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Posted by: atowhee | May 19, 2019

ALONG INTERSTATE 5

I have made two round trips from Salem to Ashland and back this month.  Outside the towns and cities industrial agriculture rules. Much of that drive is through monocultures of grass, hazelnuts or Doug fir forest, but occasionally nature makes her presence known, escaping people’s efforts at control.ind agr (2)

South of Sutherlin you begin to notice all the dead Doug firs.  Many have been planted in terrain where they cannot survive the drought or competition from plants less thirsty than they are.  This photo is a ridgeline in Douglas County.DEAD D-F

In southern Oregon the introduced locust trees, native madrone and hedgerow hawthorns were all in bloom.  In some areas the cow parsnip flowers are nine inches across and form miniature forest canopies along the road side.  Elsewhere larkspur is in clumps.  On the dry southern Oregon slopes the invasive purple vetch colors the landscape.

I spotted five occupied Osprey nest platforms–three in Douglas County, two in Lane.  The northernmost platform is east of I-5 in north Eugene just south of the MacKenzie River Bridge.  The other Osprey nest I noted in Lane County was west of I-5 alongside the lumber mill south of Cottage Grove.  In Douglas County they are all south of Roseburg.  One near Milepost 113 west of the freeway, one a bit south of there along the South Umpqua River and east of the freeway.  A third is hard to see, it is east of freeway about 150 yards, along the river, and about two miles north of Myrtle Creek.

I found a family of Hooded Mergansers in the Umpqua River in Roseburg, at Fir Grove Fields.  Mom and four swimming ducklings.  There were also Mallards and Common Mergansers on the river there as well.

Turkey Vultures are most numerous in Douglas County with over 20 seen above the freeway on one transect.  Lane County is much smaller but may have as many TVs per mile or roadway.

NATURE PROGLIGATE; NATURE EFFICIENT

Cottonwood fluff often drifted across the highway in loose blizzards.  Millions of those seeds will be run over, wash away in streams, be eaten by bird or mammals, lodge beneath a rock.  A few wild their way to damp soil and one or two may someday become a 150 foot tall adult cottonwood, its roots deep beneath a stream.

Nature’s efficiency sometimes comes from adaptive behavior.  In the parking lot of the Santiam Rest Stop I watched Brewer’s Blackbirds and House Sparrows eating grilled insects.  One large truck pulled into the parking lot and immediately a blackbird flew up to the engine grill to pick insects bodies from the metal. After the truck driver killed the engine, three more blackbirds and a House Sparrow came to partake of this home delivery of fresh protein.

Look closely in the foliage above, there is a Yellow Warbler feeding, ignoring me and the camera…this was at Santiam River Rest Area in Marion County,geese at lowes (2)

Speaking of adaptation.  I saw a happy-looking family of Canada Geese cruising the parking lot of Lowe’s in Salem, working their way across the pavement and past long rows of pallets with garden supplies.

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Posted by: atowhee | May 19, 2019

KLAMATH BASIN BIRDING, MAY 17

We had over fifty species and never got as far south as the refuge. High point–dancing grebes, click here for that earlier blog.  Further photos and checklists from day in the field for KBO donors:

Yes, there was a young aquatic mammal swimming in the lake…temp of water must be well blow fifty degrees…and yet…

Howard Prairie, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019. 10 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Sandhill Crane  2
Common Raven  X
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Western Bluebird  X
American Robin  X
Chipping Sparrow  X
Vesper Sparrow  X

Deadwood Junction, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019. 7 species

Mallard  X
Wilson’s Snipe  X
Bald Eagle  1
Tree Swallow  X
Mountain Bluebird  2–only ones we saw all day!
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

Harriman Springs, Klamath, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019.  11 species

Canada Goose  X
Wood Duck  2
Mallard  X
Ring-necked Duck  2
Hooded Merganser  X
Red-breasted Sapsucker  1
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  X

