Click here for interview (which has youtube video embedded) with man who says his 20-year search led to video of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

This video lasts over 50-minutes and you get to see the video of the subject woodpecker at different speeds. Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment. Will they continue to call the IBW “extinct?”

Last April a team of scientists released a report that they believed they had found IBWs alive in a Louisiana forest. Click here for summary of that. Click here for National Aviary’s report.

Posted by: atowhee | July 20, 2022

ROICKY MOUNTAIN, HIYA

Some shots from my friend, James Charles Wilson, around his home in Golden, CO.

Above: Western Tanager; Spotted Towhee; Bullock’s Oriole–all in Wilson’s garden at 6070 feet.
Male Red-winged Blackbird; three images of Snowy (corrected as you can see the edge of his yellow ankles) Egret–Belmar Park, Lakewood, at 5541 feet.
Four images of juvie red-wing, Wheatridge Greenbelt, 5450 feet elevation.

Posted by: atowhee | July 19, 2022

WHAT’S HOT, WHAT’S NOT

Inflation in the US is hot. The economy and housing market were hot, now maybe not-hot Crypto-currency? Shush, what’s real is being kept secret. In reality, where skies and birds and trees exist, there are no secrets to those who still trust evidence.

It’s hot in many places. Tuesday (fast going by in Europe) saw temp records shattered in Britain–for hot, not cold. Click here.

Why hot–click here for a look at causes.

A close friend who lives in London wrote this: “I have to say ‘glad you’re not here!’   It’s too hot to sit in the garden, which is mostly shaded by shrubs and trees that have grown enormously in the past ten years or so.  The last time I felt such hot wind was in Egypt’s Western Desert, in April 2009…We head to Devon for three nights to visit old friends…we’re going by train as those rails haven’t buckled in the heat like the rail line from London to Leeds and York!”

Our youngest son lives in a town north of London. It was 105F outside his house today. Few homes in England have air conditioning.

A whole section of the USA continues to bake right now. Click here–good map with deep colors.

Meanwhile, our nation shuffles into a future that makes me pity today’s youngsters. Click here. It could get so horrid they will recall school shooting drills as the “good old days.” Like our generation with our never-needed atomic bomb drills. There will be statues to the honor of Senator Manchin.

A global co-operative effort by activists and artists has been launched online, outside official control. Click here to read about the new World Weather Network.

Posted by: atowhee | July 18, 2022

SMITHFIELD OAKS, POLK COUNTY, GALLERY

Here are Tom Carey’s images of life at Smithfield Oaks Preserver, maintained by Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District. We were there on a scouting trip last week. Click on image to enlarge.

Birds, from upper left: male junco; male American goldfinch, color already fading; Lazuli Bunting up and far away; two pewee shots, one in flight; two Purple Finch images–they loved those serviceberries; White-crowned Sparrow adult; likely juvie, not female, Common Yellowthroat. Upper right flower is a brodeia.

To see the report and checklist for that visit, click here.

Posted by: atowhee | July 18, 2022

LOOK AROUND–HOT & BAD

Europe has California-style forest fires. Click here.

Britain is hot–and we’re not talkin’ rock or politics now. Click here.

Dry Montana. Dust kills-click here.

At this rate the US Supreme Court seems determined to let nature kill more–seems to be better than actual government regulations. Click here.

Is Texas the new hell? One resident is beginning to think so, click here.

Maybe any city can now be hellish in the hotter heat. Click here.

Posted by: atowhee | July 17, 2022

WHATSA HOATZIN?

Click to read how even though you can see bird in the real world, he refuses to co-operate with efforts to classify and categorize and nail down genetic relations… “What family tree?” say he.
My crude pics were taken twelve years ago with my first, cheap digital camera. Now look below…

Here’s a real photo of hoatzin from real photographer, Albert Ryckman (taken in Peruvian Amazon lowlands).

