Posted by: atowhee | May 4, 2016


Four friends from Ashland and I spent a good morning birding around Howard Prairie in the southern Cascades today. We ignored the rain when it came. By now most of the migrants are back…still awaiting most of the flycatchers.  Interestingly I saw two unexpected birds up here at 4500′.  One was a Western Kingbird, a species that does not nest up here.  The other a Lewis’s Woodpecker, miles from the nearest oak tree.  Both must have been on passage.LEWOThe Lewis’s landed briefly in a large dead tree that has been a busy avian tenement for years. It’s a tiny hotspot well known to local birders just north of Dead Indian Memorial Road. This year it seems to be nesting site for Mountain Bluebirds, Starlings and Tree Swallow…at least.  Here is the Mountain Bluebird male that is apparently nesting in this tree.BLUE-MAL MBLUE

Some of the returned migrants we encountered today (besides all the local swallow nesters): Vesper and Chipping Sparrow, Western Tanager and Kingbird, Sandhill Cranes, Wilson’s Snipe, Cassin’s Vireo, Hermit Warbler (no MacGillivray’s that we found) and Green-tailed Towhee, like this one along Keno Access Road in a patch of re-generating conifer forest interspersed with dense brush.GTT PEEKS GTT PEEKS2 GTT--DEJUAmong the birds were heard singing where Cassin’s, Hermit, Vesper (beautiful and delicate song) and the buzz of the Chipping.chip2 Chipping Sparrow above, Tree Swallow below: TRSW IN AIR (1280x960) vesp clear

Ceanothus prostrata, I learned this plant’s name from one of my fellow birders who’s studied plants.  This company ground-hugger is less than four inches high with tiny dark leaves and flat clusters of tinier florets.  It was open ground just off Howard Prairie Dam Road.  It is a natural ground cover also found in the Sierra.CEANOTHUS PROSTRATATrillium in rain:trill-dThere was a time when bees were as ho-hum as their buzzing.  Now their endangered plight makes bee-sighting a happy moment:BEE (1280x960)  BEE2 (1280x960) BEE3 (1280x960)This assiduous little guy was half the size of the previous bumble-bee.BEE ROSE (1280x960)

Howard Prairie Lake, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 4, 2016 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM
Comments:     two unexpected species: Kingbird and Lewis’s Woodpecker
16 speciesCanada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)  3
Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)  1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)  X
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  X
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  1
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  15
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  4
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X

Keno Access Road: Blue Heron, Canada Goose, Mallard, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk

Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
Cassin’s Vireo (Vireo cassinii)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  2
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  X
Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis)  X
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  30
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  X
Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)  1
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)  X

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