Posted by: atowhee | April 9, 2015

A WALK IN THE PARK: GOLDEN GATE

 SAN FRANCISCO

A four hour walk in the park netted an even 50 species of birds today plus numerous red tree squirrels and three monarch butterflies. Nesting birds were large and small; Great Blue Herons had three well grown young on a nest at Stow Lake.  Later I saw a Pygmy Nuthatch nest hole, two young were fledged and on nearby perches while the adult birds ferried food to at least one laggard nestling still inside.

Best bird of the day: a White-throated Sparrow at north end of North Lake, consorting with California Towhees and three white bantam roosters.  One such towhee below:CATO SAHDED

ANHO ON FNCE Anna’s hummer male. Brown Creeper, creeping up. Note the foot size on this relatively tiny bird.b-c feet b-c hangz   creeping up LEGO IN FENC1 Above:  only Lesser Goldfinch I saw in four hours. Below: gull needs molt.NEEDS MOLTIN WCS IN FENC

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, US-CA
Apr 9, 2015      6.0 mile(s). 50 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  80
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  1
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  20
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  2
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  3
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  8
Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)  1     Spreckels Lake
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  5     nesting, Stow Lake, three nestlings
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  1
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
American Coot (Fulica americana)  50
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)  60
California Gull (Larus californicus)  2
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  1
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  4
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)  2
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)  6
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  2
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  6
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  20
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  40
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  5
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  1
Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)  15
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  2
Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  25
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  20
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  3
California Towhee (Melozone crissalis)  9
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  30
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  1     north  end of North Lake
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  8
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  12
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  20
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  5
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  30
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  12
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  1
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 6, 2015

TERRI’S GALLERY

Some photos taken by Terri Arino of Klamath Falls on our Klamath Bid Observatory field trip around Ashland on Saturday.KBO-OCW1 (853x1280)We didn’t just have an Orange-crowned Warbler…or two.  We had a flock foraging in the thickets around Ashland Pond, over a dozen individuals.  They were the first I;d seen this pring though there have been previous reports of returning OCWs. KBO-OCW2 (853x1280)KBO-1 (1280x853) Downy in a madrone.KBO-2 (853x1280) KBO-3 (853x1280)Lithia Park Dippers carrying food for nestlings.KBO-DIP3KBO-DIP2KBO-DIP1KBO-ANHU (853x1280)kbo-bbrd (1280x853)You can see more of Terri’s great photos at her website,  infinedetailphoto.com

Posted by: atowhee | April 5, 2015

KBO FIELD TRIP GALLERY

Here are some photos from our Klamath Bird Observatory bird walk yesterday.  In order they are Brown Creeper at Ashland Pond…Bewick’s Wren energetically singing at pond…Dipper hunting and then Dipper carrying food to nestlings…poppa Great Horned Owl taking day-long rest, his mate on her nest with small bit of white fuzzy owlet to her left from our vantage point…and merlin in walnut at North Mountain park.BR-CR B-WRN SONG DIPP HED UNDR DIPP W-FD MALE OWL UP MERKL-NM1 MOM OWL

Posted by: atowhee | April 4, 2015

KLAMATH BIRD OBSERVATORY FIELD TRIP

Today was the field trip for the KBO spring birds “talk and walk.”  We saw at least 48 species, not counting a couple birds seen by only one or two (including a Townsend’s Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet).  We had seven raptors including both eagles, kite and harrier.  Among the newly arrived migrants were Lincoln’s and Chipping Sparrow, over a dozen Orange-crowned Warblers at Ashland Pond, Common Yellowthroat and a stream of Tree Swallows passing by.

Nesting birds were giant and tiny: Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Bushtit and Dipper.  We saw both parents carrying food to dipperlets at Bridge #3, Lithia Park.

My personal favorite bird of the day was Merlin atop the ancient walnut by North Mountain’s Nature Center.  He even gave us a couple fly-overs and then returned to that visible perch.

Yellow-rumped Warblers at Ashland Pond included at least two of the Myrtle variety.