Eagle Ridge/Shoalwater Bay, Klamath, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019.  33 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  X
Mourning Dove  X
Caspian Tern  X
Forster’s Tern  X
American White Pelican  8
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  20
Turkey Vulture  X
Bald Eagle  X
Red-breasted Sapsucker  1
White-headed Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Olive-sided Flycatcher  1
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Steller’s Jay  X
Common Raven  X
Tree Swallow  X
House Wren  2
American Robin  X
Cedar Waxwing  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)  X
Song Sparrow  X
Yellow-headed Blackbird  X
Bullock’s Oriole  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Yellow Warbler  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  X

KLAMATH COUNTY–HWY 140 NORTH, Klamath, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019. 17 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Western Grebe  X
Clark’s Grebe  X
Caspian Tern  X
Forster’s Tern  X
Double-crested Cormorant  X
Great Egret  X
Turkey Vulture  X
Bald Eagle  X
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Common Raven  X
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
American Robin  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Lakeshore Drive, Klamath, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019. 11 species

Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
Franklin’s Gull  15
Ring-billed Gull  X
Great Egret  X
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Black-billed Magpie  2
American Robin  X
European Starling  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

Putnam’s Point, Klamath, Oregon, US
May 17, 2019.  17 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Western Grebe  X
Clark’s Grebe  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Mourning Dove  X
Forster’s Tern  X
Great Egret  X
Black-crowned Night-Heron  X
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
American Robin  X
European Starling  X
Yellow-headed Blackbird  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
House Sparrow  X

Link River Trail, Klamath, Oregon, US
27 species

Mallard  X
Common Merganser  25
Western Grebe  X
Clark’s Grebe  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
American Coot  1
California Gull  1
Caspian Tern  X
Forster’s Tern  X
Double-crested Cormorant  X
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Green Heron  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  4
Turkey Vulture  X
Bald Eagle  1
Western Kingbird  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
American Robin  X
Yellow-headed Blackbird  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  X
House Sparrow  X

Posted by: atowhee | May 19, 2019

EMIGRANT LAKE, JACKSON COUNTY, MAY 16, 2019

I spent about 3 hours at Emigrant Lake late May 16th.  There were no surprises but plenty of bird action. In the pioneer cemetery a pair of adult bluebirds were catching insects for their nestlings and a very showy male tanager who did not try to hide. I got a shot of female bluebird coming up with juicy, pale caterpillar on an oak limb.  Osprey pair at south end of the lake had at least one visible nestling on the nest platform.  Nearby a Dipper was working under the Hwy 66 bridge over Emigrant Creek.  Did not see a nest under the bridge.

 

 


wb on grnd (2)

 

I got to see my first Ash-throated Flycatcher of the year in the oaks along Rosebud Lane.  In the shallow water at that south end: two pair of Spotted Sandpipers.atf-emlk (2)Note in first pic the sandpiper has a snack in its beak. Below: Golden Eagle, some grass trailing from talons, perhaps grabbed along with prey?

 

Western Meadowlark takes off:

Rogue Valley birders: I found a single-piece binoc lens cover in the cemetery and left it on the modern gravestone with the ceramic flames on top.   I believe the brand name was Vortex.

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 16, 2019 .  27 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Common Merganser  2
California Quail  6
Spotted Sandpiper  5
Turkey Vulture  6
Osprey  3     includes noe nestling
Golden Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Acorn Woodpecker  X
Ash-throated Flycatcher  1
Western Kingbird  1
California Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
Oak Titmouse  X
American Dipper  1     under Emigrant Creek bridge of Hwy 66
Western Bluebird  2
American Robin  X
European Starling  X
Lesser Goldfinch  22
Western Meadowlark  X
Bullock’s Oriole  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Western Tanager  X

Posted by: atowhee | May 17, 2019

KLAMATH BIRD OBSERVATORY DONORS VISIT KLAMATH BASIN

Shannon Rio and I took a family of KBO supporters on a birding trip in the Klamath Basin.  We worked our way from Rocky Point south to Link River, and the birds were there to be seen…despite some unforecasted rain.  White-headed Woodpecker and Olive-sided Flycatcher at Eagle Ridge.  Dancing grebes on Link River.  Sandhill Cranes at Howard Prairie en route from Ashland.

