Posted by: atowhee | August 25, 2022


The summer simmers but it is changing course. Several plants in our garden are draining chlorophyll from their leaves, yellowing or browning–some blueberries, mint, buddleia. Many seed heads are rope now–poppies, lilies, lilacs. The last wave of flowering has begun: asters and soon a giant hibiscus. In un gardened areas I see the wild chicory and feral sweetpeas. Bees and spiders seem frenzied–only weeks remain before cold stops their activities. Bird feathers are scattered about as molting is going on among many species from goldfinch up to turkey. Sunset is an hoiur earlier than it was around solstice. Sunrise creeping down toward breakfast time. By October we have breakfast in the dark.

It’s spider season in western Oregon–click here. They are certainly abundant in our garden right now.

A piece I wrote for Salem Reporter website can be found online–click here. It’s about the 3 Ms of late summer–maturing, migrating, molting. MMM!

And click here for a newly-posted report on Osprey in the Salem area–nesting and otherwise.


Click here for a naturalist’s diary from Scotland’s sea isles. It is tragic to read of what is happening to seabird colonies. The diary mentions Farne Islands. I got to visit there in the summer of 2004. The danger as they let us off the boat–cover your head. The territorial Arctic Terns attack any creature that gets near their chicks running around on the islands. In addition to the terns we saw Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, murre, fulmar, practically tame Common Eider, passing gannets.
Here is account I wrote for American Birding Association’s defunct paper newsletter about visiting Farne Islands:


Avian flu victims have been found among wild birds in all parts of the state. It often affects clusters of birds. Among species being killed: Canada Geese and other waterfowl; White Pelicans; raptors up to and including eagles; Great Blue Heron. If smaller birds start dying they are less likely to be detected as easily. Raccoons and house cats will see to that.

This avian flu strain is present in Canada and Alaska. That means migrating flocks coming our way over the next weeks might be carriers, spreading the flu to refuges, estuaries and riparian corridors and even mountain meadows where it has not been detected…yet.

An Oregon Fish & Wildlife spokesperson told me this flu can live for some time in water, is often spread through contact with infested fecal matter…and worst of all: freezing doesn’t kill it. So cold weather will not bring safety. The flu may be as bad in Klamath Basin or Summer Lake as here in the refuges of our mild-wintering Willamette Valley.

Click here for recent look at avian flu in British Columbia.

Alaska has a great data page on the flu. Click here, at bottom of page is chronological list of avian flu cases, latest one on top. Ravens, Glaucous Gulls, poultry, jaeger, kittiwake, swallow, brant, Snowy Owl, Dunlin, Bald Eagle, Sandhill Crane…

Report here on flu in Washington State. Click here for state agency page on the flu, including map. of counties where it has been confirmed. On this page you can click on one or more counties on the map and then scroll through individual wild bird cases–many are Canada Goose or Mallard, but I also saw Bald Eagle and Peregrine, both prey on waterfowl.

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