Posted by: atowhee | July 27, 2015

WHEN A COMMON BIRD ISN’T SO COMMON

Say “Catbird” in Pennsylvania and you get yawns.  Say it at Malheur and you get interest. One trip I led to Malheur a few years ago took us to Page Springs where we turned up an Orchard Oriole.  Even Alan Contreras wanted that bird for his already loooong state life list!

I once stopped a big city birdwalk dead in New York’s Central Park simply by pointing out a single White-crowned Sparrow among all the White-throated (abundant) ones that nobody bothered to pay attention to. Oohs and Aahs over a White-crown!

And on my only birding trip in Scotland I naively claimed seeing a Lesser Scaup on Loch Garten, amongst the many Common (never Barrow’s) Goldeneye.  Even the trip leader told me I had to be wrong, until I showed him the bird in my scope.  “How did you know?” he marveled.  I explained that in some parts of the world the Lesser Scaup is a daily sight in winter, seen by the thousands even.  Turns out it was the first record of that scaup on that loch.  Sometimes naivete helps.  A year later a Lesser Scaup turned up in Regents Park, London.  I yawned, but did amble past to put in on my Brit-list.

But naivete not useful today.  Guess gulls are not an everyday occurrence around Yamhill County in summer.  Paltry summer gull records on eBird anyway.  Yet when I saw two gull species this morning on the Sheridan sewer ponds I naively shrugged and didn’t even imagine taking a photo.  Gulls, yeah…but where are the shorebirds, I thought.  Next time…

Sheridan WTP Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 27, 2015 11:30 AM – 11:45 AM.  7 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  120
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  8
California Gull (Larus californicus)  3 (all sooty first-year birds)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X

Those two gulls plus my first Yellow Warbler and Juncos in the county bring my month list up to 62, also my life-list.  As ducks and other migrants get more common later this year I can add some birds not present now.  Plus I am still missing some birds that are here year round: Western Bluebird, California Quail, Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  I need to get unpacked and get out more.

Baker Creek Road, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 27, 2015 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM.  15 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)  3
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  8
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  6
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  15
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  12
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  2BALLOON TREE (960x1280)Above is the scarce Oregon balloon tree. You can see that it’s in full balloom.  Below Pewee profiled. PEWEE (1280x960)Apparently headless Turkey Vultures on neighboring posts. TV FENCED (1280x960)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: