Date: 12/23/18 8:02 am From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> Subject: [obol] Re: Port Orford CBC results 12/22/2018 + RED FOX SPARROW
Actually it is Thick-billed and Slate-colored that breed in Oregon.
On 12/23/2018 10:35:37 AM, Lars Norgren <larspernorgren...> wrote:
For all those for whom the eyes glaze over when the conversation enters the subspecies zone--all major Fox Sparrow subspecies groups occur annually in Oregon, two of them breed here(Thick-billed, Sooty). They are easily told appart visually. Any dorsal or profile view in Courtney's photos make it obvious why the super species bears the name "fox", a question thousands of birders have surely pondered if they put it on their life list via "Sooty".
I've only seen one other Red("true?")Fox Sparrow, and chased two more. My first was also at a Rodenkirk seed patch(Millicoma) and not found by Tim, but Ann and Dan Heyerly who had the good sense to come down to Coos Bay a full day early for that count. The calender was kind to compilers this year, allowing seperate weekends for Oregon's big three, the counts that have had 150 species or better. As Tim pointed out, Port Orford could hit that mark as well given slightly more talent in the field on count day. Port Orford also got it's own weekend this year. Nobody saw a Gadwall on count day, nobody heard a Bushtit. You dear reader could have been the innocent observer that tipped the scales and set a new record species count of 147.
What is my biggest regret about yesterday? That my team dipped on Bewick's Wren? Or that we also dipped on White-throated Sparrow? No, it's surely that once the Red was relocated and Courtney began photographing it, l availed myself of a long abandoned stretch of Hwy 101 to maintain hydration equilibrium that heavy coffee consumption so often challenges. At this point the Red Fox vocalized. Hearing is more real than seeing. Of course there is Xenocanto, but live music is supposed to be best. Especially when heard at a Red Church pop up.lpn
I had a hand in that one- I had been putting seed down for about the last month in what I thought was a good location on the south end of Langlois- I haven’t had time to actually bird it- glad the seeding paid off! Got us a Harris’s Sparrow on the Coos count too.
They have been talking about split the fox sparrows for yrs- maybe in 2019?
Well today certainly ranks as one of the highest species tallies ever on this small (people-wise) count. There we 17 today which I believe would be a few above average ( I recently inherited this count from Jim Rogers who started it about 40 year ago- talk about longevity for CBC compilers!!). The weather was predicted to be rain and wind after 10AM. Observers were ready for "pirate" birding weather, but hey, the dark skies at dawn lent to sunshine and above 50F temps with no rain until 4PM when most were already headed to the most awesomely, comfortable countdown dinner with the wood stove fired-up and homemade dinner treats ready for all (thanks everyone- especially Ann and Tim and Carrie)!
A total of 144 species were observed- the record only being 145 for this count- we were close! If this tiny count every had 20 participants including a few more experienced birders and good CBC weather, it might break 150 one day? The count circle habitat is totally unique- nothing like it in Oregon. See what I am talking about in the following bird highlights from today/s CBC:
Unusual bird highlights- in no particular order other than what was reported to me during our countdown:
Rock Pigeon (!)- hah, funny a rare bird in Port Orford- may it long be rare!
Cedar Waxwing (seen in PO and Langlois- tough on the coast most winters)
a female ROSE-BREASTED-GROSBEAK (probably a first count record, great find Lars and Courtney) - in Langlois the circle hotspot outside of the private ranch lands
Clay-colored Sparrow (coming to Jim and Carrie Roger's feeder)
Brant- just one, rare down this far south
SANDHILL CRANE- on a ranch west of Langlois- great find Terry!
Cinnamon Teal (yet another Terry find)
BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE- one we have all wondered about but few have seen in Curry. Only one sighting in Oct. and one in Nov. Today Jim Roger's just happened to bump into a local rancher whose land is not open to public access. The bird has been here for months! Was also there today- amazing! The bird of the count although it is tough to choose between all the great ones- most out-of-towners would say, yawn ho-hum, south coasters are thinking bird of their year/decade even!
2- Snow Geese
1- Trumpeter Swan (very rare in Curry)
1- Harris's Sparrow
1- Dusky Fly (we all know about this bird I think...)
2- OC Warblers (use to be rare but have more knowledgeable birders to find them)
4- Red Phalarope- seen by very experienced sea watchers which actually sat down on the ocean in front of them. I wonder how many counts in OR will have this species this year?
-One Selasphorus (Rufous/Allens) female looking sp. in Langlois at a house with 30+ Anna's at the feeders.
1- Golden Eagle- rare on the ocean plane- seen well by me.
-Ancient Murrelet in harbor for close up photos! Also Marbled Murrelet which is actually harder this time of year.
-An Osprey and a Rough-legged Hawk
-5 species of owls- gorgeous full solstice moon up atop Grassy Knob where I started owning at 0200.
-one Say's Phoebe (two around though)
-The usual Acorn Woodies- two today but I say 4 yesterday
-many Western Bluebirds
-No red crossbills
-one flock of siskins
-four Swamp Sparrow's (weather was crappy as per Sedge Wren site- there should be double digit numbers at Cape Blanco marsh)
5- Sora (Cape Blanco marsh where there are likely hundreds of rails). Play a SORA tape this time of year and hear surround sound Sora and tens of Virginia's in background!! It was blowing 20 mph plus and 30Fs and I still got 5 Sora around dawn,
3- Merlin seen just by me one of which I saw grab a Anna's hummer out of mid-air, there were two Anna's up about 20' one second, then only one the following second!
-Oh, and last but not least, 36 Palm Warblers- Terry found 33 on his ranch and a neighbors ranch- he said the largest flock was like 17 Palms!