Posted by: atowhee | April 27, 2014

A DAY IN THE CASCADES

I am between out-of-town trips right now so I decided to take a quick look at the birds now present in the Cascades. This is a season of change with much coming and going of bird species. Winter birds are starting to depart and more spring migrants arrive daily. The to-ing and fro-ing was evident yesterday. Most of the wintering ducks: not to be seen. Varied Thrush more vaporous than ever. Golden-crowned Sparrows starting to sing prior to their departure northward. About half of the spring arrivals seem to be back in town for the breeding competition that is beginning. Black-headed Grosbeaks sing in my garden now. Resident birds like Great Horned Owls (having nestlings already) and Western Meadowlark are further along than the new arrivals.WEME SING (1280x960)

WEME SINGS2 (1280x960) This male turned an ordinary utility pole into a stage worthy of an operatic contralto. The meadowlark’s fluting melody may be the #1 reason why so many states (including Oregon) pick this as their “state bird.”

While we speak of “lark” let me add that I was very glad to see a number of returning Lark Sparrows. A few over-winter but most are just now returning to our grasslands. Neither the Meadowlark (a blackbird in disguise) nor the Lark Sparrow are true larks (like the Horned Lark or Calandra Lark). Yesterday Lark Sparrows were feeding in the grass along Dead Indian Memorial at about 3000′.lasp facing

lasp-excel

This is the season to expand your sparrow list for the year around here. I had five family members in my garden including Spotted Towhee and Junco. Then added several more along my birding route. The list for the day included Vesper, Song, White-crowned, Golden-crowned, Fox, Lark, Savannah, Chipping. The Lark and Vesper were my first of the year. Ten sparrow family members and I spent no time trying to chase down a Lincoln’s or California Towhee, both of which are present in the right places. cago-blbrdNote behind the Canada Geese, a Mountain Bluebird on the rock. These geese are in vernal pools that dot the mostly dry lake bed of what would be Howard Prairie Lake’s bed in a normal year.
Double-crested Cormorants on nest tree, Hyatt Lake.
DCC NEST-A (1280x960)
Little Hyatt Lake Dipper.
DCC NEST-B (1280x960)

DCC NEST-C (1280x960)

DIPP UP (1280x960)

DIPP WINGS (1280x960)

DIPP WITHG FD

dippr swm

dippr with food

dpr on rk

ERD GRB -HP1 (1280x960)
Eared Grebe in breeding plumage.
ERD GRB SIDE (1280x960)

GBH (1280x960)
Here’s the brief snowfall at Little Hyatt Lake. As soon as the sow stopped the Sora began calling from the cattails. Unseen, of course.
LAKE SNO (1280x960)

MTN BLUE-HP (1280x960)
Mountain Bluebird, Howard Prairie.
MTN-BLU FRNT (1280x960)

OSPAIR (1280x960)

RTH IN OAK (1280x960)
Red-tails.
RTH PAIRD (1280x960)

RWB FLY (1280x960)
The Red-winged Blackbird female doesn’t get the photo attention of her red-flag waving male companion but she is a doughty creature and a credit to her race.
RWB FML (1280x960)

YR ON ROK (1280x960) The only “shore” bird I found at Howard Prairie, the ubiquitous Yellow-rump.
DIPP WINGS (1280x960)
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE RELEVANT CHECKLISTS FROM THIS DAY AFIELD. There were three species new for me for this year: Vesper and Lark Sparrow and Sora. It is not likely the Sora spent the winter there at 4800′ so it may be a recent arrival in the marsh. The Sora is an uncommon bird anywhere in Jackson County. Let’s hope this one finds a mate.

BLOG BIRD FEST BOILERPLATE
HERE IN ASHLAND, OREGON, THE KLAMATH BIRD OBSERVATORY IS SPONSORING OUR FIRST-EVER MOUNTAIN BIRD FESTIVAL. IT IS MAY 30-JUNE 1. WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD, WESTERN SCREECH-OWL, SANDHILL CRANES ON NESTING GROUNDS, BOTH EAGLES, NESTING OSPREY, ACORN & LEWIS’S WOODPECKERS, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD AND CHICKADEE, HERMIT AND MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER, CASSIN’S FINCH AND VIREO, BAND-TAILED PIGEON, BLACK TERN, RED-BREASTED AND WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKERS, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, LAZULI BUNTING, AMERICAN DIPPER, WRENTIT, TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE–SOME OF THE BIRDS WE EXPECT TO SEE. WITH A LITTLE BIRDING MOJO WE CAN ADD GREAT GRAY OWL, SOOTY GROUSE, MOUNTAIN QUAIL, NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL, SWAINSON’S HAWK, EVENING GROSBEAK AND NORTHERN GOSHAWK.


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