Posted by: atowhee | April 24, 2021

TWO NEW, BETWEEN RAINS

LATE ADD: our final daytime dog walk to the park was in the rain about 545PM. There was a Green Heron perched on a log across the creek. I rarely see any life in this stream so the bird’ll have to go elsewhere to make a living,

Nora and I didn’t make a dog walk this morning…had to go see the last nest-box owlet(more later) and then lunch. In early afternoon the rain had halted briefly and we went to Clark Creek Park–where it was clear that some newly-arrived migrants had been forced down, or chosen to land, in Salem overnight. Within a few minutes I spotted my first migratory flycatcher of the spring (a Dusky) and then my first Wilson’s Warbler, a crisply costumed male with his glossy black skull-cap. In our garden were more birds on the move, or newly arrived–up to six American Goldfinches now(five are bright males), Golden and White-crowned Sparrows. Finally, a quick drive past Ankeny today (that owlet, dontcha know) revealed: zero wintering ducks, zero Cackling Geese, lots of coots and swallows.

FIRST MIGRATORY FLYCATCHER OF MY BIRDING YEAR:

Here’s where I first spotted the Dusky, a flycatcher by perch, then I saw its bold eye-ring, ruling out wood-pewee which was my original guess. Also, the bird was only about twenty feet above the ground, not on a treetop as pewees often are:

The Dusky will nest in some montane conifer forest, likely near a meadow or forest clearing. Hammond’s, his cousin, will be found further inside the forest where the sun never shines on the ground. Dusky’s Latinate species name is oberholseri. Click here to read of namesake Oberholser, a large mammal, and his ornithology career–likely he first brought others’ attention to some of this bird’s peculiar measurements (Tail, beak, wing length).

The Wilson’s Warbler was bright as a flashlight in the dark. He was low in the shrubbery nest to the east edge of the park, a wildly unkempt old orchard, not full of thicketry and unpruned trees of many kinds. He was flittery and jittery and feeding. When he (a bright, capped male) landed in an area without leaves I started shooting. He stopped for five frames, less than a full second. My first shot, cropped to a close-up, and then full frame to show the mystery of where he really was (just above the white dot if you can find it):

The exit, a yellowish blur:

The towhees were chasing their littler cousins, the Song Sparrows. Even so, I saw one of the songsters carrying nesting material in its beak.. These two species have been feuding over property lines for millennia, no doubt. They were along Clark Creek just where it flows into a thicket and out of the park on the north edge. Here’s the macho aggressive male, giving me the red-eye:

This couple has been around the park for about three weeks–do they intend to nest along this narrow, shallow creek?

ANKENY–Now about that owl I mentioned. Four of the Barn Owlets have fledged. Junior still huddles in the nest box in his natal barn loft. For how long?

One year, the barn owner told us, all the owlets were taken by Great Horned Owls. So far, this spring the blood has all been spilled by small mammals the parental Barnies bring to the kids. A neighbor’s barn across the road–maybe 100 yards away, also has a functioning Barn Owl nest this spring, and those owlets are weeks behind,.

No ducks, no geese, guess we’ll just have to make do…how can such a serious bird have such a clownish face?

OUR FINCH GARDEN–SISKINS AND AMERICAN GOLDFINCH IN BREEDING COLORS.

OSPREY ON NEST PLATFOERM IN WEST SALEM, AUDUBON NATURE RESERVE. CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME OF THE LITTLE GUYS AT NATURE PRESERVE WHERE OSPREY ARE IN WEST SALEM. Bewick’s Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch.

Clark Creek Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Apr 24, 2021
15 species

Mallard  2     mated pair, have been in park for at least three weeks now, no ducklings
Turkey Vulture  1
Green Heron 1
Dusky Flycatcher  1     first of year
American Crow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
European Starling  1
American Robin  2
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  2     mated pair
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Wilson’s Warbler  1     first of year


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