I can’t upload any pictures for some reason–equipment glitch.  But here’s the checklists from today:  Hwy 66 east of Ashland, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 4, 2015 8:45 AM – 9:10 AM.  7 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 2
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 15
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 1
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) X

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 4, 2015 9:15 AM – 10:15 AM.  24 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  X
American Wigeon (Anas americana)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  2
White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)  1
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  4
Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus)  2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  2
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  20
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  20
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus);  Lesser Goldfinch

Dead Indian Mem. Rd., Jackson, US-OR
Apr 4, 2015 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM.10 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  2
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1     incubating eggs
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)  3     including owlet in nest with mother owl
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  X

North Mountain Park, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 4, 2015 10:50 AM – 12:10 PM.  Comments:     One birder saw a Townsend’s Warbler
27 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)  1
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  1
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1     nest building
Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)  12
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
Merlin (Falco columbarius)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  X
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  15
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  25
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  X

Lithia Park, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 4, 2015 12:20 PM – 12:40 PM. 3 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  4
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2
American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)  2     carrying food to nest at Bridge #3

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 4, 2015 1:50 PM – 2:50. 28 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  1
Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)  12
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  X
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  X
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)  1     working on nest
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1     singing on territory
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)  15
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  10
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  2
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 4, 2015

PORTLAND BANS NEONICOTINOIDS

Good news.  One city has moved to ban the chemicals that are most likely causing the die-off of bees around the globe.  Talk about a “silent spring,” a world without bees would lose a lot of positive buzz.

That’s Portland here in Oregon, not Portland, Maine…or Portland, South Carolina, if there be such a being.

Posted by: atowhee | April 3, 2015

FOUR SWALLOWS DOTH A MORNING MAKE

There were four species of swallow migrating over Ashland Pond this morning, included my first Barn Swallow of 2015.  The Tree swallows, as usual, were up the highest and were most numerous.  Also present were Violet-green and Northern Rough-winged.  But higher than any of them, even higher than the migrating TVs and the cavorting Ravens:harr-highHarrier high in the sky.

Bird Politics

Posted by: atowhee | April 2, 2015

THE EVENING CHORUS

And the afternoon waned, bird song continued at Ashland Pond.  Purple Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Wrentit, Red-winged Blackbird, singers one and all. Up along the Pioneer Trail, birds were absent but wildflowers were the order of the day.MADR FLKWR3 (1280x960) M-EARS CU (1280x960) P2380751 (1280x960)Flowers above: Pacific madrone, mule’s ear, pussy ear.  Other flowers now include the soft fuzzy yellow of the bigleaf maple, the rich yellow of buttercups and dandelions, the soft pink of Ithuriel’s spear, the royal hue of larpsur’s little trumpets, the rich upright stalks of the hound’s tongue purple.  Tiny white spots dot the miniature groves of miner’s lettuce and woodland star has joined the parade of spring flowers.

This visitor brought a hush to our garden this afternoon:COOP6 (1280x960) COOP7 (1280x960) COOP8 (1280x960)Up at bridge #3 in Lithia Park one of the Dippers nesting there was resting there. Perched on a mid-stream boulder, just loafing.  The blinking bird was motionless except occasionally turning its head.  The whole time the lubricating membranes kept closing and opening over both eyes.  The white flash of that membrane was like a tiny pen light sending nonsensical Morse code messages from the dark face out into the world.  I was the only other pair of eyes there to receive those messages.DDPR ON ROK2 (1280x960) DPPR BLNK1 (1280x960) DPPR BLNK2 (1280x960) DPPR BLNK3 (1280x960) DPPR BLNK4 (1280x960) DPPR BLNK5 (1280x960) DPPR ON ROK (1280x960) DPPR STND (1280x960)

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 2, 2015 4:15 PM – 5:30 PM.  29 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  4
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  3
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  2
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  3
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  6
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  4
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  5
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  50
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  2
Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  20
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  4
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  X
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  X

Lesser Goldfinch
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 1, 2015

ANOTHER NEW BIRD–NO APRIL FOOLIN’

 Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 1, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.  24 species.
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  3
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  5
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  4
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  1     fly by
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  4
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  6
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)  1     first of year
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  40
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X
There was a steady stream of northering swallows passing over Ashland Pond at mid-day, trying to beat that next rain front coming in.  Among the many Tree Swallows was one brownie, my first Northern Rough-winged Swallow of the year.  I was also able to discern at least one Violet-green when that bird swooped around an arc  that exposed its upper half to view.
A few birds did hold still for the camera.  Like this singing and aggressive Bewick’s Wren.
BEWR SINGZ  GBH LOGGD SING SPRO1This was an apparently immature Sng Sparrow.  He didn’t quite have the whole song down, yet,   But he had the usual Song Sparrow clarity and sweetness.   Practice, buddy, practice. SINGIN SPRO STAL IN HOLE2Starling in nest hole that I know was drilled over the winter by Acorn Woodpeckers.  Starlings are notorious nest hole squatters, hard on the native woodpeckers. STARL IN HOLOn our garden suet feeder at dawn.FLKR UPP (1209x1280)come pairPair of Common Mergansers paddling swiftly away from me and the dogs.  Below: Filaree Field near Emigrant Lake’s pioneer cemetery. filaree field flkr on fdrOur garden Flicke ron a previous suet binge. flkr on fdr2 hail1These white specks are hail which pounded on my hat and sent the dogs scurrying for the car.  Wimps.  Mid-day Tuesday.  The chill north wind kept the vultures and Ravens circling at low elevation, no updrafts to be found. hail2 nettle (1280x960)This friendly countenance covers a cruel soul–stinging nettle, aptly named.  SAlong with humans, a powerful invasive from Eurasia.   Here the lake’s lone Pintail with his commoner cousins. P2380445 (1280x960) P2380509 (1280x960)Here, above, DShovelre, hangs with cormorants.  Go figure. P2380516 (1280x960)Killdeer are clearly ready to nest around the lakeshore, maybe in the dense vetch patches. P2380524 (1280x960) PALE OAK (1280x960)Only this time of year are the oaks fringed with soft,  pale green leaves…before the sun turns them dark and leathery.  tv in  blueTVs low in the sky with no chimney of hot air to climb. tv spars WBN HORIZ (1280x960)This nuthatch must’ve thought I was really interesting, just kept staring.  Nearby the nervous little titmouse kept calling.  Then this nuthatch flew off and gave out his nasally call once: “here-here-here.”wbn on lim
Posted by: atowhee | March 30, 2015

SOIL AND WATER

UPDATE:  I heard back from some correspondents who are far more educated in streams and soil erosion than I.  Here are some additonal facts they pointed out. 

Most of the Ashland Creek watershed is devoid of roads=less erosion.  Ahsland Creek also is largely fed by forestland which means less erosion unless there is human activity.   Some of Bear Creek’s tributaries are water-managed with excess run-off diverted into side channels that do not have capacity for heavy volume creating even more erosion…and Beatr Creek’s watershed includes a lot of dirt/gravel roads.  Also Bear Creek gets water that flows from several reservoirs that might increase the suspension of sediments and soreline erosion during storms and winds.

This is about how we treat our earth and what it can tell us if we pay attention.  A small lesson in contrasts.  Behold the confluence of Ashland Creek and Bear Creek here in Jackson County, Oregon.  Both carry water from mountains that rise above 5000 feet in elevation…but different mountain ranges. acrk clr (1280x960)This is Ashland Creek, clear and fast.  It flows down from the ancient Siskiyou Mountains with their granitic heart.  It carries mostly water from forested hills though it also passes through the heart of town and carries what comes off the streets.  But it passes through only a couple small farms ACRK CLR2 (1280x960)Just a hundred yards from where the Ashland Creek pictures were taken it meets the bigger, muddy Bear Creek.  Bear Creek has several tributaries that drain mostly out of the younger, volcanic Cascades.  Its water passes through grasslands, ranches, small farms, vineyards, logged forest and horse pasture.  While Ashland Creek drains a more heavily populated area, most of its watershed is forested or paved.  Ashland Creek water here is in the foreground before it is thoroughly mixed with the muddy Bear Creek water on the far side. P2380134 (1280x960) P2380137 (1280x960)How much the ashy and clay-laden soils of the volcanic Cascades contributes naturally to the clouded water I cannot say.  I do know that some of Bear Creek tributaries when I see them around 3500′ are running clear like Ashland Creek.  BY the time the two streams join at 1700 feet elevation the bigger stream had become dirty brown.

Nature can fool you at times.  She never lies.

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