And then try to believe this:

Long-billed Woodcreeper. Over a foot long, found in lowlands east of the Andes. This one was at Sani Lodge, where I also got my hoatzin pics, along the Rio Napo.

Galliformes morning. First sounds this dawn–a neighbor’s chicken hen boastfully cackling over her newly laid egg. Reminded me I hadn’t eatern breakfast even though I’d already placated the crows and jays with their first srerving of peanuts. Soon, it was peafowl! Pavo cristatus.
Pavo=peacock. Cristatus=crested. It was a male with two females, or one female and one juvie as one was noticably smaller.

This trio was a couple blocks from our garden–at home with traffic, porches, not even fussed about our old dog walking with me.

Here is an email comment I freceived after this was posted: “Ahhh, yes. I wonder if these birds are related to the ones I became familiar with in college. I went to Western Oregon University in Monmouth in the late “aughts” and frequently took River Rd S from Independence to Salem to make use of my parents’ washer and dryer. There was at the time a persistent population of feral peafowl in the woods along the road which were vocal enough that they could be heard easily and over the sound of traffic of the windows were down. –Joseph” 

Google explains: “Peafowl are forest birds that nest on the ground, but roost in trees. They are terrestrial feeders. All species of peafowl are believed to be polygamous. In common with other members of the Galliformes, the males possess metatarsal spurs or “thorns” on their legs used during intraspecific territorial fights with some other members of their kind.” Click here for whole wikipedia entry.
There is a peafowl flock in Portland that is apparently popular with local homonids. Click here.

One reader sent me this email; Scott Parsons wrote–

“There is a quite large, and I assume self-sustaining, population at Horning’s Hideout in rural Washington County outside North Plains. They are common enough that they’ve been adopted as the logo/symbol by the String Summit music festival held there each summer…”
Another reader wrote this–“Marcia F. Cutler: “I was asked about peacocks in Corvallis last month (June) and through several conversations found out that they were being seen in various areas in Corvallis and northward – particularly along the base of the first hills rising to the west above the valley floor–specifically: Grant Ave & Hillcrest; in the Timberhill area just west of 29th and Walnut; around Highland & Lewisburg Rd. They’ve also been reported in the neighborhood near the Jackson-Frazier wetlands in NE Corvallis. One second-hand comment was that there were escapees from a place north of Corvallis.”

One blog I found reported this: “They’re not native, but they have invaded the odd suburb, especially in Arcadia near Los Angeles where they have taken over the Los Angeles Arboretum where they filmed portions of the Jurassic Park movies. My DIL completed her Phd. dissertation on that flock and returns each year to the lett to speak to the assembled fanciers. There’s another flock in Surrey, B.C. where the ‘Feral Peacocks Attacking Cars’ was a CBC headline last year.”

The Arb is proud of its peafowl, in southern California since 1879. Click here for arboretum’s info on THEIR peafowl.

Birds of the World says: “Semi-domesticated and feral populations are variously distributed throughout North America…Introduced and established in a few localities in s. California, numbering “in the hundreds”. Large groups occur in w. San Gabriel Valley and in residential and semiwild areas of Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles Co. Hardy reported 20–30 adults and undetermined number of subadults in area of Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, and Portuguese Bend. Smaller breeding populations are scattered throughout coastal slopes of s. California, many of them confined to a single ranch or farm (K. Garrett pers. comm.). Although established within these localities, they are not considered viable feral populations…Occurs in several counties in Florida (Sumter, Seminole, Lake, Orange, Hernando, Citrus, Brevard, Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Saint Lucie, Martin, Volusia, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, and Palm Beach Cos.), with nesting confirmed in the last 5 listed. Also found on Lignumvitae Key, Monroe Co. Despite its widespread distribution, ‘it is doubtful that this species is established and independent of man anywhere in Florida at this time’. Also widely introduced in West Indies but only established on Little Exuma in the Bahamas where fairly common but secretive…Introduced and established in the Hawaiian Is. of O‘ahu (Wai‘anae Mtns. and Koko Crater), Maui (southern slopes of Haleakalä Volcano), and Hawai‘i…First introduction on record in Hawaiian Is. dates back to 1860.”

