Gray was the color this evening. Another birder and I ventured up into the sub-tropical Cascades where flowers are blooming and mosquitoes are buzzing already. And gray was the color…Gray Jay, Sandhill Cranes truly gray beneath their mud-daubed feathers, Mountain Chickadees with gray shoulders, and our Great Gray. The big owl was a lifer for the other birder. And then there was our oddity of the day: a paint-splattered Canada Goose. Here is all the evidence.
It was great to see the logo of our Mountain Bird Festival in action, hunting his meadow. Light levels very low as it was after 6PM and the sun was long gone from the meadow. We watched for 45 minutes and the owl used a variety of listening posts around the meadow. This owl treated us to a long series of low-pitched hoots, sounding very much like a Cascades chimpanzee: hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. My working theory now is that these birds will breed early this year. The warm, rainy winter will encourage their prey to breed early while the plants are growing rapidly, thus perhaps triggering early breeding by the predator. Vole anyone? Our bespattered honker: Chicakdee checks us oukt. Below Jay in the shade does the same. Note one of the cranes is lying in the grass–rest or nest? I do not know. Below is second pair in spearate meadow a quarter mile away. Both at Howard Prairie.