Saturday, May 28, 2011

May Morning on Misty Ridge

Yellow Warblers are almost always found in riparian areas, so I was surprised to hear one or more singing this morning at my place west of Willamina, Oregon, at about 700 ft. elevation in the foothills of the Coast Range. There is no open or flowing water within a half mile of Misty Ridge. I assume they were just migrating through the area, and stopped briefly to hunt for bugs or caterpillars. In the photo below the yellow has turned to green because of the sunlight shining through the maple leaves.

In contrast to the warblers, White-crowned Sparrows may be the most common birds on Misty Ridge now, and certainly the most conspicuous. I sometimes hear them singing even during a passing rain shower when almost all other birds have gotten quiet.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chestnut-backed Chickadee at nestbox

A pair of Chestnut-backed Chickadees was inspecting a nestbox at my place in the Coast Range west of Willamina in Yamhill County, Oregon. But a House Wren and a pair of Tree Swallows were contesting their claim, and it remains to be seen who will actually occupy the house for the nesting season.

A short video shows some of the Chickadees' activity here:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sightings near Black Butte, Oregon

The Metolius River and the Black Butte area of Central Oregon provide plenty of eye-catching scenes, including Dippers along the rushing streams. This one was chattering under the bridge at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. Here is a link if you want to see and hear some of the activity of the bird, and the river that is his home:

Barn Swallow

Barrow's Goldeneye pair

Pale Swallowtail

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tree Swallows at Black Butte, Oregon

Among the many colorful things to enjoy at Black Butte Ranch in Central Oregon are the Tree Swallows that swoop for insects over the horse pasture, and occasionally take a break on the fence along the bike trail.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vaux's Swifts' migration roost in McMinnville, OR

Another spectacle of spring migration is the gathering of Vaux's Swifts as they go to their nighttime roost in chimneys in many cities and towns throughout the western states on their way to wherever they will stop for the nesting season. Before long they will not be gathering like this as pairs spread over the region to select the particular chimney in which they will nest this year. To see the spectacle in motion, click on this link:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Orange-crowned Warbler crown color

I have rarely seen more than a suggestion of orange coloration in the crown feathers of an Orange-crowned Warbler. But this week I watched one of these birds bathing in my backyard, and the crown was strikingly orange. Also, I was able to see some blue feathers on the body, which I had never expected to see on this seemingly all "olive-green" bird.

The action can be observed in a short video at this link:

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Spring migration

This weekend the spring migration in western Oregon appeared to suddenly shift into "high gear." Every birder, and even many non-birders, were noticing Western Tanagers, like the one above that was in my yard in McMinnville. At about the same time, I also found another spring migrant in my yard that I usually see only up in the Coast Range -- a Hammond's Flycatcher (below).

Yesterday another Hammond's (below) was at my place in the Coast Range foothills, along with two Olive-sided Flycatchers, and about six species of warblers. There were also about 15 other species of birds in the same area, most of them singing continuously, and some of them gathering nesting material.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler