say there is little evidence in the world’s history of a kindly deity or a just one.  Don’t be expecting some benign force to come down from the heavens and remove CO2 and methane from the atmosphere, or cool our collective brow.

Are we looking at not just deserts but just desserts?  Coming soon: deadly heat, tropical diseases spreading globally, continental droughts…does our species deserve its power and glory or is our hubris our epitaph?  I will not be here to see the outcome, but my grandkids…


Posted by: atowhee | February 10, 2019


Cars were ice skating around corners this morning.  Drivers bent on getting to church, perhaps, figuring god was on their side as much as four-wheel drive.  Here we got about three inches of snow overnight and a hard freeze of the afternoon melt water from yesterday. We stayed near the windows, as the birds coped in their fashion.

Before 8 AM the juncos had come and pattered around.  Their tracks were the only graffiti on the snow.  At 8AM the air temperature outside was 26.

820 AM I have scattered sunflower chips outside and put some into each hanging feeder.  The suet blocks hund outside all night.  Juncos and their sparrowy cousins descend from tree and shrub as soon as I am back inside the house.  Spotted Towhee pair, Golden-crowned Sparrow (2).

834 AM  First starkings strike the suet feeders and then sunflower chips as well.  There are ten in this first wave.

836 AM   I toss a couple dozen peanuts in shell onto the cement veranda.  Within ten seconds the scrub-jay pair are coming and going, carrying each nut off to cache it out of sight of squirrel and other competitors.  How do they respond so quickly?  Do they keep watch?  I am very irregular in spreading peanuts.  Do they hear the sound of shell on cement?  The sound of the sliding door closing?  How do they?

842 AM First and single squirrel hits the feeders.  Nearby I hear robins whinnying.  They will not deign to accept any of our food.  THe ground is covered with snow, ruling out earthworms for the time being.  Can they find berries?  The rowan has been plucked clean.  We do have fruit clinging to nandina, but no pyracantha or blackberries…what will they do?  Later in the morning I see them working narrowstrips of bare ground along roads and sidewalks where reflected sun heat has melted the snow.

852 AM Golden-crowned Sparrows both at sunflower chips.  Also oue lone White-throated Sparrow shows up for first time this morning.  The two GCS often come together but behave more like a flock than a pair.  THey will not nest anywhere nearby so this is just a winter feeding territory.  Unlike the Bewick’s Wrens(unseen today)and towhees who will nest within fifty yards of our house.

853 AM Again the starling gang returns, scaring off all but the doughty and doubtless juncos.  The sun is bright and though the air is only at 28 degrees, melt begins on leaves and limbs.  Dripping commences.

855 AM I hear collared-doves.  They have not dropped down to feed.

905 AM  Myrtle Warbler #1 arrives.  Later a second one will show up.

918  AM Several squirrels drop down from the trees, knocking snow off horizontals as they come.  Nearly always several juncos are at work, occasionally taking fright and flight but soon returning.  Ditto the towhee and golden-crowns.

940 AM  Starlings, juncos and squirrels busily hoovering up food.  Among the juncos I spot my old friend, Cheeky, he of the white cheek patches.  Picture below.  31.6 is the temp now.

950 AM Flicker hits the double suet block feeder, hanging beneath with his brilliantly marked tail feathers in full display.  Ever seen a flicker’s tail up close?  Note the finely cross-hatched dark feathers with white lines forming Xs across the tail.  Perhaps Audrey Hepburn could carry off appearing in an outfit like that…

952 AM Two Myrtle Warblers quarrel over the suet block as soon as the flicker flies off. The first House Sparrow of the morning attaches herself to the suet block as well.

1030 AM  It is now 35 in the sunlight, melt speeding up, wooden deck beginning to clear of snow.  I am shovelling the slush off the walks.  I brush past the dripping boxwood and its gently drooping limbs drop dollops of slush down my collar.  I get the tingling message followed by an involuntary shudder.  I can hear cars still out there slaloming along the streets, making me wonder if its courage, faith or recklessness that impels drivers on this Sunday morning.

1045 AM Melt sounds all around.  Water beginning to flow in gutters…of streets and house alike.  Auddie appears, our lone Audubon’s Warbler who’s been here for months.  His bold yellow head-band shines in the sun.  If he could find those two Myrtles He would dispatch them with aggressive alacrity and aplomb aplenty.  The first male House Sparrow appears, having slept in like any good, lazy male should do on such a cold morning.

