Posted by: atowhee | March 17, 2008

A Sunday in March: Snow in the Mountains, Birds in the Air


Song Sparrow solo.  Photo by maestro Len Blumin.

 There’s been snow for three straight nights in the mountains.  Here in the valley the nights and mornings are cold.  But daffodils, dandelions, violets and manzanita bloom.  On a damp hillside I noticed some forget-me-nots [Myosotis sylvatica] blooming.  They are an ingtroduced weed, but a cheery blue color.  And migrants continue to push north.

We had several groups up Turkey Vultures passing by, some will go as far north as British Columbia.  Some have recently settled back into their evening roost just a few miles north of Ashland.  That’s the Phoenix roost right next to I-5.

There was one small cluster of Tree Swallows that passed overhead.  In a mistletoe-filled oak there was a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers, feedings as if their lives depended on it.  Which….

The Red-winged Blackbirds are in full voice and nesting mode.  Epaulets flashed over every clump of cattails.  A pair of Wrentits were quite visible and the male climbed to the giddy hieght of ten fveet, giving us clear, lingering views.  This American Babbler is usually a skulker and clings to the low brush in a limited life-long territory.  No migrants they.

If there was any doubt that testosterone is flowing: a pair of Kestrel copulating high in a still-leafless tree.  One of the mated Red-tailed Hawks was standing in the stick nest they’ll ;erhaps repair and re-use along Bear Creek.  One WT Kite and one Cooper’s Hawk filled out our raptor roster for the day.  The Mourning Doves were all in pairs. So were the Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches. Downys, Acorns and Flickers were active in clear view.  A shy Red-breasted Sapsucker fled before we got a good view.  They’ll be moving uphill along with spring weather.

Surprising bird of the day: a Great Egret followkjng alongbehind a Blue Heron.  Both appeared to be heading toward Enigrant Lake south of town.

 Today’s best vocals by: Song Sparrows, RW Blackbirds, Purple Finches atop willows just budding out, Lesser Goldfinch males in full spring regalia.  The Purple Finbches will not nest here on the valley floor but eventually move uphill as the seasons progress.

Location:     Bear Valley Greenway–Ashland
Observation date:     3/16/08, Rogue Valley Audubon Field Trip with ten birders
Notes:     Copulating Kestrel.  Nesting Red-tailed Hawk. Migrating Tree swallows, YR Warblers and Turkey Vultures.
Number of species:     41

Canada Goose     12
Wood Duck     40
Mallard     10
Common Merganser     2
Great Blue Heron     1
Great Egret     1
Turkey Vulture     22
White-tailed Kite     1
Cooper’s Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     3
American Kestrel     2
Rock Pigeon     20
Mourning Dove     11
Anna’s Hummingbird     1
Acorn Woodpecker     2
Red-breasted Sapsucker     1
Downy Woodpecker     3
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     3
Black Phoebe     1
Western Scrub-Jay     15
American Crow     1
Tree Swallow     4
Black-capped Chickadee     8
White-breasted Nuthatch     2
Bewick’s Wren     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     1
Hermit Thrush     1
American Robin     15
Wrentit     2
European Starling     30
Yellow-rumped Warbler     8
Spotted Towhee     10
Fox Sparrow     2
Song Sparrow     7
Golden-crowned Sparrow     16
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     1
Red-winged Blackbird     20
Brewer’s Blackbird     25
Purple Finch     18
Lesser Goldfinch     14
House Sparrow     5

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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