Posted by: atowhee | October 11, 2017

THE TIME OF THE GATHERING OF THE SPARROWS*

*Includes juncos, of course.

October 11:

Morning rain, then a sunny tease mid-day, then clouds sled down the eastern slope of the Coast Range to keep the solar warmth from getting to the earth.  A cool and damp October day.

Plenty of hungry birds in the garden.  American Goldfinch still the dominant flock in numbers, but the juncos are gradually building.  Four today, a week ago just one or two.  Sometime this winter juncos will undoubtedly out-number all the other species combined.

At Joe Dancer Park the dogs and I find the winter sparrows settling in.  One flock of juncos basing operations along the path in a thicket of saplings.  A flock of Golden-crowned Sparrows with an adjunct of goldfinches in tall weeds bordering the riparian forest in a remote part of the park.

The colors of October deepen.  Leaves falling are more often the source of motion in the forest canopy now, not birds.  Oaks are ever the last to shed. Most fallen leaves return to the earth whence their particles came.  Some will drift down into the river, thence to the Pacific Ocean. There their molecules will mix with the trillions of others compounding that primordial soup where life began.

The pennyroyal is now defunct.  This invasive mint has been cured by the August sun and its dark upright stalks no longer carry much of the pungent, fresh scent that clings to your shoes or toes in summer.  Bordering the path, Queen Anne’s lace is starting to release its sticky little velcro footballs which need to picked from sox or dog fur. Most of the QAL are through blooming.  Dying now, they bow their seedy heads toward the earth.  They might be mourning  the passed summer that nurtured their brief lives.

IMG_9151IMG_9155IMG_9159IMG_9161The Boy Scouts may think they came up with “be prepared” but it was the alder’s motto eons ago.  The buds for next spring are already in place.  Hell, I don;t even have enough firewood for the coming winter…alder1Admit it, this poison oak is beautiful…nice contrast with the pale yellow blackberry leaves.IMG_9133IMG_9137IMG_9140IMG_9141IMG_9145IMG_9154

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Oct 11, 2017.  14 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X     fly over
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  4
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  20
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Oct 11, 2017 10:00 AM – 10:40 AM.  9 species

Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  8
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  25
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  15
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  20

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