Posted by: atowhee | May 14, 2008

Great Bird Days

“Altogether it was a great bird day and I had a feast of tender bird music only to be heard at this early season.”    —CONCORD RIVER, by William Brewster

“A remarkable bird of the Corvus species.  About the size of a large pigeon, a beautiful thing.”  –Captain Merriwether Lewis on the Black-billed Magpie

The Evening Grosbeaks have taken their flashy plumage and moved on, as is their wont.  I’ve not seen one in our garden for two days. The smaller Black-headed Grosbeaks are, no doubt, relieved to have lost the bigger competitiors.

This is one of the last pics I got of the Evenings while they were around.  That is a female Black-headed in the left-hand corner with the dark stripes on her face.

Along the Link River, Klamath Falls, we saw this Bullock’s Oriole nest:









We also noted a few Black-billed Magpies, just as handsome today as when Lt. Lewis and Lt. Clark first encountered them on their historic expedition up the Missouri River.

Down by the Bear Creek Greenway in Ashland recently I watched this male Lesser Goldfinch doing his daily maintenance.  We have roofs and furnaces and windows.  He’s got feathers.

Not far way, along the edge of the nearly-dry Ashland Pond, there was this drab little flycatcher.  Perch, flutter, pounce, perch, flutter.  He seemd determined to remain un-snappable even though he was only about eye-level in fairly bare shrubs.  Then he slowed down, perhaps having swallowed a large crane fly.  Here are my three best pictures of him:



Longish tail, medium-sized beak.






No eye ring!




Finally, he faces us.  Note the chest pattern.  Western Wood-peewee.  And just that morning one had made several monotonous calls just uphill from our garden.



Any Ashland visitors should note the Dippers are nesting under the bridges just off Ashland town plaza.  The male seems to prefer singing from inside the culvert beneath Main Street, gives him a megaphone for added volume.  Last evening we spotted him there coming up from the creek bottom with a caddis fly larva which he proceeded to bash against the rock until the juicy bits were freed from their crusty casing.

Not a new picture, but always worth another look:

And here’s the Dipper’s home as it looks this spring with heavy run-off from the spring snowmelt.  Ashland Creek:

Picture taken from Pioneer Street Bridge, upstream from the Lithia Park tennis courts.

Feast of bird music?  The grosbeaks, orioles, finches and today a Cassin’s Vireo in Lithia Park are all in song.  Cassin?  Read on.

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