Posted by: atowhee | July 21, 2012


Yesterday I was guiding a visiting photographer from San Diego. He was trying out a new camera lens and wanted to shoot (with camera) “some big birds.” We found some big ones, including Oregon’s biggest (in height).
The visitor was staying in Medford so after an early morning start we headed first to Agate Lake where big birds awaited us.
This is an adult Osprey and two juveniles on nest platform east of Agate Lake. A second Osprey nest platform about two hundred yards south of the lake is also occpied this season.

Once again a juvenile Osprey flew off its nest carrying a chunk of fish. Like a human toddler carrying a favorite stuffed toy.

Local official eyes our car as we enter park. This male quail especially wanted to be sure we were not carrying weapons.
This pale Red-tail eyed us from his oak-top perch and wearily flew off after we got too close in his reckoning.
Did you know the Green Heron has a crest it can raise and lower depending on mood? Many birds from Song Sparrow to parrots have head feathers that can be adjusted to fit the wearer’s mood. But I had never before seen such a clear demonstration of cresting by a Green Heron. We followed this juvenile along the shore of Agate Lake for a little while and he gave us many views.
This was another Green Heron at another place, Ashland Pond. This one was caught in middle of a scream, beak open:
We pursued these birds across burning sand and steep mountains…well, actually, we took an easy stroll across the wildflower strewn flats of Howard Prairie…toward the norrh end of the lake. And got close enough for a couple of pictures of the tallest birds in Oregon. They even gave us some bugle calls as we neared their unseen territorial boundary. Behold the stately Sandhill Cranes.

Howard Prairie Lake, Jackson, US-OR. Jul 20, 2012 10:45 AM. 25 species. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 300
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 45
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 16
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 4
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) 4
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 8
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 3
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 4
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 25
California Gull (Larus californicus) 10
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 3
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) 2
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 25
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 4
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 3
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 5
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) 4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 2
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 6

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