Posted by: atowhee | April 2, 2008

Above the Peregrine

I spent the day birding with Bob Quaccia and Dorsey Burger, both Ashland residents with extensive experience birding this area.  Bob does the Christmas Bird Count for Lower Table Rock and that was our destination.  Here’s what the view from on top the mesa looks like:


That’s Mt.McLoughlin, aan active volcano here in the Cascade Mountains, east of Medford.  The viewe is fromthe top of Lower Table Rock and beyond those bushes, a steep drop.  It’s a steep climb of about about eight hundred feet from the Rogue River valley floor to the top of the basalt-topped mesa.  The basalt’s the result of a lava flow from the east, those volcanic Cascades, about ten million years ago.  Since then the Rogue eroded much of the land around, leaving the hard-crust basalt and its underlying layers as twin mesas north of the river.  Here’s the view looking down at the Rogue (clikc onpic for full-screen view):


There were wildflowers galore: hound’s tongue, lomatium, my familiar friend(now) Henderson’s fawn lily, ceanothus almost ready to blossom, grass widow, shooting star, blue-eyed marys.  The forest had some madrone, ponderosa and Douglas fir, but was mostly Oregon white oak.  The understory contsained numerous manzanita and mountain mahogany.  And the best plant of all:


A morel.  And tempted though he was Dorsey left this tasty morsel right where it was growing next to the trail.  May its spore multiply and inherit the soil.  We also got to see a species of meadow foam  (dwarf woolly mneadofoam to be exact) that grows only on that mesa top, thus it’s now owned by Nature Conservancy, hurrah!

We saw a jackrabbit, elk hoof prints and a couple western fence lizards in the warm spring sun.

 Did I mention there were some birds?  We were on the mesa ABOVE the Peregrine’s perch in a tall fir growing out of the talus at the base of the slope.  It was my first Peregrine ever in Oregon, state lifer #197.  The Pipits were in a fluttering cloud atop the mesa where the short grass grows amidst vernal pools.  It was great to see some Lark Sparrows in bright spring plouamge scurrying about the short grass that came up to their shoulders.  Here’s the bird list:

Location:     Lower Table Rock
Observation date:     4/2/08
Notes:     Birded with Bob Quaccia and Dorsey Burger.  Numerous wildflowers in bloom including hound’s tongue, grass widow, Henderson’s fawn lily and gold fields.
Number of species:     36

Canada Goose     10
Turkey Vulture     20
Osprey     3
Northern Harrier     1
Cooper’s Hawk     1
Red-shouldered Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     2
Peregrine Falcon     1
Mourning Dove     1
Acorn Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Steller’s Jay     1
Western Scrub-Jay     2
Common Raven     11
Tree Swallow     150
Violet-green Swallow     10
Cliff Swallow     3
Oak Titmouse     5
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Rock Wren     1
Bewick’s Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     7
Western Bluebird     2
Hermit Thrush     1
American Robin     2
American Pipit     30
Yellow-rumped Warbler     8
Black-throated Gray Warbler     1
Spotted Towhee     2
Lark Sparrow     4
Western Meadowlark     2
Brewer’s Blackbird     4
Purple Finch     4
Lesser Goldfinch     12

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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