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Posted by: atowhee | July 31, 2019

A SUMMER TAIL TALE

I found this white-tailed junco at Grenfell Park along Baker Creek Road west of McMinnville.  This bird was with another.  Noting the fluffy feathers along his sides I think this might be a first-year bird.  At any rate, his long tail feathers are all pure white, none of the flashing semaphore you see in an ordinary junco when it flies.  I could follow this bird through the shaded duff as it fed…just look for the bright white.  May make him an easier target for the hungry Cooper’s Hawk.
Over the years I have seen at least a dozen juncos with excess white. Often it is on the head. I could not say they are more prone to leucistic tendencies; but there are so many in winter the odds of an oddity being seen must be greater than, say, for wrens or jays or towhees which occur in lesser numbers.  Yet, I sometimes see huge flocks of starlings and have yet to see a single leucistic one, but I have already found at least one leucistic collared-dove (out in Harney County).  Could it be the original starlings imported did not bring along any or many leucistic genes?  Although I do not recall ever seeing one leucistic starling in four years in London where they are almost as common as Blue Tits and Wood Pigeons.

Cedar Waxwings are showing up in many locations.  This one was along Moore’s Valley Road in north Yamhill.  The TVs were in newly mowed field scarfing down body bits in a field along Baker Creek Road.

Speaking if turkeys…not far from this field I heard turkeys making the “gobble-gobble” sound.  Alas, they were domestics in a nearby pen.  Have not seen a wild one in the county, yet.

Swallows are starting to form their pre-migrations flocks.  Barn Swallows may still be nesting but twice this week I have dozens of Violet-green Swallows gathered.  Today they were feeding over Moore’s Valley Road.

YAMHILL SEWER PONDS TODAY

Bored California Gull, adult.  Pewee looking around.  Robin molting.  Black dots over each of the two Long-billed Dowitchers in the irrigated field with its temporary pools and muddy ground fit for long, probing beaks.

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 31, 2019
13 species

Mallard  12
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Long-billed Dowitcher  2
California Gull  1
Northern Flicker  3
Western Wood-Pewee  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Barn Swallow  20
Cliff Swallow  1
American Robin  12
European Starling  X
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1

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Responses

  1. I have at least one white-tailed junco coming regularly to my feeder for the last month or so. At first I thought I was imagining it as I’ve never seen a white-tailed junco before, but have since gotten very clear looks at it. I believe there might be another one or two coming that have either full white or at least partially white tails as well. I’m in Lake Oswego.


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