Posted by: atowhee | April 21, 2012


On the way down the trail we found this Violet-green Swallow resting on a bare branch in full sun.  We saw them diving and swerving through the air all morning.  Likely his belly was bug-filled and he needed a little digestive break; antacids too for those bitter little gnats.

These photos hint at the glorious silky irridescence of the living bird in bright light.  Note the white rump patch that is broken by a dark line in the middle.  And more white on the V-G’s face than on a Tree Swallow.

CHICKADEES, WITH CHICKS So we have the Black-capped Chickadees’ nest hole in an oak next to the trail. We have parent chickadee arriving swiftly. Then we have said chickadee disappearing into the nest. The nestlings are still so small they can’t poke their heads ouf of the hole and beg as they will in a few days. Yes, both parents were ferrying insects and it rarely took them than a few seconds to find prey after the left the nest hole. All that food, no wonder the young grow so quickly. Chickadees fledge and begin to fly about 18 days after hatching. Incubation the female takes two weeks or more and the male supplies her meals, delivered to the door or a nearby branch if she’s out for some air. Chickadees much occupy a nest hole drilled earlier by small woodpecker (say, Downy) or nuthatch (White-breasted at Table Rock).

Lower Table Rock, Jackson, US-OR Apr 22, 2012 7:50 AM. Comments:     Perfect weather, clear and warm.   Hike for BLM and Nature Conservancy. 29 species.    Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1  FLY OVER. Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  25. Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2. American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2 .Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  2. Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  6. Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  2. Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1, heard but never seen. Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  8. Common Raven (Corvus corax)  2. Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  25 Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  30 Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2  CARRYING FOOD TO NESTLINGS INSIDE NEST HOLE BY THE TRAIL. Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus)  4. White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1    HEARD BUT NOT SEEN. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  3 Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  6     NEAR PARKING LOT. Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata) 3 ALL IN TREES ATOP THE MESA. Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  35. Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2. California Towhee (Melozone crissalis)  4, foiund only in the brush at base of the mesa. Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  3     HEARD NOT SEEN, IN THE OAKS. Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)  1 ON THE MESA. White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  1 Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  20. Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  5     SINGING. Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)  15     MALES SINGING CONTINUOUSLY, up where the evergreens begin. Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  4.  MASTER SINGER:  Here he is, ther little two-inch mastro who–along with hundreds of his kith and kin–is now singing up a marshy opera every night, all over Southern Oregon.  This one was int he wet grass on top of thr mesa, but there are dozens of them singing outside our house every night from near the Lithia Park duck pond.  His formal name is Hyla regilla.  He can cleverly change his body color to match the background…green for grass, duller brown for forest floor or tree bark.


Here we have Golden-crowned Sparrows among the blue. And bluepeyed Mary were in bloom beneath the oaks: Other flowers in bloom: plenty of lomatium, goldfields and other tiny flowers on the mesa including some delicate white ones, hound’s tongue, larkspur, fritillaria (red), fawn lily, buttercups, bleeding hearts, shooting stars (don’t you love wildflower names?) tiny yellow monekyflowers on a rock face and the creamy white ceanothus blossoms were abundant. We have four similar species of ceanothus in southwest Oregon and I will not pretend to guess which these were, or if there was mixture. The mountain mahogany was in leaf but not in bloom.

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