Posted by: atowhee | May 20, 2023


Here are some observations. There is likely climate connection to some.

South of Eugene many hillsides display forests pocked by dead conifers. Mostly ponderodsa and Doug-fir as far as I can tell. Ponderosa likely beetle victims; Doug-firs felled by drought and heat. In southern Oregon west of Cascades’ summit the oaks and madrone thrive. Near Hyatt Lake I saw no ill effects on the cedars. A few surviving sugar pine showed no beetle infections, yet.

Roadside color between Roseburg and Eugene: yellow bloom of broom, pale blue and white of lupine. Champion weeds were cow parsnip. North of Eugene some California poppy color. In the southern Cascades above 3000 feet–creamy ceanothus, above 4000′ some manzanita still in bloom while lower than that they already had fruit.

Roadkill along I-5: two deer, one Wild Turkey, one racoon.

In Jackson County Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake reservoirs are partially refilled after drought. Hyatt once was home of dozens of nesting DC Cormorants. As the lakes vanished that colony was starved out. I presume they moved…to Klamath River or the Rogue or maybe some natural lakes that persevered? In three days with many views of both lakes: no nesting, and only a single cormorant seen once! At Howard Prairie the main resort boat docks still shelter marmots, not minnows. Neither of these lakes will be filled this spring and summer.

If you click here you can see gallery from a June, 2017, birding trip in the area–includes shot of cormorants on their Hyatt Lake nest tree at that time.

Exactly zero Osprey nest sites along I-5 south of Eugene were occupied, including one that used to be occupied every spring at Emigrant Lake south of Ashland. No fish, no fowl. That reservoir will not be filled either though it is no longer just baked mud flats.

Click here for May 17th blog if you missed it--includes White-headed Woodpeckers at nest hole along Hyatt Lake shore.

Click here for May 16th blog–includes Great Gray mother on nest platform, and nesting Mountain Bluebirds.


These two were seen by Shannon Rio and I Friday afternoon. It was at Milepost 10 on Hwy 66 east and uphill from Emigrant Lake. The area is southeast of Ashland. Habitat is oak savannah.

Three images of nearby Ash-throated, then one of a very proud and possessive (redundant, I know) Western Kingbird. He and the other American kingbirds gave the family is “tyrannt” name. Best bird at MP10–flyover Purple Martin, a first for me south of Ashland despite years of birding there.

The trip to Jackson County added 18 new species to my year list–including a couple I would never get in Willamette Valley or nearby mountains–titmouse, gnatcatcher. Next time I need to get my Cal Towhee, Mockingbird and other southerly specialties.

Oregon Highway 66, MP 10, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 19, 2023
10 species

Turkey Vulture  X
Acorn Woodpecker  X
Ash-throated Flycatcher  1
Western Kingbird  2
Common Raven  X
Purple Martin 1–surprise, their nearest known nesting area is Pompadour Bluff north of Emigrant Lake
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  X
Bewick’s Wren  X
Chipping Sparrow  X
Western Meadowlark  X
Bullock’s Oriole  4

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, Oregon, US
May 19, 2023
27 species (+1 other taxa)

Mallard  X
Mallard (Domestic type)  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  X     nesting under Emigrant Creek Bridge
Mourning Dove  X
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  X
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Acorn Woodpecker  X
Northern Flicker  X
Western Kingbird  X
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Common Raven  X
Oak Titmouse  X
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  X
European Starling  X
Western Bluebird  X
American Robin  X
House Finch  X
Chipping Sparrow  X
Spotted Towhee  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Yellow Warbler  X


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