Below: Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole male, line of Franklin’s Gulls along Lakeshore, my favorite reptile of the day:

Male oriole on guard at nest, Eagle Ridge: BO-NEST2 (2)

Treetop hunter, Olive-sided Flycatcher:OSF AT EAGLE RIDG (2)

Then there were the Clark’s and Western Grebes in courtship mode…as Leonard Cohen wisely urged:
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin 
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in 
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove 
Dance me to the end of love…

Posted by: atowhee | May 15, 2019

BAND OF BAND-TAILS IN YAMHILL

BTP(12) AT YSPIn this image are twelve members of the flocks gathered in the treetops at the north end of the Yamhill Sewer Ponds property.  There were at least 20 altogether.  A nearby collared-dove looked petite.

Posted by: atowhee | May 14, 2019

MARION COUNTY GREAT GRAY

There are Great Gray Owls living and apparently breeding in northeastern Marion County and in nearby southeastern Clackamas County.  At least one credible sighting in recent years was of two immature GGOs in that area.  Last night a BLM biologist and I located and listened to a male calling repeatedly in a dense forest of young Doug fir and maple.  The canopy was sufficiently dense to please any Great Gray.  The ground was profusely covered with ferns, shrubs and fallen limbs.  The owls would definitely have to move to nearby clearings to hunt. I am prone to believe it was a male calling unsuccessfully for a mate.  This area would be at the extreme northwestern edge of the species’ range in Oregon and so mate-finding might be a chancy effort each winter and spring.

The elevation is modest, less than 2000’, but the habitat is montane.  Along the road we heard a male Mountain Quail calling repeatedly.  There are numerous small private properties and homes nearby.  I wonder if the local residents know they have GGOs hunting their meadows at night?

The search will continue.  It would be good to find youngsters, better yet to find an active nest.  The species no  longer warrants serious government-sponsored surveys in Oregon so this effort is largely done in spare moments by a staff of dedicated biologists.

Posted by: atowhee | May 12, 2019

ANKENY–MAY 11, 2019

On my way north yesterday I took time for a quick mid-afternoon visit to Ankeny NWR.  The pool across the road to the west of Eagle Marsh had multiple species of the heron family and I got good looks at all four: Grt. Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, American Bittern.  Some lingering Cacklers, a flock of Long-billed Dowitchers and a singing chat were also appreciated.

Below: flights of two different bitterns across the shallow pool:

Shorebirds:

Ankeny NWR, Marion, Oregon, US,
May 11, 2019.  27 species

Cackling Goose  15
Canada Goose  X
Cinnamon Teal  15
Gadwall  2
Mallard  X
Ring-necked Duck  10
Bufflehead  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Pied-billed Grebe  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Killdeer  X
Long-billed Dowitcher  60
Spotted Sandpiper  2
American Bittern  2
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  12
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  X
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)  1
American Crow  X
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
European Starling  X
Song Sparrow  X
Yellow-breasted Chat  1     singing
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

Posted by: atowhee | May 11, 2019

JACKSON COUNTY CASCADES, MAY 10, 2019

This was a fund-raising field trip for Klamath Bird Observatory.  Misses included Great Gray Owl, all three resident “chickens” and White-headed Woodpecker.  No flycatchers found.  Reservoir level low at Hyatt and Howard Prairie both.  Cranes, Pileated, winnowing and calling snipe, iridescent Tree Swallow male and Purple Martins nesting on Hwy 66 were highlights.  A few years back there were apparently no martins nesting in Jackson County.  Now there are at least three known nesting locations.