1115  AM  37.5 in the sun.

110 PM Back from my hike to No Name Pond.  41 in the sun.  Soon thereafter it clouds over and temp drops back into the 30s.


Above you can see Cheeky the junco and the male Spotted Towhee and the suave decorative piping on the flicker’s tail.  Click any image to enlarge.


The Acorn Woodpecker was actually ona feeder along PInot Noir Lane, near soe oaks.  The flicker screamed at me while streaming past and clinging to the pond-side cottonwood like a strong magnet.  best bird at the pond was a Lincoln’s Sparrow in with his flocking cousins: Song Sparrow and juncos.  Can you find the lone Pintail male?



The first image is of Merlot Marsh, frozen over, and all the red-wings’ complaints did not break the ice.  That image in the middle may look like a snow-covered 1974 Porsche, but it’s just a voluptuous bush.  The snowy hills are at the foot of the Coastal Range west of McMinnville.

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 10, 2019
14 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Bushtit  25
American Robin  X
European Starling  14
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  25
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3
House Sparrow  X

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 10, 2019
13 species

Northern Shoveler  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Green-winged Teal (American)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Robin  40
European Starling  50
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Song Sparrow  4
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  1

Posted by: atowhee | February 9, 2019


My birding friends, Linda and Peter Enticknap, are in southeastern Arizona.  Here are two of their flighty neighbors:

These are Greater Roadrunner (one reason you do not want to be reincarnated as a lizard) and Pyrrhuloxia, the Northern Cardinal’s aridityprone cousin.

Posted by: atowhee | February 9, 2019


Birder’s Night – Tuesday, March 12, 2019 – 6:30 PM

The Carrier Room – First United Methodist Church,   600 State Street, Salem

 “Klamath Basin: Terns to Trics, Falcons to Ferrugies”

Harry Fuller, expert birder and well-known author on the subject of birding, will be the featured speaker at Birder’s Night, Tuesday, March 12.  The program starts at 6:30 pm in the Carrier Room of the First United Methodist Church.

Harry’s presentation will move through the annual cycle of bird life in The Klamath Basin.  The Basin is a complex of lake, marsh, river, wildlife refuge, national grassland reserve, ponderosa forest, strawberry plantations, potato fields and pastureland.  There are conifer-covered mountainsides, grassy slopes and watery sinks.  Heaven for raptor lovers, it can also be a rich birding spot in any season.  The weather can present you with freezing fog in winter or blistering arid heat in summer.   Fuller will highlight when and where to see nesting golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, black terns, redheads, long-billed curlew, Wilson’s phalarope and more.  Winter specialties include numerous rough-legged hawks, drifts of tundra swans, and, in some years, snow buntings.   You are invited to join us and hear Harry’s inside information on birding in this area that has various habitat and numerous bird species!

Harry Fuller has lived in Oregon since 2007 and now makes his home in McMinnville.  Before retirement he worked in TV and Internet news, mostly in San Francisco.  He and his wife also lived four years in London and Paris where they had a chance to bird and visit many parts of Europe.  Harry has written three natural history books, including Freeway Birding, which describes birding spots along I-5 between San Francisco and Seattle, and The Great Gray Owl, which describes the great gray owl population in the Pacific states.  Fuller has been leading birding trips and teaching birding classes since the 1990’s.  He annually leads birding trips in Oregon and Washington for Klamath Bird Observatory, Road Scholar and Golden Gate Audubon.

Later this year Oregon State University Press will publish a book of essays about Malheur Wildlife Refuge, titled Edge of Awe.  It will include Fuller’s essay on the common nighthawks which are seen there in abundance.  His birding blog is at

Birder’s Night is a monthly program presented by Salem Audubon Society on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May.   Meetings are free and open to the public and are held in the Carrier Room of the United First Methodist Church, 600 State Street.  The church asks that all attending use the State Street entrance.   Salem Audubon always appreciates donations to support its conservation education and stewardship programs.  For more information contact the Audubon office at (503) 588-7340.





Klamath Area Mountain Bluebird; photo by Kirk Gooding                             White-faced Ibis; photo by Kirk Gooding








Posted by: atowhee | February 8, 2019


Somebody has lost their flock of wintering American Goldfinches.  Well, I found them.  They are here in my garden in McMinnville where they’ve been at our feeders repeatedly today.  I first noted their presence when I heard their soft twittering from the tops of the trees.  Did somebody nyger feeder run out?  Snow drive them to new location?  Got your goldfinches right here. THere were at least a dozen of them.

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