Posted by: atowhee | July 15, 2015


The Western Wood-Pewee is a small flycatcher, but seeing one today in Mt. Tabor Park in Portland was a big deal.  It was a county lifer for me.  He was hunting off mid-level limbs hanging over a dry canyon in deep shade.  The forest there is dominated by bigleaf maple and Doug-fir.

I now have over 110 species for the county which includes Sauvie Island’s south end where winter birding can be superb. The leading eBird list for the county is over 190 species for just 2015.  Leading lifelists are over 270 species.  That’s a target to shoot for.

Mt. Tabor Park, Multnomah, Oregon, US
Jul 15, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM. 15 species

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  3
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  4
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  4
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  10
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  20
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | July 15, 2015


NPR has nice feature on the conservation movement among American women that stopped the trade in bird feathers for fashion and allowed the survival of herons, egrets and other birds once hunted for their feathers.

In many cases now species are threatened by widespread habitat destruction due to human over-population and resource exploitation…and there is the increasingly severe problem of climate change which is hitting all species.  I recently blogged about the shrinking range of bumble bee species due to hotter weather.

Posted by: atowhee | July 13, 2015


There were a pair of complaining young Red-tails pleading with an adult in the treetops at Mt. Tabor Park this afternoon.  At one point the adult floated down to the ground and stood about but then left without catching anything.

Finches of two varieties were feeding on mature weed seeds.  And Flickers were both loud and visible in several spots.NOFL ON TRNK1 (1280x960) NOFL ON TRNK2 (1280x960) NOFL ON TRNK3 (1280x960)

Mt. Tabor Park, Multnomah, Oregon, US
Jul 13, 2015 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM.  12 species

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  5
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  3
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  5
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  25
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  10'mander

Posted by: atowhee | July 12, 2015


I got a chance to watch two Pacific Wren families hunting this afternoon.  They were both in a forest on the ridge of Parrett Mountain in north Yamhill County.PAC WRN5 (1280x960) PAC WRN6 (1280x960)These photos show a fledgling still sporting his bright yellow gape, a sure sign of the verrrry young wrn2 (1280x960) Pac wrn1 (1280x960) pac wrn3 (1280x960) PAC WRN4 (1280x960)There were Song Sparrows among the birds in the forest and along its edge.  This guy came into the shadows for a look at my dogs.PRRT SOSPThis forest is very different for the woods I have grown familiar with in southern Oregon east of the Coast Range.  This forest is below 1000 feet elevation on Parrett Mountain the eastern front of the Coast Range.  Its steep eastern slope overlooks the Willamette Valley across to the Cascades. PARRT MTN MOSS2 (960x1280)The dominant trees in this forest are Douglas-fir and bigleaf maple.  The heavy annual precipitation leaves trunks and branches coated with a furry covering of moss.  Dried out now this moss is sponge-ready for the next rainfall. PRRT MTN FOREST (960x1280)The undergrowth consists of thimbleberry, salal, a few Oregon grape reaching as high as fifteen feet, false Solomon’s seal, a wild geranium, swordfern and bracken, moss everywhere and many annuals. prrt mtn moss (960x1280)

Parrett Mountain, Yamhill County, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jul 12, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.  12 species–My month list and life list for Yamhill County now stands at 34.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  2
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  6
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus)  7     two family groups
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  1

(I added Cooper’s Hawk to my Yamhill list at the McMinnville Dog park mid-day when a group of Barn chased the accipiter into a tree nearby.)

Posted by: atowhee | July 11, 2015


It was only incidental birding today in Yamhill County as we ran some errands, but I did get Acorn Woodpecker in the small city park in Yamhill town and several new county birds along Parrett Mountain Road including Steller’s Jay and White-crowned Sparrow.  My county list now stands at 30 from zero when the month began.  We will move into our McMinnville home in six days.

Posted by: atowhee | July 10, 2015


How can climate scientists keep away from existential desparation? Not with ease. Here’s summary of piece just published in “Esquire.” One scientist left the U.S. for Denmark, plenty of water, more protected from mass migrations of desparate millions.

