Posted by: atowhee | April 30, 2010

Roadside Birds

I made another drive from Ashland down I-5, then west to Point Reyes today.  Fog on Siskiyou Summit, then clear cruising under bright sun.  My first stop was Randolph Collier Rest Stop on Klamath River north of Yreka.  Great birding here in warm months.  Today this guy was watching the parking area:

Even a king has to look over his shoulder just to be safe.

This was the view from the slope below Castle Crags Park south of Dunsmuir.  First time I’d stopped to check out the birds.  Robin, Hermit Thrush, Townsend’s Solitaire making it a thrushy spot.  Also, Black-headed Grosbeak and singing Cassin’s Vireo.  Cassin and Townsend were contemporaries in Philadelphia back before the Civil War. Two excellent naturalists.  The park’s sign promise Dipper in a stream along the summit trail.

At the Willows Rest Stop I looked up to see just another Red-tail…no, it was this fellow.  First of five Swainson’s Hawks I saw on this drive.  The other four were along I-505 west of Dunnigan in Yolo County.  Swainson was a British ornithologist in the early 19th Century, friend to Audubon and others working in America so he earned his namesake birds here. For more on those early ornithologist, click here.

Also at the Willows sounthbound rest stop: this clean-up crew.  There were at least two pairs of YB Magpies there and I believe they are nesting in the eucalyptus grove at the south end of the rest stop.

Here’s the view looking westward from the grove where the magpies nest:

For those collecting obscure geographical trivia: Willows is in Glenn County.  The view is of the Coast Range and ths portion is within the Mendocino National Forest.  The peaks reach over 5000 elevation.

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