Posted by: atowhee | December 3, 2014

BATHING IN BEAR CREEK

SISBATH BESTA clean siskin is a happy siskin…that’s what my granny always said.  On a not-very-cold morning these were bathing siskins.  Can you see the faint smile? sisk-bath1 (1280x960) SISK-BATH2 (1280x541) SISK-BATH4 (1280x960)  SISKI-BATH3 (1280x480)Yesterday east of Medford and today along Bear Creek next to Ashland Pond there were flocks of siskins feeding on the alder catkins.  Most deciduous trees by now have lost all their seeds but the alder gets ready for spring in the preceding autumn so these food sources will dangle all winter…just like these feeding siskins.

SISK-DANGLERS

Last winter siskins were uncommon in the Bear Creek Valley.  This winter promises to be more normal, meaning there may be plenty of siskins for every nyger seed feeder in Ashland. One flock of feeding siskins today was joined by a single cousin from another branch on the Finch Family tree, a brightly colored Lesser Goldfinch.

AN EARLY DECEMBER GALLERY

Yesterday in the November fog:ac-pole3ac-pole1 (1280x960) Kest-fogg (1280x960)You can almost see the field marks of a Kestrel. wb1 (1280x960) wb5 (1280x960)

In today’s perfect overcast lighting:brcr clear1Busy Brown Creeper at Ashland Pond.  This species is only a winter visitor there.  I have never seen one around in spring or summer.  This one was enjoying the lichen-covered oak trunks and limbs as well as the cottonwoods. brcr hangs BRCR LEENZ brcr-clr2 brcr-side up flkr prfct (1280x960)This female Flicker is not only beautiful, she’s a regular suet-hog in our garden.  The Great Blue Heron was static and you had to look carefully to not mistake it for a sun-bleached piece of wood.  But later one otter surfaced near where this heron was standing.  That evoked a loud, angry “kwaaaack” and much wing slapping as the heron retreated to the far end of the pond. GBH ONSHOR

OTT SWMS (1280x960) (1280x960)  P2250981 (1280x960) (1280x960)

OTT-PAIR (1280x960) (2)The otters have driven off most of the water birds.  There were a trio of skittish Hooded Mergansers this morning and to Mallards hugging the shore.  Even the Pied-billed Grebes were uncustomarily wary.  No coots, no other ducks,, no cormorant.  Below: Black Phoebe hunting from a willow branch.

P2250999 (1280x960) (2) STELLSteller’s jays the the loudest and–until the Juncos arrive in fall or Band-tails in spring– most numerous bird in our garden.  Yet I take them for granted and rarely take a photo.  But even so I daily admire that bold black and blue checking along their wings and those dashing pale blue eyebrows that any mascara manufacturer would love to market to birds everywhere. STELL2

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Dec 3, 2014 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM. 28 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  30     overhead
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2     ovedrhead
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  3
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  2
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  4
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  8
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  25
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  15
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  3
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  35
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  3
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X


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