Posted by: atowhee | July 19, 2014


My birding class on immature birds had our field trip today. Despite the blazing sun and too-hot morning, we saw many young birds. Juveniles we saw begging for food or following adults around: Belted Kingfisher at Ashland Pond, Northern Flicker at North Mountain, Bullock’s Orioles at Ashland Pond, Crow at North Mountain Park.
Other juveniles we saw on their own, more-or-less: Wood Duck, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Green heron at Ashland Pond, California and Ring-billed Gulls at Emigrant Lake, Western Kingbird at Emigrant Lake, Scrub-Jay, Mountain Bluebird at Lily Glen, American Robin and Starling at North Mountain Park, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, American Goldfinch.
Also, there was Tree Swallow still carrying food to a nest box at North Mountain.
Did I mention the Screech-Owl young in their maple in Lithia Park? How could I forget…




OSY DIVEOneof three Osprey fishing at Emigrant Lake, continuing their tutorial on how to fish like a pro.

OSY-HANGcyte1 (1280x960)Coyote at Lily Glen where this male juvenile Mountain Bluebird was as well.



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Male Western Tanager, Keno Access Road.
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The class was sponsored by the Ashland Rec and Parks Dept. through the Nature Center.

My personal best bird of the day was the lone Semipalmated Plover at Emigrant Lake, first I’ve seen here this fall though others have found the species elsewhere in the county.

North Mountain Park, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 19, 2014 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM. 14 species

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 3
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 3
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 5
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 6
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 15
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) 1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 4
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) 3
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 2
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 1

Lithia Park, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 19, 2014 9:30 AM – 9:50 AM
5 species

Western Screech-Owl (Megascops kennicottii) 3
Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi) 4 seen in afternoon, after field trip ended
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 4

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 19, 2014 10:10 AM – 10:40 AM. 11 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 5
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) 2
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 2
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 4
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) X
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) 1
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) 5
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 25

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 19, 2014 11:15 AM – 11:45 AM. 18 species

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 4
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 4
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 2
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 3
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) 1
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 2
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 1
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 8
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 2
California Gull (Larus californicus) 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) 1
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 4
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 4
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 1

Lily Glen Park, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 19, 2014 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM. 3 species

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 2

Keno Access Road, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 19, 2014 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM. 5 species

Common Raven (Corvus corax) 6
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 1
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 6
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 3
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) 2

Posted by: atowhee | July 18, 2014


There were two visible owlets int he hollow maple this morning in Lithia Park. By 6pm that had been halved to a single owlet. I could not find the others in a cursory search of nearby trees. They’re flying more and moving further afield as is normal. Soon they’ll be all but untracable. Last night one of the parent owls was hooting around our back door about 2AM. Owl hours they keep.
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I keep taking owl pictures. One alleged friend has accused me of no longer being a photographer and having into a hootographer. Perhaps that means I no longer take photos but instead take hootos?

By friend Terry Doyle.Screech owls - Lithia Park-1 (904x1280)

Screech owls - Lithia Park-2 (1280x1156)

Screech owls - Lithia Park-3 (991x1280)

Posted by: atowhee | July 17, 2014


owlet-duo1Around 9AM< three owlets in the hollow nest tree. One in nearby laurel. This afternoon the ratio was reversed: one in big tree, three in laurel. A present and counted.P2080293 (1280x960)

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Posted by: atowhee | July 17, 2014


For the first time since California Condors were released back into the wild a chick has been born in southern Utah. The nesting condors are in a remote canyon in Zion National Park. Click here to read more.
There are still less than four hundred condors on earth and they are still subject to pesticide and lead shot poisoning.
The Yurok Indian nation in northern California continues its push to return condors to their land along the Trinity River. Part of their preparation for possible federal permit to bring back condors to Nor-Cal is a field testing program of existing wildlife in the region–checking for lead levels, DDT, etc. All those wonderful poisons we humans dump heedlessly into the environment. Click here for more on Yurok research going on now.

Posted by: atowhee | July 17, 2014


I got a chance to monitor a class on fishing today. It was being taught by professionals. I’ve watched a lot of fishermen in my day. I even did some pond and river fishing when I was a kid in the Ozarks. I’ve been on ocean fishing boats out of San Francisco Bay. I’ve admired fly fishermen with the skill of making an elegant cast into a crystalline mountain stream. But never have I seen better fishing skills than I witnessed today. This class was taught by the consummate fishing experts.
If you’re born an Osprey you’re born into the family business. That family business is fishing. It has been for eons. It is most definitely in the blood. At one point today I stood for some time on the shore of Emigrant Lake as four Osprey soared, hovered and fished together. I could not discern which were the adult birds and which were fledglings. But the aerobatics and fish-focus were superb.
osy-3in air (1280x960)Look closely in this picture. One Osprey is in upper right hand corner, the other two are left of the peak of the knoll against the blue sky. Maybe click on the picture to blow it up.
Now, matriculate this:













Notice how superbly and subtly they control the position and use of each wing feather. Open fingers or closed, stragith wing or crooked at the wrist.







