Posted by: atowhee | May 21, 2012


The May morning concerts now are dominated by the strong voice of multiple Black-headed Grosbeaks.  Background beat comes from the chattering of the Bullock’s Orioles.  Occasionally there’s the lilt of a Song Sparrow’s song, or the whispery whistle of the Yellow Warbler high in a cottonwood.  What there isn’t: silence. This was one of several male orioles perched high in cottonwoods, in plain sight. Soon when nests are full of eggs, the orioles become more secretive and harder to find. Same with the grosbeaks. Night sounds come from hundreds of treefrogs, including two who are now laying eggs in our garden fountain. And the neighborhood Screech-owls:

Bear Creek Greenway along Bear Creek–Ashland, Jackson, US-OR May 20, 2012 9:20 AM. 21 species.  Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  3 Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1 Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)  2 Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3 Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1 Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)  1 Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  4 American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  2 Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  4 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  1 American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  8. Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1. Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  3. Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1. Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  9. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  14. Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  2. Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)  8. Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  6. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  4.

She throws beauty around as if it grew on trees, which–come to think of it–it sometimes does.  like this native chokecherry.  This dusky butterfly with the bright highlights has been cruising our garden.Two varieties of salsify, one of our showier weeds. Sush are the golden days of spring, when the Oregon poppies tumble down the side of a path and blind even the sun.
Edna St. Vincent Millay once wrote of spring, “It is not enough that yearly, down this hill, April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”
Surely it is NOT ENOUGH, but in mid-February, idiotic April is very much a future glory to be anticipated. Nature does promise a rose garden, but like all real things it cannot and does not last. As Edna herself so clearly knew, the poppies are glorious because they are alive and thus fleeting.

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