Christmas Bird Counts have been going on in North America since the year 1900, but this is this first year for it to be done in Douglas County in the Reedsport circle, thanks to the efforts of Matt Hunter. Matt asked us to participate and do a section of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area because of our experience with the coastal locations, and after some discussion we settled on the Oregon Dunes Loop Trail. We enlisted the help of our friend and fellow volunteer Glenn Pannier to help us. After a meet-up breakfast in Winchester Bay with a number of other counters we drove to the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area to begin our hike. Although at 8:30 we had cold temps still in the 30's, it was a dry day. We were out for four and a half hours and hiked six miles, counting 22 species. You can see our observation list and photos here.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Mourning DoveWhen I paused this morning to do a quick two minute stationary bird count in our back yard there were only two species. Two Mourning Doves and three Northern Flickers. It's unusual to only see two species, I can usually spot close to half a dozen at a time. The Mourning Doves were on the ground, fluffed up to keep warm, and the Northern Flickers were up in a tree trying to dry out their feathers from the last rain shower. The astute reader of this blog will no doubt recognize that an unusual high number of photos and posts come from my backyard. There may be a number of reasons, any place from laziness to convenience. The startling thing to me is how all these little observations I record add up. November began the third winter we have been at this location in Salemtowne, and during this time Jeanette and I have identified 59 different species of birds from our back yard. Which says to me that our backyard is a legitimate birding location even if it is easy.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Thursday, December 10, 2015
here. One of our winter favorites is the Merlin in the above photo that I took yesterday. This is a small bird, about the size of a Morning Dove, but do not be fooled by its size, it is a member of the falcon family and a fierce competitor that is capable of taking a sparrow in mid-air. This is the third winter we have seen a Merlin in Salemtowne where we live. Looking at my eBird records, I notice we see it arrive in October and is gone by the end of February to travel to the far north to breed. We have watched it enough that we know three different trees that it prefers to use that we can spot it most days.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Rain is the main component of the next 15 days of weather, but a window of sunshine was in the forecast for nine o'clock this morning, so we planned accordingly. We arrived at one of our favorites, Fairview Wetlands, at nine o'clock sharp, dressed for cold and wind. I think it was a good plan and we got in a nice walk and identified 22 different species of birds. You can see our observation list here. Below are three species I was able to photograph.
One of the little sparrows we see consistently here at the Fairview Wetlands is the White-crowned Sparrow. This photo seemed appropriate for the Christmas Season with the Sparrow possed with the bright red rose hips.
Red-winged Blackbirds are a common staple here too. Noisy creatures, they are usually heard several times before being seen. Only the males have the bright red and yellow patch, which they are able to flash to show their assertiveness.
We can also always count on hearing and seeing the Spotted Towee. They are usually to be found on the ground scratching for tidbits, or hiding in the bushes. The rusty breast, white spotted wings, and bright red eyes, are to be enjoyed in any season.