Posted by: atowhee | May 14, 2017

SUNDAY MORNING IN PAGAN PARK

Sunday, May 14

The dog and I were in Pagan Park (nee Joe Dancer) this morning.  A rainy Sunday morning…others cluster and cloister in church, or shelter from the rain…only we pagans are out in nature.  The birds were active and sincere about their morning services. There’s a reverence in the way they pursue their daily bread. Starlings and robins were ferrying food from field to hidden nests in the riverside forest.  One softball squad of starlings was positioned in short centerfield behind second base, ready for anything that might move through the grass.  The creamy white wild geraniums had their flower stalks standing two feet above the ground.  The hawthorns were rich in blooms, promising a good supply of autumn haws for the thrushes and waxwings who are their most appreciative feasters. A brown-backed, pale-chested bird zapped into the base of a conifer and tried to melt into the shadows.  It was a retiring Swainson’s Thrush.  Later as we walked past a thicket one greeted our presence with a sequence of sharp “whit” calls, warning all nearby birds of a four-footed predator. Male hummers sat atop sentinel trees—trespassers will be persecuted. A single cottontail slid into the anonymity of a blackberry thicket before I could even reach for my camera. As we prepared to leave a kettle of Turkey Vultures had lifted off their roosts and were circling in the first updrafts of the day.  As we drove out of the park an adult Bald Eagle flew over and headed across downtown McMinnville.  It would not have been far overhead for anybody on the top floor of McMenamin’s Hotel.AGO-FMLAh-maplAH-TOPPBB LIFTSBB PAIRDTV KETTL

THE GREENS
It had stopped raining minutes before we began down the forest trail.  Yet water drops dripped down from the canopy.  As each one gravitated groundward it would hit upon the large soft new leaves of the bigleaf maples, producing a soft “phwit” and then would slowly flow to the lower tip of that leaf and drop once again.MAPLIt is the time of the yellow rhodies.RHDO-YELOHAWTHawthorn above, wild geranium below.IMG_6158

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 14, 2017. 21 species
Comments:     one brush rabbit seen

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  8
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  3
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  5
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  1; Black-capped Chickadee 1
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  20
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  3     singing
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  15
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  2


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