[birding] Timberhill, Chip Ross & McDonald Forest

Don Boucher donaboucher at gmail.com
Mon Oct 16 21:08:02 PDT 2017


On Saturday, 10/14, we took a trek, from midday into the evening, from
Timberhill Open Space, through Chip Ross Park and parts of McDonald Forest.

Timberhill Open Space
We encountered a good number of FOX SPARROWS and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS,
There was a loose flock of about eight or nine WESTERN BLUEBIRDS. A couple
of RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS squabbled over some ripe, red Madrone berries.
This is one of the best places to encounter WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES and
we saw several. A juvenile COOPER'S HAWK was perched in a nearby snag,
causing nearby songbirds to call nervously. The birds settled down to
normal business after the hawk soared off to the west.

We found some BLACK BEAR scat, which was composed mostly of wild apple and
pear skins.

Chip Ross Park
We were lucky to see some migrating VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS and VAUX'S SWIFTS
(reported briefly in a previous post
Surely their numbers are dwindling and will be altogether absent soon.

McDonald Forest
We were walking on Patterson Road when Lisa saw something moving low in the
forest. It turned out to be a BARRED OWL. We watched it glide down and
pounce on something in the grass, and it came up with a vole, which was
quickly swallowed whole.

Soon after sunset, we took a break along Dan's Trail near Jackson Creek. We
heard these shrill alarm calls, that were accompanied by VARIED THRUSH
"chup" notes. Here's the recording:
We had never heard this sound before, although it does resemble some Varied
Thrush alarm calls we've found on Xeno-Canto, but not exactly.

Shortly thereafter, I imitated the NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL "toot" call and a
pair responded almost immediately, with the plaintive whines they give most
often in the fall and winter. We're not sure if the alarm calls were
saw-whets and Varied Thrushes just happened to be "chupping" as they were
startled. We couldn't match any saw-whet sounds online with the recorded
sound above.  If you can identify the sound, please let us know what you
think it is.

One of the saw-whets glided just past our faces in the darkness, and Lisa
watched the little guy through a night-vision scope we had borrowed from a
friend.  It was nice to be able use the scope's infrared beam instead of
blasting the owl's eyes with visible light.

Don Boucher & Lisa Millbank

For photos and other non-bird observations, see this post on Mid-Valley


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