Date: 5/16/18 7:08 pm From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...> Subject: [COBOL] Crook Co. Ash-throated Flycatchers and Deschutes Co. Green-tailed Towhees
While scouting the route for an owl survey on a private property north of Prineville on Monday (14 May), my daughter Martha and I (along with Brad Nye from Deschutes Land Trust) saw a nice concentration of ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS in some old-growth juniper. We also had a nice look at the first WESTERN TANAGER that I've seen this year.
The owl survey had minimal results, just one distant Great Horned Owl (probably due to the moon phase, since it was the new moon). But after Martha and I camped out on Ochoco National Forest up McKay Creek just off FR 33, sleeping out under the abundant stars, wouldn't you know, around 3:30 AM I was woken up by a male GREAT HORNED OWL singing, then later on duetting with a female on until just before sunrise when a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL added his monotonous "song" to the mix.
As things got lighter, several DUSKY FLYCATCHERS started counter-singing along the creek.
We got going early, and made a potty stop at Indian Ford Campground around 7 am. At least five male GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES were singing around the overnight camping area (where most campers still weren't awake -- and the day-use area was still closed).
One towhee seems to have a territory just on the west side of the outhouse in the middle of the campground loop. He was pretty easy to see once I realized that he was singing from the lowermost branches of the ponderosas, not down in the manzanita brush. One of my favorite "sparrow" species (well actually, all of them are my favorites).
But he was a beautiful bird. Fun to watch his neck feathers vibrate as he proclaimed his territory to other towhees and the campers still sleeping in their tents.