Posted by: atowhee | March 23, 2021


“All is flux.” —Heraclitus

Sorry, re-using one of my favorite aphorisms. Birding and noticing nature has only strengthened my trust in Heraclitus’s insight that is approaching three thousand years of age.

After many weeks of expecting Cackling Geese or maybe shovelers to be the most abundant bird on any given dog/birding walk, today, at Minto-Brown, it was Tree Swallows. And in our garden I had recently noted the apparent absence of Bushtits. Not so, just flux. Yesterday my wife noticed one. Today she heard them in the bushes, then a pair flittered past. The winter flocks have evidently paired off. Soon the bushes and trees will help conceal those woven, pendulous, tear-shaped nests that shall contain the smallest songbird eggs and chicks in all of Oregon.

Nature is a changeling, all times, all about. The planets, the moons, the solar systems, galaxies, meteors, time, the number of drops of water in the sea, the cumulative ERA of all the pitchers in the Major League Baseball during the season, the shape of clouds above, the stomach contents of any given earthworm–all these things move and change and alter what is part of any particular habitat. So those spring-time changes follow patterns and yet surprise, they are predictable but still unexpected in a given moment.

At MInto-Brown today music was supplied by robins, Bewick’s Wren, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbirds, flickers. Background noise was added by the usual suspects–Mallards, crows, jays, Canada Geese. I am now starting to see swarms of tiny flying insects, but have yet to get a mosquito bite this year. They always find my wife first, anyway, she being much sweeter than I…and better scented, I’m sure. The osoberry shrubs are in bloom and in leaf. The chorus frogs continue to chorus, of course.

The largest bird in the sky was a Turkey Vulture, lazing along on the updrafts courtesy of the bright morning sun.

Minto-Brown Island Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Mar 23, 2021
19 species

Canada Goose  4
Mallard  25
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Flicker  3
Steller’s Jay  5
California Scrub-Jay  4
American Crow  X
Tree Swallow  35
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  5
American Robin  24
Purple Finch  1
White-crowned Sparrow  15
Song Sparrow  12
Spotted Towhee  4
Red-winged Blackbird  8

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