Date: 8/14/19 11:47 am From: <clearwater...> Subject: [obol] Mid-Willamette Valley Vesper Sparrows starting to move around
Over the past month, some movement of VESPER SPARROWS away from nesting areas has been apparent. A few birds banded at Bald Hill Farm east of Corvallis have shown up on other monitoring sites a few miles to the north and west. Today I happened to see one along the side of Cardwell Hill Drive near Wren, half a mile from where it was banded as a fledgling. Two unbanded adults were also in the same stretch of road, near the intersection with Blakesley Creek Rd.
Vesper Sparrow reports have been very sparse in our area this summer, away from a few monitoring sites which are mostly on private land. Unfortunately, no Vesper Sparrows seemed to nest near the "ramada" along the public trail at Bald Hill Farm, which is where local birders have most often seen them in recent years.
But now is the time to be on the lookout for dispersing birds and migrants. If you happen to see a banded bird, please note the color of the bands (and/or get a photo if you can).
Also along Blakesley Creek Rd. this morning, I saw a very pale CHIPPING SPARROW in first-winter plumage that had me thinking seriously about Brewer's Sparrow. The facial pattern was weaker than typical for Chippers, but I couldn't quite make it into a Brewer's. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America has a nice illustration of this plumage. A couple of BLACK PHOEBES and several families of WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were foraging in the adjacent pastures.
Most LAZULI BUNTINGS seem to have left the area over the past two weeks. BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS also seem to be thinning out, though I'm still seeing and hearing a few female/immature types.