Posted by: atowhee | July 6, 2017

ESCAPE TO SILVER FALLS

Fireworks are very hard on our nerves and our dog’s digestive and nervous systems, so we hied ourselves to a quieter place.

Monday, July 3.  We arrived at Silver Falls SP about 245PM.  On the highway up from the Willamette Valley we passed: blooming foxglove, yellow composites, purple vetch, bleeding hearts,  an elderberry in bloom, yellow-eyed daisies.  Most of the foxglove are purplish but an occasional stalk will carry creamy white blooms, less than 5% of the total of blooming plants.

Mammals we saw included: Douglas squirrel, Townsend chipmunk, an unidentified bat, and brush rabbit.

At Wheatland Ferry there were waxwings fly-catching over the river.  Also a first-year Bald Eagle going downstream, Osprey on nest, Junco, TV.

At Silver Falls after walk along nature trail by the campground with Nora: Steller’s Jays, Robins, Swainson’s Thrush, Black-headed Grosbeak, WesternTanager, Song Sparrow, Band-tailed Pigeon, hummer (Rufus according to my photo). Also Tree Swallow and Cedar Waxwings.  Crows were heard late in the day. One large chipmunk and one small cottontail.  Several Douglas squirrels.

Trees in lowland forest here: Doug-fir, alder, willow, cedar, hazel.  Blooming here: thimbleberry, foxglove, foam flower, mimulus up to four feet tall, salal. Saw one blue-eyed grass in bloom. Various small white flowers and one pink flowering bush that looks like a ceanothus.  Some of the bracken are over six feet tall.

Late in the evening a BH Grosbeak male sang outside our cabin.  After dark there were frogs singing.

Tuesday, July 4,  Parade of campers and children, many on bikes at 11AM.  Local fire trucks and rangers’ truck included.  Only march music came from a boom box carried by female ranger.  No fireworks, thank you.

New flowers: checkermallow, Columbia lily, purple mint, foamflower, baldhip rose is correct name.  Present but not blooming are skunk cabbage and wood sorrel.  The mimulus is mimulus guttatus which grows about a foot high in Bay Area, here up to five feet.

Birds:  TV(2) over the South Falls, TRSW, VGSW, BUSH, CEWA, AMRO, STJA, CROW, CORA, Dipper near footbridge next to campsite #66, OCWA* on nature trail, SOSP, SPTO, SWTH calling and singing all around, NOFL (2), KF, RUHU (2), BHGR, WETA, PUFI.   *Responded aggressively when I pished after hearing him sing once.  That gave Julie a very handy close-up view,.

Warm day with high near 80.  Hiked to Upper North Falls and bind South Falls.

Wed. July 5–Quiet, calm, sunny day. High in the mid-80s. Up early. Dawn first lights the treetops.  As the sun rises in the east the bright light works its way down the side of the east-facing trees.  The exposed lengths of Douglas-fir trunk are pale in the early morning glow.  A troop of Steller’s Jays works across the campground—no picnic table, patch of earth or pavement or lawn, no porch or roof is unchecked. Ten rag=pickers union can be assured all is done according to requirements for thoroughness. The jays leave no crumb unturned.  At the same time they are a militant militia at ready to attack any cousin crow of raven that ventures into the vicinity.

Today’s dawn chorus is mostly Swainson’s Thrushes singing, the jays work silently so as not to arouse campers or dogs or suspicion.  One BH Grosbeak joins in song.  The cottontail, chipmunk and Douglas squirrel are all about, the cottontail the most secretive.

It is chilly and I wrap both hands around a mug of hot tea.  I am wearing my sox for warmth, for the first time in several days. Walking, I stick to path or roadway as the grass gleams with dew drops reflecting the light.  The dawn sky is a pale blue with nary a cloud.

By 630 AM the first Tree Swallow and waxwings have appeared across the treetops.  Soon a Junco has blasted across a small opening and into the underbrush.  Here there are two layers of forest.  The trees are mostly Douglas fir and they form a canopy sixty to one hundred feet up, shading nearly all beneath them. Then a second liliputian forest of salal, salmonberry, mahonia, ferns and foam flower create their own low canopy beneath which no light reaches the earth or the moss upon it.

Just as the sun tops the eastern horizon of treetops a Red-breasted Sapsucker squalls as it flies across the campground clearing. It lands momentarily in a tree, then squawks itself off into the nearby marshy woodland.  Shortly after 7PM the sun is above the eastern skyline and now makes shadows and bright patches on the campground lawns. I can stand now and collect the solar warmth on my back, palpable through two layers of cotton.

On the Rim Trail and up to Upper North Falls we pass several spring-fed grottos, each a vertical garden of miniature plants.  Ferns and mosses dominate. We find a single Dipper working the creek below the waterfalls.

Back in the campground one confident Steller’s Jay flies into a tree above our porch and then pirouettes down through the air for any food scrap thrown beyond the length of the dog’s leash.  This bird has, no doubt, trained generations of campers. A camping generation being about three days.

Other birds of the day include V-G Swallow, Pacific Wren, Robin, Flicker.

Thursday, July 6.  We were leaving this morning so a dawn walk was my only birding in the park. I imitated a pygmy-owl which irritated the local robins and drew one bird, a male Hermit Warbler dropped down from the treetops and looked for the deadly intruder.

Some plants I’d failed to note in the under-forest: wild ginger, currant (loaded with berries), vine maple, and a few bigleaf maple. Alder and willow dominate along the streams.
Mammals we saw included an unidentified bat, Townsend’s Chipmunk, Douglas squirrel, brush rabbit.  There was one large garter snake (3 feet long) living beneath our cabin’s deck and judging from the abundance of rodents and frog song, Mr. Garter had a good life.

Notable misses: no hawks, no flycatchers (though we were mostly in places populated by humans), few woodpeckers, no vireos, few finches. Wonderful place leaving me about 8500 acres still to explore.

FOR GALLERY OF PHOTOS FROM THE STAY AT SILVER FALLS, CLICK HERE.

Silver Falls SP, Marion, Oregon, US
Jul 4, 2017 7:00 AM. 22 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)  X
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)  X
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  X
Steller’s Jay (Coastal) (Cyanocitta stelleri [stelleri Group])  X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  X
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  2
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])  X
American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)  1
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X, Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)  X
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  X
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  X

Silver Falls SP, Marion, Oregon, US
Jul 5, 2017 6:10 AM.  22 species

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)  1
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Steller’s Jay (Coastal) (Cyanocitta stelleri [stelleri Group])  X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  X
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])  X
Pacific Wren (pacificus Group) (Troglodytes pacificus [pacificus Group])  2
American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)  1
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  X
Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  X
Song Sparrow (rufina Group) (Melospiza melodia [rufina Group])  X
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)  X
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  X
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  X

Silver Falls SP, Marion, Oregon, US
Jul 6, 2017 6:15 AM – 8:45 AM.  13 species

Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)  4
Steller’s Jay (Coastal) (Cyanocitta stelleri [stelleri Group])  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  X
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  X
Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)  1
Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis)  1
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)  X

Here’s a link to the  PDF with the park’s bird checklist.

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  1. […] To read about this visit to Silver Falls, click here for link.  Blog includes bird checklists. […]


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