Date: 5/27/19 6:45 pm From: Jeff Gibson <gibsondesign15...> Subject: [Tweeters] Loud Birds In Quiet Places
This month I've been busy walking and stumbling around in our local Port Townsend forests and discovered many more cool things than my fingers felt like reporting via keyboard. Oh well, who can keep up with April and May around here anyhoo?
I have heard a lot of bird sounds lately, some especially wonderful: like loud birds in quiet places. I guess loudness is all sorta relative. Here in noisy ol' PT I've been somewhat miffed by the sound of the hospital next door cutting into the subtleties of the 4:30 Robin chorus; by 4:30 the loudest couple of territorial Robins nearest my closed thermopane window wake me up in this super insulated house (six-inch insulated walls). Then I get up and open the door to hear that wonderful sound of Robin after Robin receding off into the distance until the hospital "noise" interrupts. What is noise really? Are Caspian Terns noisy? Loud, that's for sure, as are the nesting Bald Eagle next door.
Yet I needed more background quiet, so I headed off to nearby forests. First off to Fort Townsend where I heard a pretty loud Olive-sided Flycatcher (on May 1 and later). Then I got way back into the deep dark forest, where even in it's deepest and darkest I still could hear the paper mill and planes overhead, but less so than in town. Next loud bird was a Barred Owl at about high noon which was so incredibly loud I thought it would make a good Tsunami Alert (until I heard the real deal at Fort Worden the next day) and it was a bit distant from me. Called about 3 times - the whole hoooaaaw. Now I was smiling.
Next, a loud Raven making one more weird call I don't recall hearing before - sort of an extended 'kkrrr - WRRUUPT!" (not a very good description) very loud, as it flew over the forest. Then, in a seemingly out-of-context way, the loud gurgling and chortling sounds of a group of Purple Martin's overhead - not your typical deep forest birds, but it was a warm blue-sky day above the forest where they were being loud. That was cool. (Martin's arrived in PT on May 1, near as I saw).Actually, the deep dark forest at noon was bright with sword ferns, and other understory plants in pools of sunlight. Last, but not least, was an also very loud Band-tailed Pigeon calling at a volume nearing big owl range it seemed. Don't hear those too often.
The last forest was the quietest; "Quimper West", an 80-acre patch of forest being stewarded by Jefferson Land Trust - really about the finest old forest I've come across so far in my explores of the Quimper Peninsula, quite diverse with big trees. I heard my first Swainson's Thrush of the year calling back there early in the month, and more now. The loudest bird there was a single Black-headed Grosbeak of which I could hear every nuance of song, One grosbeak song can really fill a lot of quiet forest acres I found. Oh, almost forgot the hammering and calling Pileated Woodpecker. It was so quiet back there that a "singing" Hutton's Vireo was loud, relatively speaking, at close range.
Many other birds at Quimper West, not so loud. Two Barred Owls were being quiet 100' up in a tall Grand Fir. A scrabbling sound turned out to be a pair of yearling Racoons being inadvertently treed by me. Quiet place.