Posted by: atowhee | February 3, 2014

ASHLAND, EARLY FEBRUARY

JACKSON COUNTY: MID-WINTER REPORT
It’s mid-winter and a good time to reflect on this year’s birding in Jackson County and the records from recent winters.
• This year there have been no Red Crossbills regularly reported and no Evening Grosbeaks. Last winter our biggest finch was regular in Ashland all winter. Crossbills most winters are occasional, at least in the mountains.
• Again this year a handful of Tundra Swans seem to be wintering on prairie east of Medford.
• After Christmas Count season a Canvasback once again showed up along the Bear Creek Greenway.
• This has been a good year for Lewis’s Woodpeckers in the usual open oak woodlands in the county.
• Varied Thrush were scarce until late January. Now they can be found in the usual dark understory of our forests and parks.vath at a-pond1
• Mountain Chickadees are not often seen in the valley this year, perhaps staying in higher elevations as there is almost no snow on the tree.
No Short-eared Owls seen near Medford Airport this winter. I had missed report that SE Owls were seen in the usual spot in mid-January. I just haven’t made enough noise to scare them up in the daytime.
• Robins and Waxwings continue to be present in good numbers. Robins in the thousands this winter.
• No grebes of any kind at Emigrant Lake. Too cold? Usually a handful of Western Grebes over-winter there.
• Gulls are scarce every winter hereabouts. Occasionally one or two Ring-bills can be found at Emigrant or Agate Lakes.
• Sadly, Dippers seems to be scarce in Lithia Park. I have found no evidence of singing, courtship or nest-building. Ashland Creek is low due to drought and water storage upstream. I’ve seen a single bird since January 1st.
• The usually watery mountain meadows are dry grassland this year—will it prevent nesting by our Sandhill Cranes if they can’t dig in the baked earth with their beak? I imagine so.
• Wintering warblers include a gray-faced Orange-crowned in Talent at about 1500’…and a Townsend’s Warbler in a friend’s garden at about 2400’. Both species are usually present in very small numbers each winter.OC WARBLER Talent’s OC Warbler.
wtsp in Feb. This White-throated was photographed on Feb 2 at Ashland Pond.
White-throated Sparrows are regular here every winter in small numbers. They mix in with the large Golden-crowned Sparrow flocks in areas of dense underbrush along Bear Creek and Ashland Creek. This winter’s Swamp Sparrow was truly unusual and has now vanished from its original location.
• There have been a couple brief Vulture sightings but none are being seen regularly…yet. We can expect our first Osprey and Sandhill Cranes later this month if the year is normal.
• The drought is going to have severe effects. Marshes are dried out. Reservoirs and ponds are far below normal and will NOT fill up. Streams are low and be warmer than usual by mid-summer. It is likely the drought will have negative effects on food supplies from insects to weed seed to ground squirrels.
There was no Say’s Phoebe on the Ashland Christmas Count this year and no Northern Shrike. There are shirke in the Medford area and in Klamath Basin.

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Feb 2, 2014 11:00 AM. 21 species

American Wigeon (Anas americana) 2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 1
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 3
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 4
American Coot (Fulica americana) 11
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 3
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 4
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 16
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) 1

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