[midvalleybirds] strange goings-on among oak birds

Lisa Millbank millbank.lisa at gmail.com
Tue Jan 8 11:22:24 PST 2019

We found two Sooty Grouse on last Saturday's CBC also, with one in a
somewhat unexpected habitat.  Both of them were on Davies Rd, which is
about 500' up the hillside from Soap Creek Rd.  While one of the grouse was
in some lightly thinned middle-aged forest, the other one was in an old
clearcut that has recently begun to fill in with young conifers.  That
slope sometimes has Mountain Quail calling in the spring, but it wasn't a
place I expected to find a Sooty Grouse.  My guess is that they are pickier
about where they nest than where they go to forage in the winter, so right
now they can probably be found anywhere that's within a reasonable distance
from good breeding habitat.  If they do spread out in the winter, that
could partially account for their scarcity on CBCs.  Even with multiple
teams scouring good habitat, they'll only be seen if crossing a road or if
startled into flight.

It's been my experience that Sooties can be heard fairly easily in some
parts of McDonald Forest when males are hooting in the springtime, and
Upper Dan's Trail is one of the more reliable spots to hear them.  It seems
unusual to have one hooting in early January in Soap Creek Valley; I would
never have guessed that they'd start up that early.  They'd certainly be a
lot easier to count if more of them would hoot during CBC season!

I've never heard a Ruffed Grouse "drumming" anywhere in McDonald Forest;
people do find them there, but there's only one eBird record since 2016.

Lisa Millbank

On Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 10:00 AM Lars Norgren <larspernorgren at gmail.com>

> QWashington Dept. Of F&W (I  don't know its official name) describes
> considerable non-forest habitat for the blue grouse group, sage brush and
> grass,etc.. on Memorial Day a few years back l heard two Sooty Grouse
> hooting from the Fitten Green parking lot west of Corvallis. A closed
> canopy of oaks, with taller,scattered grand firs . They were very close to
> the cars. A species probably living in every count circle in western
> Oregon, but almost never detected.
>         The same statement can be made with greater certainty of Ruffed
> Grouse. They live in riparian zones as well as forested uplands. One or
> more is perhaps 100m from me right now as l drink coffee at home. I saw two
> land in the yard a month ago at this time of day. I have seen them along
> the driveway , a quarter mile long, in every month of the year. I have
> probably made that drive 20,000 times in daylight since we moved in, but
> see the Ruffed Grouse at most half a dozen times a year. The driveway forms
> an arc from the mailbox to the house. When she rode the school bus home my
> daughter would walk the chord of that arc and see a Ruffed Grouse, whom she
> named Cocoa.
>       I 'm at a loss what strategy will get either grouse detected
> predictably on CBCs.lpn
> On Jan 8, 2019 9:18 AM, <adamus7 at comcast.net> wrote:
> Perhaps equally odd was the discovery during the CBC of a Sooty Grouse "in
> an island of mostly oaks with a couple of Doug firs, which was in the midst
> of one of the OSU fields to the west of Soap Creek Road", not far from Pam
> and Randy's sighting of a misplaced (?) Acorn Woodpecker.  The grouse was
> detected "hooting" distinctively by Mary Garrard and Bev Clark.  That's
> only
> the second time the species has been found in the 21 years of the
> Airlie-Albany CBC despite miles of hiking and biking in McDonald and Dunn
> Forests during the CBC every year.
> Paul Adamus
> Corvallis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: birding-bounces at midvalleybirding.org
> <birding-bounces at midvalleybirding.org> On Behalf Of Pam and Randy Comeleo
> Sent: Monday, January 7, 2019 10:27 PM
> To: mid-valley-nature at googlegroups.com; birding at midvalleybirding.org
> Subject: [midvalleybirds] Dunn Forest Acorn Woodpecker
> This afternoon, after a quick detour to see the Harris's Sparrow, which
> hopped into view at around 3:10 pm after a pleasantly sparrow-y 10 minute
> wait, we headed out to more typical Comeleo habitat, Dunn "Forest".  Just
> before the intersection of the 100 and 110 roads I stopped dead in my
> tracks
> when I heard a bird call that twisted my brain in a knot because it seemed
> so out-of-place. It was an ACORN WOODPECKER.
> Not a rare bird, but an odd location for this species - at least in our
> relatively brief experience. In 20 years of frequent hikes at Dunn we have
> never heard or seen one there. I soon located the clown-faced wonder high
> atop a tall, spindly, oak and was able to point it out to Randy before it
> flew across the 110 towards the 100. I relocated it again along the 100 rd
> at the top of another oak where we left it to ponder its options.
> Too bad we didn't find it during the CBC on Saturday.
> Pam
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