Posted by: atowhee | January 5, 2010

Ashland counts…birds

I am told it’s been sixty-eight years since the last Ashland Christmas Bird Count.  It was discontinued during World War II and then stayed that way. *  Nearby Medford, a larger city, has had a continuous count for decades.

But some of us who support that count wholeheartedly thought Ashland, with its higher elevation and access to more montane forest, should have its own.  This year’s effort was really scouting to see what the circle should include.  And we did moderately well on the montane species: Red Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks, Cassin’s Finches, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Townsend’s Solitaire.  Missing were Gray Jay, Goshawk, Mtn. Quail, both local grouse, Mtn. Bluebird,  GG Owl.  But we had no owling teams this time around. 

With two dozen counters we tallied 104 species.  Highlights included: Jim Harleman’s team with its Prairie Falcon at Emigrant Lake; Frank Lospalluto and his lone Hutton’s Vireo; Larry Wright with our only Lewis’s Woodpecker in the hills north of I-5; Jeff Tufts and Dorsey Burger gave us a fine sparrow trifecta: Harris’s. Lincoln’s and White-throated, all within the city limits.

The dawn promised a fine day.

And for those of us in the mountains, it ended nicely with a rainbow.

Next year we intend to get registered and become an official CBC in the eyes of National Audubon.

* My source for this is Alan Contreras, author of NORTHWEST BIRDS IN WINTER and co-author of BIRDS OF OREGON.  He has actually seen the Ashland CBC records from 1940 and 1941.  He came down from Eugene to help us find the birds.  More on that in my next post.

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