Posted by: atowhee | July 11, 2017

PEEPS RETURN

It is sunny but not very hot today. The dog and I birded at the Yamhill Sewer Ponds again. And we were rewarded with our first southbound migrants of the season. “Fall migrants” is a partially false cliché. There are plenty of fall migrants, to be sure: most raptors, ducks, grebes and gulls. But there are many birds who migrate at other times. Here on the Pacific Coast we have the Reverse Trifecta: Brown Pelican, Elegant Tern, Heermann’s Gull. They breed in late winter in southern California and Mexico, then migrate north in late spring. Their southward migration is in late fall. The Allen’s Hummingbird migrates north in February, leaves in August. We also have many insect-eaters who often leave before Labor Day each year, from flycatchers to orioles. Right now the first waves of southbound shorebirds are already arriving from breeding grounds in the Arctic. These early flocks are adult birds, done with breeding. They leave the young to feed and beef up for their own southbound flights later this year.LESA GROUPLESA SCUM1
Where are all the male Mallards? Hiding their female-like eclipse plumage.
Gone are the shining green pates, the spiffy white necklace…for now.MALL DRAB
Chickadee, and then a bird;s worst nightmare:BBC SHADEDBIRDS NIGHTMARE
It’s not just birds that refuse to adhere to a strict seasonal calendar. Nora and I walked through some grass three feet tall. When we returned to the path her glossy fur was spattered with the ripe seeds of the grass. Many of the grass leaves were already brown and dry. Even under the shade of the forest the ground is dried and some plants are turning yellow. The cow parsnips are blown for the year. I saw the first wild chicory flower of the summer, a plant that will bloom until November. The soil it self has dried and hardened and cracked, some crevices now two inches wide at the surface.
Galls fall. I am finding plenty of oak galls on the ground at Yamhill SP…and many have been opened up. Predators going after those tasty wasp larvae inside the gall. The cynipine wasp lays its egg on some part of the oak and then the gall grows around the egg and eventual larva protecting it, but not always as evidenced by the many galls that been penetrated to the core.
HAWS Haws ripening.HAWS2Gueen Anne’s lace:QALACE A ate salsify flower. I think this plant was mowed down before it could bloom, so it came back, much shorter and bloomed on second try,SALSIFY LATE
RECENT FULL MOON

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