Posted by: atowhee | August 26, 2015

ENLIGHTENING MONOTONY

I was in Rotary Park again mid-morning.  I missed the dawn because I had too many errands to get done.  So the day had settled into the expected late summer quietude.  A few raucous warning shots from the local Steller’s Jays.  Half a whinny from some treetop Robin. The Chestnut-backed Chickadees and an inkling of Bushtits coursed through the trees, soundless.  The only sound from two different Anna’s Hummingbirds was a little wing buzzing during acceleration…their version of laying rubber in a hotrod.  First a few honks from a White-breasted Nuthatch with long rests in between; then a far-off set of triplets from a Red-breasted version.  Some ill-tempered-sounding snarls from a Spotted Towhee–heard but not seen. A female Flicker gave me a looking over and few sharp “clear” calls.  Her drumming was very soft, for food not territorial messaging. Then a series of rough-edged downward slurring calls,  each the same. Memorable only because the series ran past a dozen individual calls.  Then I saw the bird, a juvenile Hutton’s Vireo.  Saddled with the usual competitive handicaps of vireos in a warbler’s world, none of the vireos are wildly successful like the Robin or Mourning Dove.  While the Red-eyed at least is widespread in American forests, the Hutton’s is confined to only low elevation woods of a certain type in the west. Badly beset by invasive cowbirds the Hutton’s Vireo is nowhere abundant and has disappeared from parts of its former range. At least this youngster does not have to migrate this fall as do most other vireo species.  And his monotonous call is a enlightening field trait, alerting a birder to watch for motion in the trees.

McMinnville Rotary Park (Tice Park), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 26, 2015 9:45 AM – 10:20 AM.  10 species

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  2
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Hutton’s Vireo (Vireo huttoni)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  2
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  4
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1

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Responses

  1. “laying rubber” – perfect analogy. You were on a roll today.


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