Posted by: atowhee | March 18, 2019


are deadly.  Whale autopsy stuns experts…dozens of pounds of plastic.

Oceanic Society is trying to help educate people about plastic trash.

Plankton v. plastic.

Ocean plastic by the numbers.

Posted by: atowhee | March 18, 2019


It seems tourists are flocking to spot they feel will be changed or destroyed by climate change.  Time to see the coral reefs or visit those islands before it’s too late.  This is not all happy news for the destinations.

Just the exhaust from the airplanes alone means more and more greenhouse gases.

Posted by: atowhee | March 17, 2019


“Let us praise the noble turkey vulture: No one envies him; he harms nobody; and he contemplates our little world from a most serene and noble height.”  -Edward Abbey

One returning TV passed over my head this evening as the dog took me for walk in our neighborhood.  Teetering, circling, gradually moving west to east.  Occasional wing flaps to regain lost altitude.  A turn against the sun and the silvery underside of the wings shone like polished pewter. TVMAR17IMG_4741 (2)


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Posted by: atowhee | March 17, 2019


“I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see that I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of the wild bird flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!
–Edna St. Vincent Millay

Peter Enticknap and I were standing on a slope overlooking No Name Pond.  The scene captured spring at her finest–dark green grass,  blue sky reflected on the water, dozens of ducks paddling about, a Great Blue Heron fishing in the shallows, a kingfisher rattled from one shore to the furthest.  Red-winged Blackbirds called from trees and pond grasses.  A flicker flew, then called from a tree by Baker Creek.  A ghostly male harrier passed beyond the trees.  Then the whole drama shifted.  Like a small company of divas six Tundra Swans circled and dropped down out of the blue, onto the water.  They stayed until some distant gunfire reminded them of their long migration north.  They lifted off and were last seen silently winging over the northern horizon.
Here is a sequence from our moments with the swans, click on any image to enlarge:

If you enlarge some of the images on swans on water you can see the slender yellow patch just below the eye.

If you scan across the image you can pick out Mallards, Shoveler, a pintail, teal:NNP-FOWL (3)

Later, in a nearby oak grove, we saw these three lads enjoying the sun:THREE IN TREE (3)

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
19 species

Tundra Swan  6     Flock of six, landed on pond for a few minutes, heard gunshots and departed
Northern Shoveler  20
American Wigeon  4
Mallard  25
Northern Pintail  3
Green-winged Teal (American)  15
Ring-necked Duck  8
Hooded Merganser  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Great Blue Heron (Blue form)  1
Northern Harrier  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Northern Flicker  X
California Scrub-Jay  2
Black-capped Chickadee  1
American Robin  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)  2
Spotted Towhee  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X


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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.

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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.Feed Me Sweatshirt1_mockup_Front_Womens_White


Posted by: atowhee | March 15, 2019


Our youngest grand-daughter on strike for dealing with climate change…about time, my generation has failed miserably. She’s in London. She’s the one with the Ikea sign and the British government has been about as inert as our own here in the United States of Petroleum & Gas.tabitha climateJust read about how much electricity is saved by converting from incandescent to LED lighting, actual average electric use per household is dropping in US.  More public support for conversion would be a good and worthy cause.  Not even going to hurt big corporations as the ones who make the old bulbs now make the new.  But we can conjure up anti-vaxxers, surfelytg hr Internet can give us a great conspiracy theory on how LED bulbs are a Chinese/Iranian/Venezuelan/socialist/anti-Christmas plot, right?

Posted by: atowhee | March 14, 2019


The kestrels have paired off.  Today I saw a couple copulate on an electric wire, forty feet above the ground. That is an act none of us will ever match.  It is the first direction evidence I’ve seen this spring that the next generation is being generated.

Bushtits are now appearing singly or in pairs.  The flocks are breaking up into nesting units.  I expect my first Osprey any day now.

In full breeding plumage and busy with nesting preps are the local communards:

They will use a single next hole for all the eggs in the colony.  All adults help with incubation, brooding, daycare for the young.
Big birds, and little birds.  Ducks are scaup and Bufflehead and Mallard on Yamhill Sewer Ponds.

Cacklers loading at the sewer ponds:CACKS

This Bewick’s Wren was very angry about something, fussing and buzzing his way through the underbrush along the creek at the Yamhill Sewer Pods:

Some of the beauty outdoors now is stationary:

This last image above shows why robins and scrub-jays can often be found in the hawthorns.  Those freeze-dried berries have long outlasted most other fruit in this climate.

Things are looking up if you are looking down:

How many species growing on that old mossback?

Posted by: atowhee | March 14, 2019


Here is picture taken by Dr. Margaret Locke in her Montreal backyard:LOCKES' COOPThe Cooper’s Hawk has been sitting awhile so it is stretching right leg and wing to stay limber in case lunch lands nearby.

Posted by: atowhee | March 11, 2019


You must have noticed if live in western Oregon: spring is…

Just today I saw for the first time this year testosterone-crazed male Anna’s Hummingbird doing u-shaped territorial dives.  How crazed?  Think White House (male) apologist going on about how the women and children on the southern border are just coming here to vote illegally, or apply for food stamps.

Then there was a flicker calling repeatedly his spring thing, the “I own this tree” repetitive call. And in our garden I heard my first House Finch song of the season. Another first for the year, above Joe Dancer Park, a circling harrier, high in the sky, slowly moving north on migration.HARR-MAR11

Tomorrow night I am giving the talk at Salem Audubon Society gathering.  I will be describing the birding richness of the Klamath Basin

Posted by: atowhee | March 11, 2019


Lady works from spreadsheets to spread wings…and loves those big beaks.  Click here.

Posted by: atowhee | March 10, 2019


At Baskett Slough yesterday we saw thousands of Cackling Geese.  At rest they were grazing and loafing and napping in the short grass fields.  On alert, after an eagle fly-by, they were in the air.  Either way their numbers and their flock cohesion were impressive.  Are they really as united in their group as they seem?  Is it more than simply a survival mechanism versus the predator who needs to grab a single goose?  Eagles don’t have shotguns or assault rifles, just two sets of talons, enough for a single bird at once.cac-field1cac-field2cac-field3cac-field4cac-field5cac-field6cac-field7cac-field9cac-fly1As thousands circled overhead their calls were loud, but almost as much sound came from all those wings beating against the winter cold.  Stiff feathers against the molecules of the air–the sound of harsh rushing and air compression.  Bird energy forcing those bodies through a resistant atmosphere, the turbulence giving rise to a sound, no, thousands of individual sounds that became a Cack-cophony.cac-fly3cac-fly4cac-fly5Once again, here are the geese’s tormentors and sometimes their fate:egl-tree2

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