Posted by: atowhee | February 1, 2020

YAM HILL & DALE

“It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”
–Edna St. Vincent Millay
Oh, Edna, you over-indulged cynic.  If you could know what we now know, you’d give anything to have April babbling.  Far better than heavily armed commanders-in-chief babbling like the idiots that they are.  Nations hating and threatening and tormenting one another. You had no idea a century ago of nucs and airplane-borne epidemics and man-made climate cataclysm.  Makes bullets and cannons seem so passe. Oh, to just have some idiot strewing flowers.

Nature insists, regardless.  In the past two days I have heard Song Sparrow song, Red-winged Blackbirds flashing their shoulder decor and singing of April.  Today robin music.  Not the warning whinnies heard year-round.  This was the quatrain of slurred doublets that must mean robin testosterone is in the bird blood.
At three locations today I heard chorus frogs performing in amphibious choirs–Joe Dancer Wetlands, Merlot Marsh and No Name Pond. I did not manage to see any. At the pond the frog calling (Let’s not deign call it song, be it ever so hopeful.) had such volume it delighted by drowning out the groan of passing traffic on nearby Baker Creek Road.  Pleasant to see passing cars  but not have to hear them.

TWO FOR ONE
A pair of Bewick Wren’s arrived in tandem at our feeders today.

At Joe Dancer a single Wilson’s Snipe flushed from the flooded wetland grass.  Mostly there were juncos and robins.

No Name Pond had a scattering of ducks.  One Pied-billed Grebe submarined across the water with only the top part of its head showing.  They submerge all or partially by squeezing their feathers together, decreasing bouyancy.

THE ATTACKER
Along Peavine Road yesterday I watched a kestrel attack and drive off a Red-tail, force it to a further utility pole.  The the attacker returned to a perch near its mate.  Turns out the attacker was the female, as I have noted before in raptors from kestrels up to Bald Eagle.  Size matters and the larger female is often the one to throw her weight around, when aggression is needed. Here you see her returning from successful assault:

Here’s a pair of red-tails soaring together over Joe Dancer.  It is their nesting season so pairship matters:rt paird (2)

BEST SURPRISE
In a world of heavy tread and whirling wheels it is always good to see a snake. Yesterday it was still January but there was a garter snake at Joe Dancer Wetlands, perhaps flooded out by high water or maybe just enjoying the 60-degree day.  About two feet long: IMG_4750 (2)IMG_4754 (2)STILL WINTER  YET GREEN INCREASES, AS DOES WATER LEVEL
South Yamhill River into the bankside forest:IMG_4757IMG_4761IMG_4762IMG_4767IMG_4769STILL MORE
ssp-jdp (2)JDP-CAGOOO (2)JUNC GUD (2)LEGO HIDE (2)LTL ANNIE (2)
Never had more than a single siskin all this winter–back again today:SISK-GUD (2)No Name Pond
A vernal pool now deep enough for ducks–four species there today.POND-UPP (2)No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 1, 2020. 7 species

Northern Shoveler  5
Mallard  15
Green-winged Teal  2
Ring-necked Duck  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
European Starling  X
Red-winged Blackbird  .X


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