Posted by: atowhee | March 12, 2008

Three New Birds for 2008


Turkey Vulture in repose, photo by Len Blumin.


Marsh Wren on alert.  Photo by May Woon.

As we returned home on Monday evening, the sun was still on standard time so it hadn’t set by 6;15 P.M.  But the local Turkey Vultures, just back from their winter vacation, had already set, or settled.  They were back on their roost trees near Phoenix, I-5 Exit 24.  At least fifty of them slumped into their sleep-slouch on branches high in still-leafless trees along Bear Creek, just off the freeway.

Tuesday a couple TVs circled high overhead and drifted northward.  Perhaps migrating on.  Almost definitely a migrant: the resting Kestrel in the trees along the Greenway.  Not ideal Kestrel habitat but he didn’t seem to be hunting.  Definitely on migration: little pulses of Tree Swallows, chasing one another and zipping acr0ss the sky, ever moving toward the polar star, unseen but clearly compelling.

The Kestrel was not the only new bird for my walks along the Bear Creek Greenway in Ashland this year.  A Marsh Wren was calling from one of the nearly dry ponds that were once part of the sewer plant.  And the settling impoundment between Ashland and Bear Creeks concealled a singing Yellowthroat.  Three new birds for the list.  Perhaps the Wren and Yellowthroat will nest there this year.  The Yellowthroat’s pond already has paired-up Song Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds with crimson shoulder patches signalling intent. In one berry bramble the Bewick’s Wrens were clearly preparing to nest.  A chattering territorial conflict and chase included three of the wrens. 

The California Quail were not visible but a male was calling.  I have never seen more than a handful so I don’t know how big this covey is.  The one near the Valley View Bridge just north of Ashland is dozens of birds.  Like the Wild Turkey, they are an introduced species in this area.

Location:     Bear Valley Greenway–Ashland
Observation date:     3/11/08
Notes:     First Marsh Wren and Common Yellowthroat of the year.  Pulses of Tree swallows on northward migration.  Kestrel likely a resting migrant as well.
Number of species:     32

Canada Goose     2
Wood Duck     45
Mallard     27
California Quail     1
Turkey Vulture     2
Red-tailed Hawk     1
American Kestrel     1
Rock Pigeon     8
Mourning Dove     7
Acorn Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     3
Western Scrub-Jay     8
American Crow     1
Tree Swallow     51
Black-capped Chickadee     1
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Bewick’s Wren     3
Marsh Wren     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     2
American Robin     15
European Starling     29
Common Yellowthroat     1
Spotted Towhee     4
Song Sparrow     12
Golden-crowned Sparrow     9
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     1
Red-winged Blackbird     10
Western Meadowlark     1
Brewer’s Blackbird     23
Purple Finch     8
House Finch     1
Lesser Goldfinch     10

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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