Posted by: atowhee | March 3, 2022


Over three dozen crows were around and above Clark Creek Park this morning. Calling loudly, swirling, energized about something. Way over my head in any way.

A flicker male was calling incessantly from top of a bare cottonwood. As I watched another flicker flew into the same tree. It was listening to the flicker music from an orchestra seat.

I calculated using a modest estimate, and I may have spent over 15,000 hours birding in the past thirty years.  Most of that was in the U.S. and Europe.  Here I am often within view of one or more Great Blue Herons.  They are usually not in flocks though they nest in colonies.  But you can spend an hour scoping a marsh or lake for the target bird—a wandering Redhead, some recently sighted Eurasian Wigeon or a Long-tailed Duck.  That whole time one or more herons will be in clear sight, standing still along the lakeshore, bent over a bit of marsh, wading even in the shallows.  Never secretive, never unseen.  Even in our years in Europe I would often see and be seen by the Grey Heron, a near cousin who looks, acts and is sized like our Great Blue.

I have seen these herons in many activities—frozen in place, feeding young in a nest, pulverizing a California ground squirrel, chasing off egrets, facing down a coyote, sleeping in a treetop, wading marshes, strolling across a grassy pasture, ignoring the song of meadowlarks or the harassment of Red-winged Blackbirds, sawllowin g a three-foot gopher snake, nesting high in redwoods or cottonwoods, nonchalant in city parks or near wilderness, flying with slow but powerful flaps across an open sky.  In a typical city residential neighborhood I NEVER expected to see one on my neighbor’s roof.

Recently I had the chance to chat with Betsy Rosenberg of GreenTV…about birds and climate. Click here to see the video recording.

A dipper along ice-lined stream in Colorado, courtesy James Charles Wilson:

I could use a volunteer van driver for a May field trip based on Malheur Field Station, you’d get free room & board and go on all birding trips, May 6-11. Contact me if interested. Cranes, Franklin’s Gulls, Swainson’s Hawks, Golden Eagles, White Pelicans, maybe Eastern Kingbird, (too early for Bobolink or nighthawk).

To read John Muir’s love-letter to the dipper, click here.

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Mar 3, 2022
16 species

Wild Turkey  10
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Mourning Dove  8
Great Blue Heron  1     expected as fly over, not as roofer
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Bushtit  20
American Robin  X
House Sparrow  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  X
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1


  1. How can I not adore your Heron images. Fascinating to see one on the roof.

    • It was first time for me…I gave a copy of the blog to my neighbors who were at work at the time…work is the curse of the birding class

  2. I’ve never seen a great blue on a roof top in Salem – quire unusual. I’m going to Malheur with a couple woman friends starting May 16-19. I’d like to hear about what you saw the week before.

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