IN THE HARD-EDGED REALITY BEYOND THE PEA-BIRDS

Our one large cedar is dead at the top. “Top dieback in western redcedar is a common symptom of drought stress, which has been a major factor causing tree health problems in our area lately. The heat and drought episodes over the last 5 years have triggered many problems for previously healthy trees.”
Click here to read whole, sad story. As I’ve blogged before, the drought is also killing Doug-fir, among others.

Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2022

ICELAND–TAKE 2

Here is more from Albert Ryckman’s recent expedition to Iceland and its offshore isles.
“My visit to Iceland and Grimsey Island turned out to not be just about Puffins. Think about it.  Where do a lot of migratory birds start migrating from?
Why the Far North of course where the land of the Midnight Sun provides an ideal birthplace for a myriad of migrant species. Cohabiting the vertical cliffs with Murres and Razorbills were vast numbers of Kittiwakes (a glorified gull).”


   Puffins in their Burrows, Kittiwakes on their cliffs.

The only predator on the Island is the Skua also known as the Parasitic Jaeger.

“We only saw one on one occasion.  We were sitting above the cliffs photographing Puffins-in-flight.  Suddenly we watched Kittiwakes in their hundreds boil squawking from their unseen nests below us.  Turned out a Skua swept along the cliff face, selected his choice of fat chicks and then proceeded to devour it in front of it’s horrified parents.  We were told that after the visitors are gone the Islanders shoot  Skua.  We were also told that each year the Islanders harvest thousands of puffins for their meat by netting them in flight.” Skua (jaeger) with chick:

Razorbills–when I saw these birds in Farne Islands, I, too was enthralled. Most alcids are handsome or colorful or drab (murrelets?)…these are elegant. Golden Plover. Redshank. European Oystercatcher.

Godwit in flight

Arctic Terns–wear your hat and stay away from the young on the ground–they’re coming at ya. Guillemot. Goldern plover. Common Snipe. Red-necked Phalarope. Snow Bunting. European Oystercatcher. Redshank on a mound. Whimbrel in voice & in air.

Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2022

DANCER UNDER CLOUDS

It was cool, almost drizzly, windless and birdy this morning as our McMinnville Park & Rec birding class held its first summer field trip. As we gathered near the parking lot swallows scurried across the sky; finches sang from nearby perches; robins hunted across the newly mowed playing fields. Then our lone waxwing of the day perched in a nearby treetop where its crest and black mask were visible. We watched the heavens for a swift and one appeared among the invisible sky streaks of the dozens of dining swallows. The fast-flutter-then-coast flight pattern and the scimitar wing outline were easily viewed from our groundlings’ viewpoint.

Two morning highlights were bright lights. We got good, close views of the park’s most colorful birds. Not one, but two male Western Tanagers allowed views. The cherry-colored face yet in place before the late summer fade out. The second male was clearly gathering food in its beak to carry off to nestlings. Finally we could no longer just listen and imagine the nearby singing BH Grosbeaks, a male dropped down into shrubs right in front of us. All morning we saw robins ferrying food from lawn to nest sites. One flicker joined them out in wormland. Already there were numerous spot-chested fledgling robins out in world-beyond-nest:

In one willow a fluffed-up forlorn young Tree Swallow sat. Then a second bird zoomed in and landed not far off. No offering of food. Some wing-fluttering from the newcomer. We guessed it was a parent goading youngster to get into the air. “Hey, junior, flutter those wings. See? Get going, then you can eat.” Junior stayed put and the presumed adult departed to go swallow insects.

