Posted by: atowhee | May 26, 2018


Our Golden Gate Audubon Society field trip began today with a dawn start in the foggy, cold Cascades east of Ashland.  It felt more like March than late May.  Cold, wind, fog, low visibility.  But our day began with sequential sightings of Great Gray Owl, including a female incubating or brooding young in a nest platform. Late in the morning we found this adult owl hunting in an opening surrounded by blooming mountain mahogany:ggo-bouquet3This owl we saw drop to the ground and come up with as vole clutched in one taon as it flew off, likely to feed its mate or an owlet nearby.  For a gallery of Great Gray Owl images, including some in the early morning fog, click here.

We  visited Howard Prairie and its namesake lake, Hyatt Lake, Little Hyatt Lake and the spaces in between.

An afternoon highlight was watching both of the adult dippers carry food to their best beneath the Pacific Crest Trail footbridge across Keene Creek near Little Hyatt Lake. dpr2 There I got several pictures of the dippers at work and one that shows a dipper with a small crayfish in its beak.  Click here to see that and a gallery of images.

Other birds seen and enjoyed by the group were brightly colored male Purple Finches, MacGillivray’s and Nashville Warblers, a fly-over Pileated Woodpecker, a pair of White-headed Woodpeckers working a dead snag next to the GGO nest platform’s live tree,  Green-tailed Towhees, Lazuli Buntings, White Pelicans, grunting Double-crested Cormorants on their Hyatt Lake nest tree, four Sandhill Cranes, numerous Chipping and Vesper Sparrows, Wilson’s Snipe adorning the tops of fence posts along Dead Indian Memorial Road at Howard Prairie and an unexpected Ring-necked Duck on Little Hyatt Lake.  What was he doing there at this date?

Love the Laz:LB1

The following checklist does not include birds from Keene Creek, Hyatt Meadows and LIttle Hyatt Lake.

Howard Prairie Circuit, Jackson, Oregon, US
Comments:     includes Dead Indian Memorial Road, Keno Access Road, Lily Glen and Hyatt Lake.  36 species*

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  200
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Wild Turkey  2
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  30
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  X
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  X
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)  4
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  X
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  3
Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa)  2
White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus)  2
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  X
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  X
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  X
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)  2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  X
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  20
Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)  X
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)  X
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  X
Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)  X
Western Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  X
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  X

*Birds seen by only one or two birders in group: Red-tailed Hawk, Acorn Woodpecker and likely Pygmy Nuthatch.

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