Posted by: atowhee | September 26, 2014


On Pilot Rock Road this morning there was beautiful music. At least two Townsend’s Solitaires were singing. Their melodiuous compelx tunes with slurred notes and multi-note chords are typical of the great singers in their clan from Hermit Thrush to Song Thrush to Nightingale.
The singers were not far apart in the forest which includes western juniper stunted white oaks and ponderosa that don’t go beyond thirty feet high. The elevation was about 4500′.
I cannot guess why they were singing. The rain followed by a crisp morning of 50 degrees? The presence of a modest crop of juniper berries? Junipers are beloved of Solitaires, I know. Maybe just to warn off others…there was a pair, including on singer chasing one another from one juniper top to another.TOSONG1







The thrush family was well represented. There were many Robins feeding on the ground and Hermit Thrush joined the sparrows in the Oreogn grape thickets.

heth away

heth move



The Oregon grape crop was substantial, and there were plenty of snowberries. The juniper crop was modest and there almost no elderberries to be seen. At the higher elevations where the white firs begin to grow the Oregon grapes seemed most productive and the dense thickets they form were full of sparrows and thrushes.
or-grapes alot
THere were two flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons in the trees: BTP

P2160993 (1280x960)

P2170063 (1280x960)

P2170065 (1280x960)
My friend, Alex the plant expert, identified this late blooming bush for me: Rabbit Brush (Ericameria nauseosa, formerly, Chrysothamnus nauseosus). The only only flowers above 4500′ were a few wild chicory.

Pilot Rock Rd., Jackson, US-OR
Sep 26, 2014 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
12 species

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 3
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) 8
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) 1
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) 3
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) 5
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 25
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 4
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 2
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 50

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