Posted by: atowhee | May 30, 2020

MAY DAYS, AND THE BIRDS THAT FILL THEM WITH ACTION

This morning, between rains, Wennerberg was aflutter with birds.  Yellow Warbler singing from willow by the river.  Downstream a pair of American Goldfinches in another willow clump. Grosbeaks singing from densely leaved bigleaf maples.  Barn Swallows cruising just above the empty ball diamonds’ grass.  Violet-greens circling far overhead.  Robins, junco, starlings, House Sparrows feeding on the ground.  Pewee in treetops along the creek.  Purple finches singing from the up in the Doug-firs.  One mournful dove calling in this time when mourning each morning is so called for.  Acorn Woodpeckers about, sapsucker working from trunk to trunk among the broadleaf trees.

YAMHILL GALLERY

Our resident sapsucker:

re rb sa (2)Our resident

This sequence shows some of a crow-kestrel encounter.  It was shot a mile south of Carlton, east of Westside Road.  Both species are common along the road there.  I often see crows in flight, kestrels perched on the overhead wires.  I cannot say whether hormones or some avian misdemeanor led to this aggression.  The crow would repeatedly fly above the kestrel and then swoop down to attack the falcon’s back.  Each time there was a scream, presumably from the kestrel.  I did not see any feathers plucked but they were high and far away.  On the left hand side of the seventh image are two specks–those are from the large Cliff Swallow colony on the nearby old white wooden barn where CS condos are under construction, permit not requested.  Barn owners to be admired for welcoming both Cliff and Barn Swallows.

Along Baker Creek northwest of McMinnville–dipper, and then a painting of same by my friend Kirk Gooding of Ashland.  On his annual calendar, the Dipper adorns this month of May.  I will be sorry to see the dipper disappear just to mark the arrival of June.

What can it be like to float so?  To be so high, alone, free, so easily above whatever you see or seek or wish to avoid?  How does it smell?  What feel of wind through pinions, across the tail, passing your retina?  Is it oh so forlorn to come down to some tree or utility pole to watch the ground for a squirrel or snake? Does the appetite for flight ever or often rise above the appetite for warm flesh?rt in blue (2)

SPRING IS NOT LIMITED TO FEATHERED THINGS

Fuzz floats through the air.  You may be miles from the nearest trees but a little tuft will pass your eyes.  Recently I was in the front seat of our car, parked with windows open.  A tiny seed puff came in the driver’s side, wandered across and exited the passenger’s side window, on to greater adventures.  Thank the black cottonwood.  The fuzzy tubes above covered the ground at Wennerberg this week, beneath the parent trees.

Click here for my ancient love letter to the cottonwood and its work.

The fresh new galls on this oak limb are from the California gallfly.  There may be up to a dozen larvae inside each one.  This insect is commonly perceived to be a wasp.  We do have some local wood-workers capable of breaking and entering, specifically squirrels and woodpeckers.  I have often found galls in mid-summer that have been broken into, the larvae devoured.  The galls do not hurt the tree apparently.

Salsify flower, introduced from Old World.

Late afternoon sunlight through moss-draped conifers along upper Baker Creek.

Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 30, 2020
14 species

Mourning Dove  X
Red-breasted Sapsucker  1
Acorn Woodpecker  1
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  X
House Sparrow  X
Purple Finch  X     singing
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Song Sparrow  X
Yellow Warbler  X     singing


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