Posted by: atowhee | November 20, 2013


There have been crowds of Robins in the forests and towns around here lately. Southern Oregon may now have more Robins than deer. Yu hear them whinny in the morning for tree roosts. Some even sing if the sun deigns to show through the rain clouds. When a storm is about to move in swarms of Robins flurry overhead, looking for a dry place to hide.
Earlier this week I was birding in a wooded area and a single Robin was there. In fact, it was mid-day and not another bird appeared to be anywhere near this Robin’s perch. And I heard him singing softly, apparently to himself. Happy to see the sun? Practicing for next spring? Just unable to stop himself from singing? It was not the forceful sequence of four slurred doublets you hear all over in spring. This was a more complex, jazzy tune in a major key and a minor voice.


Tonight I saw an elderly gentleman sniffing tree trunks. And he was lovingly stroking the bark and whispering sweet phrases to the trees. These were large ponderosas who’ve been around for decades. They’ve seen it all.
It made me want to sniff a few trees myself. This season the madrone and oak and Douglas-fir have no discernible smell to this human’s nose. There’s a faint pungent chemical smell to the ponderosa. Not even the incense cedar had any incensual scent this time of year.
But then I got a full olfactory overload from a handful of leaves on the ground. Mostly oak. Wet, moldy, loamy scent of the formerly living becoming soil once again. It was the smell of nature composting her own to make more dirt.

TREE HERONSbl treehernLate yesterday it was roosting time at Emigrant Lake and I think this Great Blue Heron was about to settle into this oak.

GRT TREEGRET A Great Treegret. This bird was passing over Ashland Pond, paused a few moments in the top of this cottonwood, found the pond too uninviting, perhaps the egret was prejudiced against sharing a pond with a mere Green Heron? Anyway, this bird paused, looked around, then flew on down Near Creek toward the Rogue River.


  1. Lovely description of the jazzy robin song. The ponderosas give off a definite vanilla aroma. It is only at some time in the year. Maybe spring with the sap is running, but I am not sure. m a

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