Posted by: atowhee | May 15, 2016


Nora the dog and I checked out the action at deer Creek County Park here in Yamhill County.  It was mid-day and the rain had abated for the time being.  It was calm and about 60 degrees under a clouded sky.  I saw or heard several birds for the first time this year in Yamhill County.  Two flycatchers: a Wood-Pewee in his accustomed spot at the top of a dead tree, two skulking Pac-slopes playing tag along the creek bank under a dense canopy of over-hanging limbs and leaves.  Warblers: a Common Yellowthroat and a Yellow Warbler.  Making a warning sound like a drop of water falling into a metal barrel: Swainson’s Thrushes.  And my first little cluster of Cedar Waxwings, initially in treetops then whirling off chaotically toward the east.cewa x4 (1280x960)This Chipping Sparrow was along the roadside and I took the shots through the windshield so I wouldn’t spook the bird. CHSP1 (2) (1280x960) CHSP2 (1280x960) CHSP3 (1280x960)This Pacific-slope Flycatcher was deep in the creekside thicket and was focused on his enemy, another PS Flycatcher just upstream.PAC-SLPE (1280x960)This Yellowthroat at Deer Creek park came out to scold us. CY SCOLDS CY SCOLDS2 CY UPPThe park is a pair of habitats: creekside riparian and wet meadow where these lupine grow.  The forest is dominated by ash trees.  The plant growth is verdant and lush, every inch of ground covered by some green being.  Blooming thimbleberries are as tall a man.  Cow parsnips as tall as basketball player support flower clusters a foot in diameter. LUPINEAbove is an uncommon species of lupine.  Here’s what the park’s webpage says about it: ” In 1993 Biology professor Kareen Sturgeon and her botany students at Linfield College discovered a small colony of a rare, dry-prairie species Lupinus sulphureus kincaidii (Kincaid’s lupine) in the upland portion of the prairie. Kincaid’s lupine is a relict species from the ice age endemic to the Willamette Valley that serves as the host plant for the rare Fender’s blue butterfly. In the developed area of the park, the ash grove was allowed to go unmowed and has since awed park visitors with a display of camas (a staple food for native peoples) and other wildflowers. A group of community members formed Friends of Deer Creek Park, which continues to work toward the integration of recreation, ecological restoration, and education objectives in the park.”

This plant’s flowers can range from blue to white as the ones above.

P2710241 (1280x960)Below: Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus): P2710242 (1280x960) A rose overhanging the creek and papering the cutbank with petals of pink. ROSE PETALS

There was a six-pack of empty Busch Light beer cans littering the park’s parking lot.  Now that the owners of Budweiser are going to rebrand their leading brand,  “America” they’ve creatively named it, maybe they could ramp up their marketing campaign by going to biodegradable containers.  I often find Bud and Busch cans in birding spots.  Also the high caffeine drinks as well.  It seems the requisite IQ for drinking that swill doesn’t encompass an understanding of “litter.”  Nature is seen as just a big trash can, sort of the way the fossil fuel industry sees it.  As an involuntarily well-versed expert on America’s roadside trash I can honestly say I have never found a carelessly thrown container for Anchor Steam, Full Sail Ale or Guinness.  I think there’s a PhD thesis in the brands favored by those folks who like trashing the outdoors.

Deer Creek County Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 15, 2016 11:30 AM – 12:10 PM.  13 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  3
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)  1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis)  2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  2
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  8
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  1
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  4
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X

Grauer Road, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 15, 2016 12:20 PM – 12:30 PM

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1–FOY for county

Muddy Valley Road, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 15, 2016 12:30 PM – 12:45 PM.  12 species
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  3
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)  1–county lifer
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  1
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  1

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