Twice I saw one of the Osprey come up with a fish. But there was a lot of work and numerous aborted dives and even some empty-taloned splashdowns between catches.OWITHFISH1


These nest two pictures show the Osprey’s built-in fish fork, the curved beak.


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The Osprey comes up from the lake with a fish “in hand.”
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P2080044 (1280x960) A Bald Eagle came by but didn’t stick around, perhaps my presence annoyed him. His presence certainly spooked the Mallards, gulls and Blue Heron who all flew off when he passed over.

Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2014


The Western Screen-Owlets were performing their usual daytime function in Lithia Park. They were lazing about, snoozing mostly, and decorating a couple of trees. Their inherent cuteness (as long as you are not a mouse) does not go unappreciated by observant passers-by.
Today’s tally: three in the nest tree, one in nearby laurel.owl hides




Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2014


Houston is not only the center of our beloved petroleum industry, it is now vying for the capital of bird murder. A local TV station recently exposed the bird poisoning program at Houston Airport (actually named for a Bush) so that airplanes won’t be endangered by smaller flying objects. It is not clear if the airport ever tried to use noise-makers that are commonly used by agri-business to keep birds out of crops. Maybe they didn’t want the noise drowning out the wonderful music from the jet engines?
Of course, Texas is one of those states that would oppose any attempt to introduce high-speed trains that would immediately be more efficient than flying from say Houston to Dallas or Oklahoma City.

Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2014


Twice in the past few days I have seen a Dipper foraging along upper Ashland Creek. This is around and inside the uppermost culvert on Granite Street. That’s just upstream from the swimming reservoir about sixty yards and across the gravel street from the road to Reeder Reservoir.
Both sightings have been in the evening. Each time the bird was singing. The second time the Dipper settled down inside the upper end of the culvert and began to hunt in the shallow riffles where the creek first enters the culvert.

Posted by: atowhee | July 15, 2014


Shorebird migration is well under way. Counting resident Killdeer I had eight species in a one-hour visit under broiling sun today. I wanted to get into the water along with the geese and the dog.
caspian is elegant

DCORMS--GULLA Double-crested Cormorant drying his wings while swimming. Rung-billed Gull to the right.

gyel--lesa2 Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers.

lbdow--3Long-billed Dowitchers.
Least Sandpiper below:

One adult Osprey was hunting over the lake. A second, juvenile Opsrey, was perched on nest platform not far from lake.
osp apprch

osp at watr

osp deprts

osp flap

osp legs down

osp pulls up

osp wheels down
Here’s an email I got from Jeff Tufts who regularly birds Agate Lake because he lives much closer than I do:
“Harry– It’s been a good year for the Ospreys at Agate. One pair used the nest platform that’s been active the last few years—right next to Dry Creek Road and on your left as you head south for the parking area. Those youngsters (3 of them I think) are pretty well grown, and I think the parents are at the stage where they’re reluctant to let them continue free-loading.

There’s another platform being used that’s on East Antelope a short ways past the turnoff for Dry Creek Road. Not sure if those youngsters have ventured off the nest.

And a few days ago I saw an adult carrying a fish away from the lake but not in the direction of either of the above nest platforms. Could be a third active nest it was heading for, and maybe it was one of the parents looking for a quiet spot to eat without a begging youngster in attendance.

I’m pretty sure there was only one active nest there last year (the one next to Dry Creek Road).

Jeff T”

phal--lesaPhalarope is preening in these two photos. The big bird is one of the yellowlegs.




In this shorebird clusters there are dowitchers, phalarope (very pale), yellowlegs (tallest) and Least Sandpiper. I did not intentionally shoot these in black and white. Feels very retro.

weki upWestern Kingbird.

WHITE-LINEPelicans in a line. Wilson’s Phalarope below:

wil phalThe Wilson’s Snbipe were hidden in the shoreline grass and flew off without any chance of a photo.
Agate Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Jul 15, 2014 11:00 AM. 26 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 80
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 1
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 2
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 14
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 2
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 14
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 2
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 7
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 50
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) 2
Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) 16 HAVE PHOTOS ON MY BLOG FOR THIS DATE
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) 2
Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) 1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 13
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) 1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 6
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 8

Posted by: atowhee | July 15, 2014


Four newly fledged Western Screech-Owlets in the same cedar in Ashland’s Lithia Park today. The cedar is about fifteen yards uphill from the hollow nest tree where they began their lives. Here are Peter Thiemann’s pictures of the youth:
Screech 5
Screech 7
Screech 1

Screech 2

Screech 3

Screech 4

Screech 6

owl peep



These black and white photos are a result of my camera-klutziness.

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