Posted by: atowhee | September 25, 2014


Here is southern Oregon there are different phases of migration. Though none is distinct from the others, there are discernible shifts as the summer and fall progress. The first sign of migration is the arrival of a few shorebirds from the Arctic, and the concomitant disappearance of some breeding birds. Among those birds that seem to quickly go from “everyday” to “gone” are the Bullock’s Oriole and the Western Kingbird. When present both are usually easy enough to find. Then they are simply not often seen. EBird tells us that oriole and kingbird are scarce in the county by September. So this phase begins in July and slides over into August.
Then is late August another phase become evident: larger groups of shorebirds, some of the earlier dabbling duck arrivals (Wigeon, Shoveler, teal). Kettles of Turkey Vultures start to form at the base of the Siskiyou Pass. Now small flocks of migrating songbirds are encounters: Yellow, Black-throated Gray and Townsend Warblers, maybe a flycatcher or two, a vireo perhaps. That’s the phase we’re in now. Soon most insect eaters will have gone and only raptors and waterfowl will be the obvious migrants left in the air…plus those hardy Tree swallows who seem to challenge the change of seasons both in fall and then in late winter.
The last two days Ashland Pond has great to watch Phase 2.
In the rain last evening there were 200 Violet-green Swallows swirling about. Many would land in the dead trees at the west end of the pond, and then suddenly lift off again, despite wet feathers.
This morning the dog and I returned. Now some remnant or new flock of Violet-greens was flycatching far up over the pond and nearby fields. In the bright sunlight I could see their prey: hordes of half-inch pale moths with gray, translucent wings. Everywhere. Other species dining on moth:yewa clr1 (1280x960) Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo, loose groups of Cedar Waxwings. Other migrants were Golden-crowned Sparrows and a Lincoln’s. I cannot know if these Golden-crowns are those that I’ll be seeing in the same berry thicket in February or whether they are bound further south. Last week I’d seen a few Golden-crowns in San Francisco. I have yet to encounter my first Fox Sparrow of the fall in Ashland.
The sun was evidently greeted by some birds with pleasure.
Both a Bewick’s Wren and Western Meadowlark were singing. Last evening there had been no bird sound in the rain.

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Sep 24, 2014 4:50 PM – 5:35 PM. 5 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 5
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 3
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 200
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 2

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Sep 25, 2014 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM. 22 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 3
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 2
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2
Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi) 1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 2
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) 1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 1
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 50
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 4
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 15
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 30
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) 5
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 3
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) 10
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 4

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