Friday, January 8, 2010

Bird Talk

It's been very wet. Too wet to ride, so I avoid housework by birding. There are always moments without rain when the birds are cooperative. One of those happened this morning, during my chores. I feed goat grain and sunflower seeds in front of the barn each morning to the hordes of California Quail, Spotted Towhees, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Steller's Jays, Scrub Jays, House Sparrows, Bush Rabbits, and two White-throated Sparrows. One of the white throats is a tan version. That is, the stripes on his head are tan instead of white. The other is a very bright white individual. I managed to get a photo of that one today.

Yesterday was my monthly raptor run. This time the supervisor for all the Oregon raptor routes came along with me. I was hoping the rhinos at Oregon Wildlife Center would behave themselves. (An earlier blog tells about last month's trek.) Uhuru and Kengale both came very close to my car this time, nerve-wrackingly close, but then turned away and we were able to go through the gate safely. My supervisor thought it was great fun and took photos of the rhinos, Al the giraffe, and various exotic antelope. I just drove and prayed.

The day before yesterday we went up into the mountains above us with birding friend Marilyn. She had read a report of a cooperative Pygmy Owl not far from our farm. We did not find the owl, but we found Gray Jays, Varied Thrushes, American Dipper, Bald Eagle, and lots of beautiful scenery. One of the waterfalls we came upon is pictured.

Two days before the mountain trek, we made another mountain trek... across the Cascades to visit good friends in Redmond, Oregon. It was one of the few rainless days we've had lately. The mountains were lovely with all the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades visible. The 3 1/2 hour drive over and 4 hour drive back (with a half hour wait for a wreck to be cleared) left not much time between. We had to do chores before we left and after we returned. But it was great to see friends and take a short hike in a canyon near them in totally different scenery than we have on the west side of the mountains. Different birds, too, although not many were in evidence this winter day. Last summer we saw lots of Townsend's Solitaires on our hike at Smith Rock.

Today, I did book inventory, washed and put away clothes... and made arrangements for my next birding trek day after tomorrow... It's supposed to be reasonably dry that day. But every day is a good day to bird.

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