Posted by: atowhee | March 18, 2019

MARCH 18, 2019

Temperature in the sixties.
Red-tail in the soft sky.
Green is moving across the land,
Now sunlight’s in my eye.

McMinnville.  Last night the chorus frogs were serenading one another and any other wakeful creature that can hear.  There are thousands of them in our suburban thickets and pocket marshes.  Pseudacris is their genus, which they share with the spring peeper found east of the Sierra. Our Pacific chorus frog is Pseudacris regilla.  His more eastern cousin is Pseudacris crucifer.
Our chorus frogs have a long breeding season so we’ll be hearing them many more weeks. Last summer they crowded the drying remains of No Name Pond, more than one on each emergent wapato leaf.

The tuneful Pseudacris have long enchanted naturalists.  Here is an excerpt from an essay written by Joseph Wood Krutch seventy years ago:
“Surely one day a year might be set aside on which to celebrate our ancient loyalties and to remember our ancient origins.  And I know of none more suitable for that purpose than the Day of the Peepers. ‘Spring is come!’ I say when I hear them….I also add something which, for me at least, is even more important. ‘Don’t forget,’ I whisper to the peepers, ‘we are all in this together’.”

Our winter-hardy insect eaters were working along sun-warmed trunks and branches: nuthatch, kinglet, warbler and chickadee.

Frogs are not the lone spring singers.  Flicker, House Finch, robins, and the aptly named SONG Sparrows.  Those that came for the winter will be leaving soon, but our locals are on point and on territory and in tune:

Overhead passed a male Northern Harrier, and northward he is headed.  Some of them nest in the tundra above the Arctic Circle.  Ground nesters, they need no forest or brush to survive.  The Turkey Vultures now passing northward only get as far as southern British Columbia.

Evergreen plants from the lowly English daisy to our tallest Douglas firs are now at a great advantage as most deciduous trees are just restarting their growth above ground.   Thus Oregon grape has pregnant bud clusters while the alder is dangling its pre-leaf tassels.  Camellias bloom while our blueberries are still pushing out their buds.  Licorice ferns grow all winter, going dormant when the tree trunks go dry in summer.  The evergreen sword ferns now arch their longest fronds four feet or more.

I am starting to see ants and flies.  Still not an appearance of bee, dragonfly nor butterfly.  Spiders are busy even at night.  The slender strong threads of web reach from twig to twig, others dangle down for limbs far overhead.  Bits of leaf or moss cling and dangle.  The miniature moss forests now cloak trunks, rocks, fallen limbs, bare ground.  Moss’ll cover your boots if you were to stand still long enough.
Alder tassels:ALDER (2)

The sun on the trees where the insectivores were gleaning:SUNNY TRUNKS
The dog and I were walking the perimeter of Joe Dancer Park, skirting the riverside forest, one side trail took us to an overlook of the river.  I heard a chortling sound off to my right.  Then I spotted (should say “lined”) the chortler…see him?CHPMUNK_LIHere are some more images of this Townsend’s chipmunk, safe in his bramble thicket, surrounded by free chipmunk groceries (click on any image to see it full screen):

“Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…”      –Beatles


Click here for an excellent chorus frog website that includes recordings for their keening songs.frg2
I took this picture of chorus frogs at dried up pond here in McMinnville last September First.

McMinnville birding class in April, click here for info.


*BIRDING MALHEUR *  May 22-27 & June 7-12  * 5 Nights * Leader :  Harry Fuller *  $900 / $850 RV *

BIRDING MALHEUR & STEENS MT *  Sept  16-22 * 6 Nights * Leader :  Harry Fuller * $1000 / $940 RV

Cost includes all meals and accommodations at Malheur Field Station on the wildlife refuge.

About Harry Fuller:  Harry has lived in Oregon since 2007.  He has been leading bird trips and teaching bird classes since the 1990s.  He annually leads birding trips in Oregon and Washington for Klamath Bird Observatory, Road Scholar and Golden Gate Audubon.   See more at:
To register contact the Malheur Field Station at 541-493-2629


Spring: Trumpeter Swan, Cinnamon Teal, Black-chinned Hummingbird, White Pelicans, Franklin’s Gulls, Black Terns, Wilson’s Phalarope, Wilson’s Snipe, Long-billed Curlew, Sora, Sandhill Crane, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Golden Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Short-eared Owl, Burrowing Owl, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Say’s Phoebe, Gray Flycatcher,  Loggerhead Shrike, Prairie Falcon, Horned Lark, Sage Thrasher, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Sagebrush Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow,

Mammals: pronghorn, mule deer, badger, kit fox, coyote, long-tailed weasel, river otter, Belding’s ground squirrel, Nuttall’s cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, yellow-bellied marmot.

Fall: Trumpeter Swan, migrant ducks, migrant shorebirds, Sora, Sandhill Crane,  Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Horned Owl, White Pelican, Common Nighthawk, Prairie Falcon, migrant woodpeckers (Lewis’s, et al.), Say’s Phoebe, Horned Lark, Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, Western Tanager, Yellow-headed Blackbird, migrant warblers.

Mammals: wild mustangs, pronghorn, mule deer, kit fox, coyote, long-tailed weasel, river otter, Nuttall’s cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit.




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