Despite bold coloring it was sometimes difficult to pick out the tanager in the dense foliage and criss-crossing branches of the riparian forest:

Above: young cottontails; young crow; House Finch. Other young we saw included both goldfinches and Purple Finch; towhee; Song Sparrow; nuthatch adult with kid following; adult chickadee, ditto.

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 16, 2022 8:55 AM – 11:55 AM. 24 species
Checklist Comments:     McMinnville bird class field trip

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Vaux’s Swift  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  3
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Flicker  3
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Bewick’s Wren  X
Swainson’s Thrush  6
American Robin  50
Cedar Waxwing  1
House Finch  X
Purple Finch  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  X
Song Sparrow  X
Spotted Towhee  X
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Western Tanager  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  4

Posted by: atowhee | July 15, 2022

HEIGH-HO THE DERRY-O*, A-BUNTING WE WILL GO

Four of us birded the Smithfield Oaks property in northern Polk County this morning. It is owned by the Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District. It is over 180 acres, more than double the size of the Cornerstone Preserve further west in Polk County. Smithfield is mostly rolling hills with extensive stands of mature, native oak. There are stands of Douglas fir on hilltops. There is the usual mix of native trees and shrubs: bigleaf maple, willow, serviceberry with a rich fruit crop right now. Many of the common invasives are present as well: teasel, Canada thistle, hawthorns, blackberries, cowbirds. We did not see collared-doves, House Sparrows nor starlings…not even any Canada Geese on the small manmade pond.

The Purple Finches were happily singing from high perches. Loud & clear, short & sweet–the purple’s loud refrain. No wonder–we watched them eagerly scarfing down serviceberries. Besides scolding from red-wings and Spotted Towhees, one of the persistent bird songs came from Lazuli Bunting. Only occasionally did one see fit to be seen. Through our visit of over 2 hours we were never long without the rapid whispers of the “laz.” Clearly they approve of Smithfield as much as we oak-lovers do. The only difference: they get to sing wearing feathers, we can’t do either very well.

We saw young of several species: Mallard, wood-pewee, cowbird, American and Lesser Goldfinch, junco, towhee, Orange-crowned Warbler, yellowthroat.

Above: the terrain; faded male American Goldfinch having a serviceberry snack–already he’s losing that bright yellow so necessary for spring courtship; serviceberries galore; wood-pewee, sun or shade? Just show me the bugs!

We saw a variety of dragonflies over the sun-warmed grassy slope. Also many wildflowers both native and not: brodeia among them.

Before I joined the group, I spent a bit of time on the Morgan Lake Trail at Baskett Slough:

The young bunny seemed stunned at my presence–was I his first-ever homonid encounter?

Here’s my best shot of the day–fledgling Bewick’s Wren at Morgan Lake Trailhead–no tail yet!!! But the kiddo could still fly:

*”Derry” is an old English word (based on even older Gaelic word) for oak grove, and that’s where we were this morning.

Smithfield Oaks–Polk SWCD, Polk, Oregon, US
Jul 15, 2022. 24 species

Mallard  9     female with eight juveniles
Rufous Hummingbird  1
Turkey Vulture  2
American Kestrel  1
Western Wood-Pewee  6
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
House Wren  1
Swainson’s Thrush  1
American Robin  2
Purple Finch  6
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  X
junco 8
White-crowned Sparrow  15
Song Sparrow  25
Spotted Towhee  12
Red-winged Blackbird  6
Brown-headed Cowbird  1     juvenile with Song Sparrow foster parents
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
Black-headed Grosbeak  1
Lazuli Bunting  8     numerous singing males

Baskett Slough NWR–Morgan Lake Trail, Polk, Oregon, US
Jul 15, 2022
20 species

Canada Goose  72
Mallard  40
Pied-billed Grebe  1
American Coot  1
Turkey Vulture  X
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Kestrel  X
American Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Bewick’s Wren  1     juvie with no tail yet
European Starling  X
American Robin  1
Song Sparrow  X
Spotted Towhee  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Yellowthroat  5

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