Posted by: atowhee | January 19, 2021


Winter gray briefly dispelled. There was an inkling at dawn. I stepped outside before the official sunrise time according to my cell phone. Slanted light was painting the sky and its clouds.

Most days the brightest color is a couple of wet-wilted yellowish roses and the scrub-jays’ blue. Today both goldfinch species appeared with feathers that show showing newness, and bright colors. But the leading Fauve was Mrs. Townsend. The male Townsend’s Warbler with his gaudy black and gold headdress could be likened to a Vegas blazing neon. She, however, is a living Matisse. Any appearance by a Townsend’s this winter comes as a bright spot, there have only been a few, and then the wintering mountain bird vanishes, leaving me to count juncos and await Bushtits drab but cheerful business and busyness.

Notice how naturally the human eye (and another warbler’s eyes as well) go to the bright face on the left side of the frame. The drab little siskin gets easily unlooked, which is beyond overlooked.

The chestnut-back is only here occasionally, same for Downy–but they both showed up for today’s color parade. The male flicker is regular in our garden…whenever the Coop is not about, like today.

After seeing the above chickadee pics, Rusty Scalf, a birde rin the Bay Area, sent me this note: “Remarkable how much brighter chestnut your CB Chickadees are than those here in Berkeley.”
In general I have learned the wetter and darker the climate, the darker plumage on the local breeding birds. Our Song Sparrows are much darker than those breeding in Colorado or Kansas. Ditto Cascades Fox Sparrows vs. those in the Great Basin ranges.

Here are two of the several Golden-crowned Sparrows at Minto-Brown. One was up in a tree eating some winterized cherries:

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 19, 2021
14 species

Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  1
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  X
House Finch  1
Pine Siskin  6
Lesser Goldfinch  3
American Goldfinch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  40
Townsend’s Warbler  1

Minto-Brown Island Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 19, 2021
14 species

Northern Shoveler  4
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  120
Green-winged Teal  200
Bufflehead  15
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
American Kestrel  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  3
Golden-crowned Sparrow  18
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1

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