Posted by: atowhee | February 15, 2010

Valentine’s Day Serenade

It was a rainy day at Agate Lake but the Western Meadowlarks were in a tuneful mood nonetheless. Even as it rained we could hear Meadowlarks fluting their spring territorial melody in every patch of grass.  Many perched as high as possible for maximum reach for their message of possession.  Another herald of the mating season that’s approaching.

This Meadowlark was watching us and must’ve thought he’d become invisible.  The songs are a clear, set of slurred, sweet notes.  It was the song that J.J. Audubon first recognized as unique when he was crossing the Great Plains in the 1840s.  He immediately recognized this western bird as a different species than the one in the eastern U.S.  The songs were clearly different.  It is a testament to Audubon’s keen musicality and hearing.  Numerous other naturalists had crossed the plains anbd thus crossed paths with the Western Meadowlark: Lewis & Clark, Nuttall and Townsend, Thomas Say.  None had the auditory acuity to recognize the new species’ song.  The two meadowlarks look very much alike, even at close range or when holding specimens.

Two Western Bluebirds ignoring a danger sign.

Speaking of Lewi & Clark.  Here’s Lewis’s only namesake bird:

There were two adult Bald Eagles on treetops along the western shore of the lake.  Very few ducks, no gulls and no cormorants.  No sign of early spring arrivals.  Oddest sighting: a flock of a dozen Blue Herons flying together eastward toward the Cascades.  They were at a high elevation.

Location:     Agate Lake
Observation date:     2/14/10
Number of species:     28

Canada Goose     6
Wood Duck     2
American Wigeon     40
Northern Shoveler     2
Common Merganser     12
Ruddy Duck     8
Ring-necked Pheasant     2
Great Blue Heron     15
Bald Eagle     2
Red-tailed Hawk     2
American Kestrel     1
Killdeer     5
Mourning Dove     6
Belted Kingfisher     1
Lewis’s Woodpecker     3
Acorn Woodpecker     6
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     2
Common Raven     6
Western Bluebird     40
American Robin     2
European Starling     150
Golden-crowned Sparrow     30
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     65
Red-winged Blackbird     16
Western Meadowlark     40
Brewer’s Blackbird     60
Brown-headed Cowbird     1
Lesser Goldfinch     15


  1. Sounds like a great day despite the rain!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: