Posted by: atowhee | June 21, 2022

A HAPPY CRANE STORY

Resumed breeding on llinois prairie (click here)–it’s been decades.

Here’s picture taken recently of a colt and parent at Malheur. Drought has dramatically interfered wuith crane breeding in Harney County. Photo by Barbara Rumer:

Posted by: atowhee | June 20, 2022

SPRING DEPARTS, LEAVING ME SORAPTOMISTIC

This afternoon Nora and I did short walk at Fairview Wetlands–saw some young waterfowl. Two young Pied-billed Grebe about half the size of their adult supervisor; several Canada Geese; one young Mallard. I’ve heard that avian flu has been cpnfirmed among the birds there. A run-over goose in the street could have been weakened by the disease. It is not usual to see road killed geese there despite their large wintetr numbers and a presence year-round.

But seeing two Sora on the canal next to the transverse trail–that was optimism-inducing. They screamed at Nora before I saw one, then a second…both scampering across the water to get further away from the predator. They wouldn’t pose, neither would the skittish yellowthroat. Killdeer want to be watched so they can lead you astray.

We picked some few of the hundreds of roses now in our garden. One was accompanied into the house by a ladybug larva, soon returned to the wild. Umpressive little bug–alligator-like.
Here is an image from the Internet:

Tomorrow summer and our longest day in the Northern Hemisphere. Solstice. Earlier generations made much of June 21. Some wannabe druids still do.

Fairview Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Jun 20, 2022
11 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  X
Pied-billed Grebe  3
Sora  2
Killdeer  2
American Crow  1
Tree Swallow  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  2
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Yellowthroat  1

Posted by: atowhee | June 19, 2022

SEEING CORNERSTONE–TOM CAREY’S IMAGE JOURNAL

From yesterday’s birding trip at Cornerstone Preserve, organized and hosted by Polk County Water & Sopil Conservation District. Photographer Tom Carey was on the job, and even the flittering buntings finally gave him a shot:

Some highlights for me: it was thefirst yime I’d confirmed the presence of Acorn Woodpeckers though the mature and maturong oak groves gave promise and I’d been toild they were there. A nearly constant presence were several soaring Turkey Vultures. The male goldfinch was feeding a hungry, wing-flapping kiddie. The nyiung Violet-green Swallow rested on the peak of the roof. A pair of male Lazuli Buntings fought inside a nearby tree; made us feel like we were bwitnessing a bar brawl.

That flycatcher on a horizontal limb is our Willow Flycatcher. The fly-hawking pewee refused to come down to our level which is usual for that canopy hunter.

Then there was this final shot that made me revise the day’s checklist. Sometimes the lens sees what we miss, or misinterpret. Hiow many winter days have I gotten another shot of another RC Kinglet, then look at it at home and realize “That’s a Hutton’s Vireo?” In retrospect I admit I should have been suspicious of a kinglet suddenly posing calmly, they almost never do. Hutton’s, however, are cautious, deliberate, given to considering their next move rather than endless fluttering motion.

Orange-crowned Warbler

None of us identified this bird at the time. Did I miss one of its buzzy calls, writing each one off as another Chipping Sparrow, which is presently breeding at Cornerstone? The creekside thicket, riparian corridor, is ideal for this bird as well as the chippers, so…

Fortunately Tom’s photographic skill and speed caught this warbler before it hid behind some leaves. The lens is faster, and more reliable, than the eye…or ear.

Herewith the revised–CORRECTED–checklist:
Cornerstone preserve–Polk Water and Soil Conservation District (restricted access), Polk, Oregon, US
Jun 18, 2022
Checklist Comments:     Field trip sponsored by Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District
28 species

Band-tailed Pigeon  9
Rufous Hummingbird  1
Turkey Vulture  10
Bald Eagle  1     adult
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Acorn Woodpecker  1
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Willow Flycatcher  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Common Raven  X     heard, not seen
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
European Starling  X
Swainson’s Thrush  X
American Robin  4
Cedar Waxwing  1
American Goldfinch  2
Chipping Sparrow  X
White-crowned Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  4
Spotted Towhee  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  2
Lazuli Bunting  6

The Cornerstoner checklist on eBird now has 65 species–all recorded this year starting when we made the first scouting trip there in February.

Posted by: atowhee | June 19, 2022

WHAT WE CAN UNDERSTAND ABOUT WHAT THEY CAN UNDERSTAND

During my life there have been many changes–that’s what our species does in 75 years of war, peace, technological revolutions, population increase, global trade and profitable corporations always on the prowl. Space travel, nuclear weapons, Internet, digital information & gadgets, satellite communications, climate change, English’s linguistic domination, social and political changes unforeseen in my parents’ day, ever more chemicals for farming, manufacture and “medicine.” Perhaps one of the best changes has been the partial demise of the mid-20th Century view that people were a unique species chosen by one god to dominate all others. Those lesser creatures had no insights, no emotions, no rights or wrongs. They were put here to be used. That was my Midwest up-bringing which I have escaped.

Now many scientists, as well as those of us who pay attention to the rest of nature, know that many animals and perhaps plants register the real world and react to it. Culture, language and emotions are not limited to one species. No person who understands reality would say, today, “man the tool-maker” which was one incorrect meme formerly used to make us feel superior.

Click here for excerpt from new book summarizing what we now know about what they know, those many other organisms sharing our planet’s endangered biosphere. This part of the book describes how we create sensory pollution–lights and noise and how it alters the na tural world around us. The author repeatedly points out that Europeans and North Americans can’t see the Milky Way in the night sky.

Britain left nthe EU and that may have killed a two-decade old corvid research lab inm Cambridge, UK. Click here to read about the rooks and jays that work there …and their people, too.

What social animal like? Click here for one scientist’s view that we are like wasps. That stings, doesn’t it? Yet our species is dangerous, both individually and as a hive, or group.

Global warming may encourage natural and people-induced hybridization to strive to survive. Click here for a look at that possibility.

Posted by: atowhee | June 18, 2022

CORNERSTONE PRESERVE–BUNTING HUNTING

And this morning’s hunting was done entirely with binocs, and cameras. This field trip was sponsored by Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District, our second bird walk there this spring.

The Lazuli Bunting males were cagey, but singing frequently and occasionally appearing in public. Naturally we did not see any of the shy, drab-colored females. The bunting’s big cousin, the Black-headed Grosbeak, was singing and made one streaking flight to prove he was not a recording. Other bird sounds came from: Chipping and Song and White-crowned Sparrows, robins and Swainson’s Thrush, wood-pewee in a treetop, yellowthroat and ravens (unseen in the hilltop Doug-firs).

All but one of the band-tails passed overhead in a single flock. The vultures kettled more than once. The Acorn Woodpecker was in the hilltop oaks. The bluebirds who bred here in May were not in evidence.

Best insect of the day: tiger swallowtail butterflies.

Cornerstone Preserve–Polk Water and Soil Conservation District (restricted access), Polk, Oregon, US
Jun 18, 2022
26 species (+1 other taxa)

Band-tailed Pigeon  9
Rufous Hummingbird  1
Turkey Vulture  10
Bald Eagle  1     adult
Buteo sp.  1
Acorn Woodpecker  1
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Willow Flycatcher  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Common Raven  X     heard, not seen
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
European Starling  X
Swainson’s Thrush  X
American Robin  4
Cedar Waxwing  1
American Goldfinch  2
Chipping Sparrow  X
White-crowned Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  4
Spotted Towhee  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  X
Black-headed Grosbeak  2
Lazuli Bunting  6

Posted by: atowhee | June 16, 2022

ALBERT IN AFRICA–BIRD GALLERY


Malachite Kingfisher [5 inches long] , Common Moorhen & chick, long Crested Eagle, ,Hamerkop, Palm Nut Vulture, Gray Go-Away Bird, Gray-Crowned Crane, dark-faced babbler.

Pied Kingfisher–not a marsh bird but often dry forest–eating lizards and such.

Posted by: atowhee | June 16, 2022

NO OPEN WATER AT MILL CREEK NOW

Emergent vegetation was emerged and merged with shoreline cattails, etc.

With vegetation so dense and such good cover, there bwere few visible birds beyond the show-off red-wings and the nonchalant starlings. There was this guy:

Lack of open water meant even the swallow count was minimal.

In our Salem neighborhood the cottonwood fall-out was intense this afternoon–air looked like the aftermath of a cosmic pillow fight…but cotton instead of feathers. Trying to get all those seeds floated this spring, as summer is comin’ in. Our longest day is Tuesday. Solstice zset to take place, again this year.

All the birds above have been in our garden…except the Bewick’s Wren in motion. He was at Deepwood.

From Shannon Rio: “we drove home from summer lake a different way.  went to paisley and then went over the mountain thru the fremont forest to bly.  spectacularly beautiful with wet meadows.  when we came over what i think was gearhart mtn most of the forest was burned and that was super interesting.  then we came into a big valley before coming to hwy 140.  we saw a little bird running down the road and stopped to see 3 baby willets with mama willet yelling like crazy.  then soon after saw the mrn bluebird.”

Pics from Kirk Gooding: 

The ears have it. The eyes not so much. At the Cornerstone Preserve in Polk County, OR, this morning it was what we heard that built our checklist, not what little we saw. The foliage now is dense and luxuriant. The ability of small birds to sing unseen is maximized. Only the swallows made themselves obvious.

There will be future walks at Cornerstone and an even larger Polk County preserve, Smithfield Oaks, in the future. Email me if you are interested. Tghe walk on Jube 18 at Cornerstone is filled with long waiting list.

Cornerstone preserve–Polk Water and Soil Conservation District (restricted access), Polk, Oregon, US
Jun 16, 2022. 18 species

Mourning Dove  X
Western Wood-Pewee  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
Common Raven  X
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Cliff Swallow  X
Bewick’s Wren  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  X
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  X
Spotted Towhee  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Common Yellowthroat  X
Lazuli Bunting  3

Posted by: atowhee | June 15, 2022

A SWAN SONG–WE’RE THE CHORUS

From OUR AMAZING BIRDS by Robert Lermmon. 1951.

No longer shot commercially, Trumpeters have started to come back. A 2015 estimate was for a world population over 60-thousand. Still hunters can find reasons to kill them, especially in red states where it is legal: “oh, is that a Trumpeter?” Click here.

In answer to the next question: “Swan seasons are open in eight states, ranging from Alaska, Montana, Nevada, and Utah in the Pacific Flyway, North and South Dakota (along with the eastern half of Montana) in the Central Flyway, and Virginia and North Carolina on the Eastern seaboard.”

The species now has it’s own dedicated conservation society–click here.

Here’s a summary of the conservation efforts to bring back a breeding population in Minnesota. Click here.

The Trumpeter is the heaviest wild bird species in North America.
Here are Trumpeters at Oregon’s Summer Lake. Photos by Kirk Gooding. Summer Lajke has anough water that adut Trumpeters could breed there again this year. Some eastern oregon lakes can no longer accommodate breeding swans. They last bred at Malheur NWR in 2017.

Here are two pictures from a lake in the Twin Cities area–courtesy Marc Reigel.

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