Posted by: atowhee | September 8, 2017


Sept. 8
Here in the dry, smoked-up west we wait to see if Florida becomes an island or a marshy archipelago after Irma passes through. To pass the hours, the dog and I went out to Dry Isle today, formerly known as Grand Island.
Even though it was mid-day the birding was pretty good because the temperature had moderated, there was little wind, only a modicum of smoke as there was once again a visible horizon not just gray haze and soot. In the woods one Steller’s Jay nagged us as we walked away. He made imitation Red-tailed Hawk calls as if to say, “This is my woods, be gone.”
The most abundant birds were swallows and a weed patch with over three dozen American Goldfinches.
The swallows came in three flavors: Barn, Violet-green and Cliff. Al three are local nesters but these are migration-sized flocks.
In the forest itself the dryness was pervasive. In the treetops once in awhile there would be a flutter of yellow I watched a leaf leave. Each ash or cottonwood leaf would fall silently, wafting feather-like, then settle into its final resting place…pending some future gust. Yellow and reds were appearing in various parts of the forest and its undergrowth. Poison oak plants were already sporting deep purple leaves. The last of the summer’s windflowers were about: Queen Anne’s lace, wild chicory, California poppies, ragwort, and bright yellow flowers growing in the shallow ox-bows.
There was a Turkey Vulture corpse near the parking lot. An impartial coroner might rule death in suspicious circumstances. I could not see any obvious cause of death. The body was largely undisturbed except for the close attention from numerous carrion flies.
At home in the garden the feeders were golden, filled with American Goldfinches. They are not aggressive birds, willing to share with House Finch or nuthatch or whomever. But they are not patient either. Several will pile onto a platform regardless of who’s already there. They seen only to avoid the squirrels.

SE Grand Island Loop
, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Sep 8, 2017 11:40 AM – 1:00 PM
24 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1; plus one TV corpse
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 2; Harrier (female)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati) 2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group]) 4
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) 2
Steller’s Jay (Coastal) (Cyanocitta stelleri [stelleri Group]) 3
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 2
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) X
Barn Swallow (American) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) X
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 3
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 5
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 1
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) X
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 40
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) X

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