Posted by: atowhee | October 5, 2018


Tick, not ticking.  Click here to see book subtitled “The first epidemic of climate change.”

Click here for information on Lyme Disease in Oregon.  It is still far more prevalent among tick bite victims in the northeastern U.S.where it first came to attention in North America.  Deer ticks in Oregon seem to have, so far, a far lower rate of carrying the bacteria than ticks in the northeast.

Posted by: atowhee | October 5, 2018


Click here for Cornell University’s answer.  Big number but much smaller than our trade deficit with China which is what our President cares about so much.  Meanwhile, sane people can observe the annual avian cycle all around us.

Posted by: atowhee | October 5, 2018


Many young birds brave violent death in their early days.  Wood Ducks only a few days old must leap from a cavity nest in a tree, sometimes thirty feet up, bounce on the ground and then follow mom to the nearest water when they can still barely run and not fly a bit.  Then they have to dodge Blue Herons, otter and other predators when they are little more than a bite full.

Marbled Murrelets are born high in redwoods and other old growth conifers along the Pacific Coast of North America.  Sometimes they are ten miles inland from the Pacific itself.  When it is time to leave those nests the young murrelets have never flown before, nor have they ever been in water.  They must make it all the way to the ocean on the first and only  chance they get, wings beating, heart at full throttle.

But here is video of young Barnacle Geese, leaping from their nest site high on sea-side cliffs, rocks and sharks and sea lions and other fans of goose flesh waiting below.

I am offering a birding day in early May in the Klamath Basin.  It is being auctioned off by Klamath Bird Observatory as part of their fall fund-raising gala.  KBO GALAYou can go to the KBO website to bid on items before the gala…like that brilliant trip to Klamath when we hope to see dancing grebes on Klamath Lake. Click here for link to online auction for myriad cool bird-related items.


Posted by: atowhee | October 5, 2018


I have long wondered how the world will treat the millions of Bangladeshi when they have to leave their nation as the sea invades.  Probably no better than we treat those fleeing the drought and civil war stricken nations of the Mideast and northern Africa.  Can you image a worse human fate than to be born in Somalia?

Now comes speculation about how the U.S. will cope with its own shifts in climate as smoke and heat and water shortages hit the already, naturally arid west.

Just this harvest season a major California wine conglomerate cancelled its purchase contracts for grapes from southern Oregon–reason: fire smoke ruined the flavor.  It may simply be that a wine grape glut made the contract cancellations by the purchase a good business move…but “smoke damage” is likely to become a major cause of winery stress in the future.

Forest fire smoke plagued the Rogue River Valley in southwestern Oregon this past summer.  One victim: Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF)…where they have to cancel over two dozen outdoor performances, leading to refunds, leading further to income loss. Now come the lay-offs, one-eighth of the administrative staff.

OSF is already trying to figure out to put a roof on its outdoor theatre.

Finally, we don’t really know the long-term import of breathing forest fire smoke.  Can’t imagine the current regime in Washington approving spending tax dollars to study such a silly concern…that would just add more fantasy to the hoax of climate change, right?

I am offering a birding day in early May in the Klamath Basin.  It is being auctioned off by Klamath Bird Observatory as part of their fall fund-raising gala.  KBO GALAYou can go to the KBO website to bid on items before the gala…like that brilliant trip to Klamath when we hope to see dancing grebes on Klamath Lake. Click here for link to online auction for myriad cool bird-related items.


Posted by: atowhee | October 3, 2018


MY good friend, and co-author of our book on Great Gray Owls, Peter Thiemann and his camera are in Yellowstone.  For a complete digest of his great photos, look up Peter J Thiemann on flickr, meanwhile, a few recent shots:IMG_2684IMG_2734IMG_2930IMG_3065Yes, those are wolves…safe, for now, from hunters…

Posted by: atowhee | October 1, 2018


Today was the FIRST of October and today the FIRST juncos of the season appeared beneath our hanging feeders.  Now I can expect to see one or more of them every day for months to come. Juncos were consistently present, sometimes more than three dozen at once, from January through the third week of April.  Then off they went to breed in coniferous forests, some far to the north, others perhaps nearby in the Coast Range and Cascades.  Juncos don’t require northern latitudes nor high elevation…they breed in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at less than 100-foot elevation.  They do require dense canopy and deep shade to help conceal their nests on the ground.

All summer I had only two brief juncos visits, one day in July, another day in August. No juveniles.  I expect those juncos were visiting adults, on vacation after nesting and rearing young in nearby Rotary Park.

Also the MDS must have dropped off a shipment of flickers overnight.  A short walk in our neighborhood today exposed at least a half dozen of them.  These strangers were hanging out in places I rarely see them.  Oh, MDS stands for “Migration Delivery Service.”  MDS will be bringing along Fox Sparrows, Golden-crowned Sparrows, probably Varied and Hermit Thrush and thousands of ducks and geese for wet season marshes.  Can’t wait.atoppAbove, flicker so disoriented he is sharing a  cedar top with two starlings.  Like any tourist on a strange subway line.

Below, flicker up a pole.  Thinking to himself, “Geez, we don’t have strange trees like this in the Yukon?!”atopp2

Posted by: atowhee | October 1, 2018


Posted by: atowhee | October 1, 2018


I birding friend of mine in the Eureka area, Sandy Popko, had a bang-up time in late September as unusual shorebirds just couldn’t stay away.  Here’s her email:

“We have been back to Centerville Beach 3 out of the last 4 days and truly have had such an extraordinary birding experience.  First day, was the Wood Sandpiper, next day the Sharp-tailed sandpiper (could take it’s photo next to the Pectoral so clearly saw the difference) and then the 3rd day saw the Pacific Golden Plover!  Should run out and buy us a lotto ticket.”

Here are Sandy’s pics; in both the Sharpie is back to the camera.  Pectoral in back on the right:

Posted by: atowhee | September 30, 2018


There was a flock of White-crowned Sparrows at Yamhill Sewer Ponds this morning, out-numbering all the other species there except the local starlings.  They were feeding in the teasel and the hawthorn, the high weeds and thistles.  Most were first year birds, all newly arrived from further north.wcs in weed

Other migrants there today: shovelers now more numerous than the local Mallards, Barn Swallows, TVs, American Goldfinches, robins, a single Audubon’s Warbler. The only surprise was a Red-breasted Sapsucker flying across an open field.  But he soon found a hawthorn tree and disappeared inside.  The male Wood Ducks had passed through their flightless stage and are now gussied up in their breeding costume, what style, what showduckship!

Here is Mallard pair resting on, er, floating matter in a sewage pond:mall float

Here’s a recent Red-beasted Sapsuc ker, not today’s fly-by.  This one was on maple trunk at Wennerberg Park:RBS AT GRNFLL

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Sep 30, 2018 10:45 AM.  22 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  7
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  50
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  30
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  3
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  5
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Barn Swallow (American) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster)  25
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  30
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  200
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  25
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  40
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  60
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  15
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)  1

Posted by: atowhee | September 29, 2018


BS ON LINEBS ON LINE2Barn Swallows a week ago on Grand Island.  I’ve only seen four near my house in the past five days.  Most gone south…   Below, quail on Grand Island:CQ IN ROADTwo dozing geese on shore of Hagg Lake, domestics gone feral?  Look at that hair do on the left:DOM GEESE

suet partySVANN2TY--UP

Above: Bushtits…Savannah Sparrow…TV


Why did the otters climb the dam at Hagg Lake?  Only the otters know.  Click on any image to enlarge it.

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