Posted by: atowhee | February 12, 2016


Pygmy-Owls.  Often heard, seldom seen.  Ventriloquists.  Deadly hunters.  Smallest owl in Oregon.  Daytime hunter, scourge of Juncos everywhere.  Sometimes shadowy, sometimes skittish, sometimes just not there.  Today our Winter Wings Owl Prowl struck the right note during the right singalong to create an owlishly perfect sonata.  While watching two Dippers beneath the Hwy 87 Bridge at Collier State Park, our birding group was happily stunned to find a Pygmy-Ow just upstream, sitting in perfect winter sunlight.  We on the south shore of Spring Creek, owl on the north, sun behind us.  A video crew with us was thrilled.  Co-leader, Kevin Spencer, and I both agreed we’d never seen a Pygmy-Owl sit so prominently in sunlight for so long.  Several five-minute intervals elapsed.  Even I got priceless photos as we kept moving close and closer and the owl remained comfortable on the other side of a not-very-wide stream, thirty feet maybe.  Enjoy:NPO-FAR (1280x960) NPO--LESS FAR (1280x960)NPO--LESS FAR (1280x960)NPO-NEARER (1280x960)NPO-CLOSER (1280x960)I give this little guy high marks in the contest for Owl of the Year.  Whatta guy.  NPO CLOSE-AWAY (1280x960) NPO CLOSE-FACING (1280x960) NPO LOOKS DOWN (1280x960)Owl prowlers getting big looks at pygmy. NPO WATCHERS (1280x960)


Underneath the bridge was a pair of Dippers, already working on their nest…and using an old Cliff Swallow nest as the foundation for their own nest!  It was very dark under the bridge so the images are not very good:DPPR NESTIN (1280x960)I presume it is the Dippers who’ve opened the large gap in the swallow nest’s outer wall.DIPPAIR DIPP-ROK


In spring Klamath Marsh is a good spot for Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Sora and the elusive Yellow Rail, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat.  In winter it is mostly large birds: Canada Geese already nesting despite winter cold, Rough-legged and Ferruginous Hawks, Red-tails, Ravens galore, Bald Eagles.RLH KMRSH4 (1280x960)There were several Rough-legged Hawks on the frozen marsh. RLH-K-MRSH1 (1280x960) RLH-KMRSH2 (1280x960) RLH-KMRSH3 (1280x960) RLH-KMRSH5 (1280x960) RLH-KMRSH6 (1280x960)Here’s what the scenery was like:kmarsh wideHere is the video crew’s drone scanning the landscape and capturing aerial images…drone is about 18 inches in diameter:DRONE (1280x960)beagClark’s Nutcracker jawing at us while we stood on packed snow, seeking owls at dawn. C-NUT LOUD (1280x960)Red-breasted Nuthatch in perch of control. RBN RULES (1280x960)We heard owls at dawn, Pymgy and Great Horned.  What we saw was the bright beginning of a new day. sunrise1 sunrise2Klamath Marsh NWR, Klamath, Oregon, US
Feb 11, 2016 3:45 PM – 10:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling.  14 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  X
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  X
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)  X
Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)  1
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)  1
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)  3
Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)  2
Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa)  1
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)  3     hunting along marsh causeway
Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)  1
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)  1
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X

Klamath Marsh NWR, Klamath, Oregon, US
Feb 12, 2016 6:00 AM – 9:15 AM.  17 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)  X
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)  1
Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)  1
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  1
Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)  X
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  X
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)  1
Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)  1
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)  X
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  X
Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  2

Collier Memorial SP, Klamath, Oregon, US
Feb 11, 2016 3:15 PM – 3:30 PM.  4 species

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  X
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1

Collier Memorial SP, Klamath, Oregon, US
Feb 12, 2016 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM.  3 species

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  4
Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)  1
American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)  2     building nest under HWY 97 bridge using old Cliff Swallow nest walls


  1. You lucky! But you earned it. All that snow, yuck!

    m a

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