Posted by: atowhee | October 23, 2022


It was sharply cold around 930AM this morning, as the dog and I went for our morning walk.  The small birds were up and foraging.  Juncos, finches, nuthatches—busy.  Towhees moving about, even flying across open areas to reach berry-laden hollies.  Flickers called, crows cawed.  One pair were chasing away a red-tail that passed by without their approval.  Then along Clark Creek I saw my first Ruby-crowned Kinglet there this season.  So now nearly all the usual wintering birds are about in the usual places—Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows near dense thickets.  Cackling Geese on irrigated lawns.  A Pacific Wren in sword ferns yesterday.  Juncos hustling food on the ground, near concealing foliage, in case a Coop comes after them.

“Nearly all”—there’s no telling whether this will be a siskin winter.  2021-2 certainly was.  We had dozens in our garden.  In late November last, then again in March of this year, my highest estimate of siskins about: 120.  They are notoriously inconsistent.  Some other wintering species that share that unpredictability include Varied Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, crossbills, waxwings.  Food supply may be the major determinant in where and how long they stay outside breeding season.  Crossbills go most other species one better—they’re known to occasionally nest whenever they find a great supply of ripe pine cones—weather forecast be damned.

This afternoon I saw a crow in Clark Creek Park throwing his walnut onto the tennis court to break the hard shell. In Ashland they used to roll them into as busy intersection and wait for the cars to crush them.

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Oct 23, 2022
12 species

Mourning Dove  3
Northern Flicker  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  1
European Starling  X
American Robin  2
Cedar Waxwing  8
House Finch  15
American Goldfinch  20
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  4

Clark Creek Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Oct 23, 2022
9 species

Northern Flicker  3
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  15
Bushtit  X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1     first at this location this season
White-breasted Nuthatch  3     family group?
European Starling  8
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  34

Not a mushroom cloud, thankfully. Click for story on missing mushrooms. Have they absconded together with those missing Alaskan crabs? This is the Age of (Climate) Change, and nature doesn’t do stasis.


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