Posted by: atowhee | April 5, 2008

Friday: kites in flight, tree ducks and more

She’s in front, he’s behind.  Looking good, I’d say.  Of course, when the ducklings arrive, he’ll be long gone and then she’s just another single mom with a passle of young’uns.  Handsome devil, ain’t he?

Wood Ducks in trees. Right over Ashland Creek.  Bluebirds were in the air.  A Fox Sparrow was vin our backyard for the first time in weeks, probably a migrant.  Chickadees of all three local species are still at our suet feeders.  Today I captured an undaunted Chesnut-backed image from close range.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee at lunch

Jim Harper is a long-time field biologist whose interest is in nesting raptors of this area.  He’s done considerable work with BLM over the decades and was interested by some recent observations I reported on White-tailed Kites at Emigrant Lake.  I took him to the area where I’d seen them copulating a few days back.  Today there were TWO pair of Kites south of the lake.  The most I’ve ever seen in that area.  One time we heard their high-pitched whistle call.

There was some terrorial behavior but no obvious nest-bulding.  There is continuing record of annual nest-building by Kites at any site in this area.  A 1975 Fish and Wildlife Service Pub on birds of this county doesn’t list the White-tailed Kite.  Now they’re one of us recent immigrants from California. 

Location:     Emigrant Lake
Observation date:     4/4/08
Notes:     Birding with Jim Harper, our main goal to find nesting Kites or RS Hawks.  Saw none of the latter but did see two pairs of Kites, both south of Emigrant Lake.  Overcast, moderate wind.
Number of species:     28

Canada Goose     8
Wood Duck     1
Mallard     2
Bufflehead     2
Common Merganser     2
Double-crested Cormorant     4
Great Blue Heron     2
Turkey Vulture     20
Osprey     2
White-tailed Kite     4
Ring-billed Gull     2
Acorn Woodpecker     1
Western Scrub-Jay     6
American Crow     25
Common Raven     3
Tree Swallow     8
Black-capped Chickadee     2
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Western Bluebird     4
American Robin     16
European Starling     7
White-crowned Sparrow     1
Golden-crowned Sparrow     4
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     1
Red-winged Blackbird     14
Brewer’s Blackbird     6
Purple Finch     1
House Sparrow     5

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