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Posted by: atowhee | August 5, 2018

KIDS DO THE DARNEDEST THINGS

While shorebird migration has begun along the Pacific Flyway and the days are long, there are not a lot of exciting discoveries for Oregon birders right now.  You need to get out on a pelagic to see some new stuff for the year.  For us land-bound birders, same old, same old…and yet, it’s also the annual youngster festival.
At no other time of the year will the percentage of new fledglings be so high.  By fall many first year birds will begin to look like their parents.  Tails will have grown, juncos will lose their spots, fuzzy edges will have smoothed down or filled out, those pale gapes of nestlings will have darkened. Later  migration will decimate the youth population. So now is the time to walk slowly; let the youngsters stare at you; time for us watchers to be watched by some tiny feathered fellow who may be only two months old.  That’s how I spent an hour allegedly dog walking at Wennerberg Park this morning.  These kids did some of the darnedest things…like posing for pictures.
At the dog fountain, Nora slathered her face with water and splattered the vicinity.  A tiny form flew onto a nearby oak trunk–five feet away.  The Brown Creeper kidlet gave us a thorough looking over.  I took pictures continuously for half a minute and have included select images in the order in which they were taken with blurs and duplicates left out.  Click to enlarge any specific shot.

Nearly every mown field now seems to have its small flock of feeding swallows.  At Joe Dancer and Wennerberg it is Barn Swallows.  They may have nested under the eaves of the buildings at the Carlton maintenance yard next to the park.  Above the loud equipment inside the Barn Swallows lined the wires this morning…and some were newly fledged.  Youngsters from earlier in the summer had pale breasts but real tails…then there are those freshly minted.  The have almost no tail yet, and the pale gape is still visible.  That bright mouth marker is helpful for parents feeding young on a nest in some dark corner of a barn or shed.  Again, click on image for full screen view.

 

YOU’RE KIDDING ME

As I drove away from the park a Turkey Vulture circled along the busy highway, swooped down and landed about twenty yards back from the road and traffic.  I pulled off for a picture, then the YOUNG bird goose-stepped over toward me.  He or she found a comfortable viewpoint on the top of the roadside ditch, walked the traffic and fanned out those iridescent wings you rarely get a view of across a two-lane highway. In some shots you can see how the TV goose-steps like a real goose, none of that pitching from side to side you see in ravens and crows, nor the hopping of sparrows or the rapid skittering of killdeer, a purposeful goose-step, without any political overtones.

And here’s the wing-spread sequence, note the lifted leg in one of the final shots, and then there’s a final close-up of those back feathers.  No wonder there are rumors that Turkey Vultures really do love one another.

tv backIMMATURITY CAN HAVE ITS CHARMS

Two more youngsters seen at Wennerberg.  A young Willow Flycatcher (note that pale necklace) was low in qa creekside cedar and just couldn’t imagine flying away just because I was taking pictures from twelve feet. Later there was a new House Finch, with only two tail feathers that pretended to form a notch.  Scared up from the thistles by Nora, this bird flew to a wire in the hot sun and sat there.wf-yng1wf-yng2hofi-yng forkThere were more wood-pewees than robins to be seen, a first for me at this site where both nest.  The one pewee who stayed for a photo shoot was an adult in a treetop.

There was little water in the creek, and little life on the water…but striders were abroad.striderWennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 5, 2018. 16 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  2
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)  7
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)  2
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Barn Swallow (American) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster)  20
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  4
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  4
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  1
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  1

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