Date: 7/30/20 5:33 pm From: Joel Geier <clearwater...> Subject: [obol] Vesper Sparrow report from High Prairie near Oakridge on July 26th
I just noticed this in Monday's rare-bird report. I don't have Joshua Little's e-mail address handy but hopefully he'll see this on OBOL.
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) (1) CONFIRMED - Reported Jul 26, 2020 08:48 by Joshua Little - Willamette National Forest, Oakridge US-OR 43.79145, -122.43605, Lane, Oregon - Checklist: [ https://ebird.org/checklist/S71839113 | https://ebird.org/checklist/S71839113 ] - Comments: "Popped up on the fence while I was watching the swallows, clear eye ring + white in our tail feathers in flight. Could this be a breeding location?"
Yes, that location along High Prairie Road is an area that Mary Lee Sayre and I have discussed as a likely breeding area for "Oregon" Vesper Sparrow (the subspecies in western Oregon, proposed for ESA listing), especially if those pastures on the west side of the road are still being grazed.
That ranch was up for auction a couple of summers ago, so we had some concern that the land use could change to something less suitable for grassland sparrows. Most local concentrations of this subspecies in the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys are associated either with lightly grazed cattle ranches, weedy Christmas tree farms, or prairie restorations on sites adjoining cattle ranches.
The mapped location is not actually in Willamette National Forest -- that's private land on both sides of the road, as is the case for most of that stretch of High Prairie Road. In fact, according to the coordinates for this list, you were practically in the front yard of one of our Oakridge CBC regulars (hi Amy!).
Anyway, nice find Joshua, and great to have confirmation that Vesper Sparrows are using that habitat!