Here are three fine photos from one of the birders on the trip, Kdent Patrick-Riley of Ashland.  Click on pic for full size image:

Above: robin’s nest low enough for photo, three eggs.  Osprey with fish clutched to belly, always carried head first.  Shows those sure-grip talons with their anti-slime bumps at work.  Then the male tree swallow with full sun on his back.  Photo is fine.  To my eyes the glowing wings and lower tail were a burnished brass, shining as brightly as a pool of clear water or polished silver might in the same light.  I have seen lost of Tree Swallows in bright light but this one was the first that made me think I was birding at Tiffany’s with Holly Golightly.  What a beauteous spectacle was he.

Here are two great shots from Karl Schneck.  Snipe along Dead Indian Memorial Road where the males traditionally post themselves along the fence before milepost 17–this guy one of the winnowers for sure.  Then Canada Geese en famille.cago2

Our route was from Ashland up Dead Indian Memorial Road, around Howard Prairie Lake on roads, not boat, then up to Hyatt Lake (five hundred feet higher in elevation), down old Hyatt Lake Road to Little Hyatt Lake on road paralleling Keene Creek, then west on Hwy 66 back to Ashland.

Howard Prairie Circuit, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 10, 2019 9:15 AM – 2:55 PM

Comments:     Saddened that we found no Mountain Bluebirds anywhere.  Howard Prairie Lake water level quite low.  Hyatt Lake not full either.  Keene Creek flowing, but at low level.  North end of Howard Prairie lakebed now grassland with Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes foraging.  NO water visible from Dead Indian Memorial Road.
46 species (+2 other taxa)

Canada Goose  X
Wood Duck  2
Mallard  X
Ring-necked Duck  4     Little Hyatt Lake
Bufflehead  15     Hyatt Lake
Common Merganser  7
Western Grebe  1
Sandhill Crane  4
Killdeer  X
Wilson’s Snipe  X
Ring-billed Gull  2
Double-crested Cormorant  5
Great Blue Heron  X
Turkey Vulture  X
Osprey  X
Osprey (carolinensis)  3     one carrying fish, apparently to nest
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Great Horned Owl  1     fledgling at Belle Fiore entrance road
Lewis’s Woodpecker  X     Hwy 66–milepost 10
Acorn Woodpecker  X
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  X
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)  X
Warbling Vireo  1     Keene Creek
Common Raven  X
Purple Martin  2     mated pair, apparently using nest hole in utility pole at Hwy 66, milepost 10
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Mountain Chickadee  X
White-breasted Nuthatch  X
House Wren  1
American Dipper  1
Western Bluebird  1
American Robin  X
Chipping Sparrow  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)  X
Vesper Sparrow  X
Savannah Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Green-tailed Towhee  X
Bullock’s Oriole  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Yellow Warbler (Northern)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)  X
Western Tanager  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  X

Posted by: atowhee | May 10, 2019

HELLO, BIRDLAND

Electronic eye gives us an avian view of the natural world, mammals need not apply…beyond looking and wondering.

Hooded Crow wins the prize for best blurred image.

Posted by: atowhee | May 10, 2019

HOPE, NO HOPE, AND ADMONITION

Good news, we can have plastic  that is endlessly recyclable, like aluminum or glass.  Now if only we had governments scattered about the globe that still believe in regulations to bring about social change…remember the days when laws changed to give women the vote?  Hell, I am so old I recall usury laws that limited the interest rates that could be charged by banks or other lenders.  Or imagine today trying to outlaw DDT or leaded gasoline?  Those days are dormant, if not gone forever. Corporations and their paid factotums in government rule the political landscape right now.  Extinction Rebellion actions may be the only way to save life on earth.  Corporations will continue to destroy unless they fear profit losses, that only will restrain them now that governments nearly everywhere are subservient to deregulated capitalism run amuck.

Not so good, we are killing many other forms of life which is not even good news for our own species.

George, my environment oracle, finally lays it on the…table, not just on the line.  Stop eating fish!   Grassgoppers anyone?

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