Posted by: atowhee | December 31, 2019


The last birds I saw today are my familiar neighbors.  Two collared-doves, wings slashing through the air lifting up through the rain and over the treetops.   Juncos for final sunflower seeds of the decade around our feeders.  Early to rise, late to bed–juncos are workaholic sparrows.  Earlier today I saw them bathing during the rain!  A single flicker moving through the rain on his flight that mimics a sine wave.  His white patch showed brightly as the rain fell, taking daylight with it. Earlier today the sky was dark, foliage and brush looked nearly black.  Two flickers lifted off from the ground.  I could follow their path only by watching the bold white spot as it moved through the air.  The rest of the flicker I couldn’t discern against the background.

Some birdy highlights this year:  Black-masked Bushtit at Page Springs in Harney County.  Official account say this particular plumage is found only along the US/Mexican border.  Perhaps they’ve moved north to escape ICE (just a little joke).  Lots of Mockingbirds in San Diego where they’ve been for decades.  Great Gray Owl in northeastern Marion County in May.  Hundreds of Red-necked Phalarope in Burns, Oregon, sewer ponds in September.  Four young Ferruginous Hawks in nest in scrawny juniper south of Burns, last spring.  White-throated Sparrow in our garden last winter (not this).  Thousands of cranes on Sauvie Island this fall.  A Red-breasted Merganser on the Salem CBC this month, the first in the count’s 56 years! All three trips to Malheur.  Having my Common Nighthawk essay published in Edge of Awe by Oregon State University Press…thanks to Alan Contreras.

Click here for blog on the BM Bushtit.



No travel to speak of, only birded in CA-WA-OR.  Only 234 species seen, lowest in several years, gotta hit the road.  222 species in Oregon.  Three counties with over 100: Harney 166; Yamhill 136; Marion 111.  Better luck next year.  I am headed to Chico bird fest in January so my California list will be much greater than this  year (<50) with just a single short stay in San Diego.

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