Posted by: atowhee | September 1, 2012


In spring we celebrate Mother’s Day. This time of year we have Mudders Day, to celebrate those birds that like muddy shorelines or simply muddy water. At the south end of Emigrant lake this morning there were numerous birds mucking about in the muck. There was also a flock of birders out on the Klamath Bird Observatory field trip. Best bird: my first Bufflehead of the season. The group saw the Solitary Sandpiper which I missed from the opposite of the shallow cove at the end of Rosebud Lane.
Greater Yellowlegs.
Spotted Sandpiper.
The female Bufflehead is in foreground with Mallards beyond. There are usually a few Bufflehead that spend the winter at Emigrant Lake but most do not arrive this early in the season. The Bufflehead is a cavity nester, often using the nest holes first excavated by Northern Flickers. Thus the Bufflehead is dependent on good Flicker habitat where dead spars are left standing near fresh water.
There were two Flickers in the pioneer cemetery this morning, surrounded by Cedar Waxwings, the liveliest things in the graveyard.
OSPREY watching man and dog on shoreline below its perch.
Great Egret, a bird that winter in Jackson County but does not breed here.
Great Blue Heron stalks away from man and dog.
Two young Violete-green swallows at rest. Mots of the swallows around the lake this morning were Barn. This time of year there is a shifting swallow pouylation that is ever in flux. Trees dominate one day, another species mayeb even later the same day. Swallows always seem to be animate motion but this time of year there is literally no stopping them. They seem to hacve invented fast food, or least picked up the habit of eating on the wing from dragonflies which pre-date them by a few epochs.
Cute, huh? Well, this feller may be the most-hated mammals in Oregon. Lagging in popularity behind politicians, lawyers, bankers and Norwegian rats. Golfers may place him on the enemies list next to Canada Goose. It’s bad enough that he’s CALIFORNIA ground squirrel but he’s considered a scourge by many gardeners, most ranchers and anyone who still uses the word “varmint.” However, the CGS is not unloved. He is prized by grassland hunters from Harrier to Red-tailed Hawk to Golden Eagle, not to mention fellow mammals like badger, coyote and fox. Of course, each summer this large rodent is taken raw by larger gopher snakes as well. There are no real “gophers” in Oregon so that term is often applied to this species…and in eastern Oregon to the Belding’s ground squirrel.

It wasn’t only the ground squirrel who eyed me suspiciously. There was this single Raven at Songer Wayside:

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR. Sep 1, 2012 10:00 AM. 32 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 50
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 40
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 1
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 1
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 1
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 5
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 3
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 3
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 16
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 4
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 6
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) 3
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 50
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 6
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 4
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 2
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 1 on wires next to Hwy 66
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 4
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 3
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 50
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 25
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 30
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 6
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) 12

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