This underlines the bitter irony of a Pope who claims to be worried about climate change but cannot, cannot ever, promote birth control in any realistic way.  The rapid growth of populations in poor Muslim and Catholic nations is in itself a great injury to our planet and spurs ever worse famines, ever more deforestation (where there are such things as forest) and ever more resource exploitation just for survival.  Of course, we wealthy Westerners are the biggest wasters of the planet’s wealth and the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

And then comes this less than uplifting news that the world’s wild bees, in the bumblebee clan, are being heat-squeezed out of their former range with no expansion northward. Butterflies’ ancestors evolved in hot forest while our bumblebees’ genetic beginnings are linked to cooler climes. Doesn’t give them much hope as the heat moves toward the poles.  Some bee species have already lost nearly 400 miles off the southern edge of their former breeding range.  Florida may lose its bees before it lies beneath the sea…

Finally, it already appears this will be the hottest year on record, period.  Wanna bet not a single Republican Presidential candidates nor a single oil company CEO will ever mention that fact?  We should demand that the Supreme Court have to meet without air conditioning.

Posted by: atowhee | July 10, 2015


Until yesterday there was no eBird data for Portland’s Cathedral Park.  It was a hot afternoon so I didn’t see much there but there was a single Bewick’s Wren sputtering in the alders along the Willamette River. The park is full of noise, placed beneath the busy St. John’s Bridge, but it does have some brush and a long stretch of riverfront shoreline.

Young Bushtits were clustered in some trailside bushes.

BT-ONE (1280x960) BT-THREE (1280x960) BT-TWO (1280x960)  SJB (1280x960)St.. John’s Bridge above.  Local Crow in act of crowing.  Half of pair that lives outside my daughter’s apartment building in northeast Portland.  They lurk in trees near the dumpsters where the pickings are good and varied.crowing (1280x960)

Posted by: atowhee | July 9, 2015


My Yamhill County life list now stands at 19, a couple-hour visit yesterday included sightings of Barn Swallow and Scrub-Jays.  I started the month at zero.

Posted by: atowhee | July 9, 2015


At dawn I got in some birding at Portland’s Mt. Tabor Park today.  It is a mix of meadows and dense conifer forest and it was enjoyable to watch two different Brown Creepers creeping up tree trunks.bc-trnk1 (1280x960) BC-TRNK2 (1280x960) BC-TRNK3 (1280x960) BC-TRNK4 (1280x960) BC-TRNK5 (1280x960)

Most numerous were the Juncos.  Most vocal was a kerfuffle of Crows in the treetops, unseen but unmistakable in their loud arguments over the day’s planning.  There were many disputatious Anna’s Hummers about.anna-fml (1280x960) A Downy with an itch that had to be scratched.down-up1 (1280x960) down-up2 (1280x960) I call this photo, “Junc Food.”junc food1 (1280x960) JUNC FOOD2 (1280x960) Sonfg Sparrow.sosp sings (1280x960)

Mt. Tabor Park, Multnomah, Oregon, US
Jul 9, 2015 6:15 AM – 7:15 AM.  15 species

Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  12
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)  1
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  10
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  15
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  3
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  40
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltaris)  1

Posted by: atowhee | July 9, 2015


What would any foster parent feel when the once-helpless youngsters begin to fend for themselves…and then to watch them play in the pool…that is truly priceless joy.  Herewith more from Andy Huber who’s been helping a widowed female Great Gray Owl raise her four owlets out in Union County, northeastern Oregon:

“All four youngsters are still doing very well.  I think they are all able to hunt now, but Mom still has to supply much of their food.  I’m offering her rodents twice a day, but she doesn’t always take them.  I do leave her a couple of big rodents, on a platform, each evening.

Also, about a week ago, I started giving them water.  A flat pan to drink from, and a little tub to bathe in.  That has been a huge success.  Today, I got some photos of two of the owlets enjoying the water.”1. Wet fledgling 4946 IMG_8054 2. Bath getting into it IMG_8038 3. Bath 3984 IMG_7989 4. Bath 4297 IMG_7978 5. Fledgling bathing 3941 IMG_7969 6. Bath 4522 IMG_8012 7. Shake the water off 3337  IMG_8297 8. GGO fledgling drying 2803 IMG_8306 9. Fledgling drinking water IMG_8101Here are more of Andy Huber’s great action shots, including some of adult female feeding montane vole to one of the fledglings:Fledgling getting food from mother IMG_7567 GGO fledgling eyes open 2667 IMG_8371 GGO mother flying IMG_7255 GGO mother flying prey face 5184 IMG_7625 GGO mother landing IMG_7270 GGO mother ready to launch 3040 IMG_7256 GGO mother variation in eye dialation IMG_7336 GGO with montane vole left 1564 IMG_7482 Mother landing on limb 3304 IMG_7270 Mother to fledgling adj full IMG_7626 Mother vole fledgling ready 3445 IMG_7279 Mouse in flight 2973 IMG_7258If you are new to this saga, click here for my initial blog on this adventure back in May.

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