Posted by: atowhee | May 24, 2010

Townsends In Town

A cold-induced migrant fall-out has been hitting Ashland for the past few days.  Today there was a voracious flock of gleaners feeding in the oaks along Pioneer Path through Lithia Park.  The most numerous bird was Townsend’s Warbler, a transient migrant that passes through this area every spring and fall.  I tried for a picture of one of the boldly marked males, but failed.

John Kirk Townsend was a young ornithologist when he walked west with his mentor, Thomas Nuttall, in the 1830s.  Townsend spent much of his time as doctor in Oregon Territory and collected numerous new species while here.  Nuttall went down into California and collected there.  The namesake warbler was new to science when Townsend discovered it in Oregon.  Townsend went onto further bird study after he returned to Philadelphia.  It killed him as he inhaled too much arsenic powder, the best known bird skin preservative of that time.  Another Philadelpphian ornithologist was represented in the gleaner flock this morning, John Cassin:

These last two warblers are Yellow-rumped above, Yellow below.

DUCKLINGS

Down on the upper Duck Pond, there are at least three small Wood Ducklings. They began as thimble-sized and have now grown to half-cup-sized.  They have far to go to get to be even pint-sized.

Location:     Lithia Park
Observation date:     5/24/10
Number of species:     21

Wood Duck     6
Mallard     8
Vaux’s Swift     2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     1
Cassin’s Vireo     2
Steller’s Jay     2
Western Scrub-Jay     1
American Crow     3
Tree Swallow     4
Black-capped Chickadee     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
American Robin     1
European Starling     6
Yellow Warbler     1
Yellow-rumped Warbler     10
Townsend’s Warbler     12
Wilson’s Warbler     4
Western Tanager     3
Spotted Towhee     3
Black-headed Grosbeak     4
Brewer’s Blackbird     6


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