Date: 10/6/19 4:28 am
From: Lars Norgren <larspernorgren...>
Subject: [obol] The history of vagrancy repeats itself
NuDeep in the past when l wasn't birding much, an early October pelagic was
canceled. I assume Dave Irons was a subscriber to said charter as l heard
this story from him. The birders thus shunted from the brine to bushes
found the first Oregon record of Orchard Oriole, followed 20 minutes later
by a Prairie Warbler. These both somewhere just south of HMSC. Yesterday's
Orchard Oriole continues in the Deco Neighborhood of Newport and a Prairie
Warbler has shown up about three blocks away. This is in the heart of an
extended kack that stretches from the coast guard station inland to past
Hatfield Drive with regular intrusions of houses(many of them short term
rentals) and streets. The street system is discontinuous, but many dead
ends lead to good views down into kack not fronting a street.
I burned two hours stalking the OO, sorry l didn't know about the Prairie
or l would have bailed on the Oriole and finished the day a double dipper
no doubt. There were Black-capped Chickadees evenly scattered throughout
my walk. Never a common species on the coast and sometimes downright
scarce, Black-caps are the standard accompaniment to all manner of
extra-seasonal/extralimital wwarblers .
Lots of Red-breasted Nuthatches at the end of Abbey. I ultimately detected
no Warblers of any species in two hours.
Mike Patterson wrote of rare birds, "We value them in a way that
cannot be justified in a biostatistically meaningful or useful way..." and
l agree. It's so eloquent it's baddass. It summarizes the contradictive
elements in the hobby of birding and citizen science. These opposing
threads have been braided together to the point of a gordian knot. And
yet...is this couplet of prairie and orchard yet another case of purely
coincidental data points, really just entertaining anecdotes? Most vagrants
go undetected. What if we knew about all of them? I'm confident a lot of
this vagrancy would show patterns. What if l set up mist nets in every
vacant lot in the bluffs above Newport's oldtown?
Today's boat leaves before sunrise for Perpetua Bank. It returns to
shore about 2 hours before legal twilight, a time when passerine activity
has tanked. I'm not gonna get to chase that PRWA. It's back to banding the
biostatisticly significant Bushtits of Luckiamute Landing tomorrow. But
what if there were thirty skilled observers 20-30 miles off the Oregon
Coast every day of the year?
Gabrielson and Jewett's Bird's of Oregon was published in 1940,
based on data gathered between 1900 and 1930. It's phenomenally complete
considering automobiles were not an option for the first decade and a half
of the study period. All of the roads were unpaved , almost none even had a
gravel surface. If memory serves me right, Long-tailed Jæger was on the
hypothetical list in that august tome.lpn

 
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