Posted by: atowhee | February 10, 2019


Cars were ice skating around corners this morning.  Drivers bent on getting to church, perhaps, figuring god was on their side as much as four-wheel drive.  Here we got about three inches of snow overnight and a hard freeze of the afternoon melt water from yesterday. We stayed near the windows, as the birds coped in their fashion.

Before 8 AM the juncos had come and pattered around.  Their tracks were the only graffiti on the snow.  At 8AM the air temperature outside was 26.

820 AM I have scattered sunflower chips outside and put some into each hanging feeder.  The suet blocks hund outside all night.  Juncos and their sparrowy cousins descend from tree and shrub as soon as I am back inside the house.  Spotted Towhee pair, Golden-crowned Sparrow (2).

834 AM  First starkings strike the suet feeders and then sunflower chips as well.  There are ten in this first wave.

836 AM   I toss a couple dozen peanuts in shell onto the cement veranda.  Within ten seconds the scrub-jay pair are coming and going, carrying each nut off to cache it out of sight of squirrel and other competitors.  How do they respond so quickly?  Do they keep watch?  I am very irregular in spreading peanuts.  Do they hear the sound of shell on cement?  The sound of the sliding door closing?  How do they?

842 AM First and single squirrel hits the feeders.  Nearby I hear robins whinnying.  They will not deign to accept any of our food.  THe ground is covered with snow, ruling out earthworms for the time being.  Can they find berries?  The rowan has been plucked clean.  We do have fruit clinging to nandina, but no pyracantha or blackberries…what will they do?  Later in the morning I see them working narrowstrips of bare ground along roads and sidewalks where reflected sun heat has melted the snow.

852 AM Golden-crowned Sparrows both at sunflower chips.  Also oue lone White-throated Sparrow shows up for first time this morning.  The two GCS often come together but behave more like a flock than a pair.  THey will not nest anywhere nearby so this is just a winter feeding territory.  Unlike the Bewick’s Wrens(unseen today)and towhees who will nest within fifty yards of our house.

853 AM Again the starling gang returns, scaring off all but the doughty and doubtless juncos.  The sun is bright and though the air is only at 28 degrees, melt begins on leaves and limbs.  Dripping commences.

855 AM I hear collared-doves.  They have not dropped down to feed.

905 AM  Myrtle Warbler #1 arrives.  Later a second one will show up.

918  AM Several squirrels drop down from the trees, knocking snow off horizontals as they come.  Nearly always several juncos are at work, occasionally taking fright and flight but soon returning.  Ditto the towhee and golden-crowns.

940 AM  Starlings, juncos and squirrels busily hoovering up food.  Among the juncos I spot my old friend, Cheeky, he of the white cheek patches.  Picture below.  31.6 is the temp now.

950 AM Flicker hits the double suet block feeder, hanging beneath with his brilliantly marked tail feathers in full display.  Ever seen a flicker’s tail up close?  Note the finely cross-hatched dark feathers with white lines forming Xs across the tail.  Perhaps Audrey Hepburn could carry off appearing in an outfit like that…

952 AM Two Myrtle Warblers quarrel over the suet block as soon as the flicker flies off. The first House Sparrow of the morning attaches herself to the suet block as well.

1030 AM  It is now 35 in the sunlight, melt speeding up, wooden deck beginning to clear of snow.  I am shovelling the slush off the walks.  I brush past the dripping boxwood and its gently drooping limbs drop dollops of slush down my collar.  I get the tingling message followed by an involuntary shudder.  I can hear cars still out there slaloming along the streets, making me wonder if its courage, faith or recklessness that impels drivers on this Sunday morning.

1045 AM Melt sounds all around.  Water beginning to flow in gutters…of streets and house alike.  Auddie appears, our lone Audubon’s Warbler who’s been here for months.  His bold yellow head-band shines in the sun.  If he could find those two Myrtles He would dispatch them with aggressive alacrity and aplomb aplenty.  The first male House Sparrow appears, having slept in like any good, lazy male should do on such a cold morning.

1115  AM  37.5 in the sun.

110 PM Back from my hike to No Name Pond.  41 in the sun.  Soon thereafter it clouds over and temp drops back into the 30s.


Above you can see Cheeky the junco and the male Spotted Towhee and the suave decorative piping on the flicker’s tail.  Click any image to enlarge.


The Acorn Woodpecker was actually ona feeder along PInot Noir Lane, near soe oaks.  The flicker screamed at me while streaming past and clinging to the pond-side cottonwood like a strong magnet.  best bird at the pond was a Lincoln’s Sparrow in with his flocking cousins: Song Sparrow and juncos.  Can you find the lone Pintail male?



The first image is of Merlot Marsh, frozen over, and all the red-wings’ complaints did not break the ice.  That image in the middle may look like a snow-covered 1974 Porsche, but it’s just a voluptuous bush.  The snowy hills are at the foot of the Coastal Range west of McMinnville.

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 10, 2019
14 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Bushtit  25
American Robin  X
European Starling  14
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  25
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3
House Sparrow  X

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 10, 2019
13 species

Northern Shoveler  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Green-winged Teal (American)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Robin  40
European Starling  50
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Song Sparrow  4
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  1

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