[midvalleybirds] Re: [obol] Nice January walk in California? No, Polk County, Oregon

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Fri Jan 11 08:28:04 PST 2019

Thanks for the summary of changes in the Rogue Valley, Harry! 

California Towhees seem to have found their way into the Umpqua Valley where Matt Hunter et al. have been finding them with some regularity, as far north as Roseburg. 

Wrentits could be found as far north as Saddleback Mountain in the Coast Range west of Grand Ronde, back in the 1940s when Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds and her colleagues from Linfield College found them as part of an effort to document all flora and fauna in a study area (later described in her book, "Not Just Trees," published by Washington State University Press). That followed a wave of logging in the 1930s-40s, which left a lot of brushy habitat. After that, they seemed to go through a range contraction, but they've been expanding again in recent decades, following the logging boom of the 1970s-1980s. 

In 2002 Matt Hunter documented the first part of this re-expansion in an Oregon Birds article. That year we recorded 3 on the first Airlie-Albany CBC, all of them up in Dunn Forest as I recall. On last Saturday's count, we found a total of 28, including one singing in the south unit of Luckiamute State Natural Area, within 50 yards of the Willamette River. 

From: "Harry Fuller" <atowhee at gmail.com> 
To: "clearwater" <clearwater at peak.org> 
Cc: "birding" <birding at midvalleybirding.org>, "OBOL" <obol at freelists.org> 
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2019 7:57:07 AM 
Subject: Re: [obol] Nice January walk in California? No, Polk County, Oregon 

Other birds coming up from the south: Great-tailed Grackle now nest in Jackson County as do Mockingbirds and White-tailed Kites. The California Towhee, Wrentit and Oak Titmouse are well-established there as well as breeding BG Gnatcatchers...I suspect many of these species move up the coast first and then follow rivers inland...not coming over the 4300 foot high Siskiyou Pass...but once in the Rogue or Umpqua or Willamette Valley they should thrive. Nuttall's may have a harder time because it is highly dependent on oaks and cottonwoods, not common along the coast or in Siskiyou and Modoc Counties on the northern Cal border. THere is some suspicion but no proof yet that Cak Thrashers are also breeding in Jackson County. I am currently working on an update to a federal publication of 1975, Birds of Jackson County...two major trends stand out: 1) we know a hell of a lot more about birds there now (i.e. where the Great Grays and Spotted Owls nest), 2) several species have moved north and gotten established...I've seen Red-shouldered Hawks as high as 4500' elevation...Anna's Hummingbird in 1975 was considered a rare summer visitor, now males stay year round along with s few females who don't migrate out. 
In 1975 there had been no record of even a sighting of Red-shoulder or kite in Jackson County! 

On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 5:21 AM < clearwater at peak.org > wrote: 

Hi all, 

Yesterday afternoon I was out for a stroll through vineyards and and oak woods on a small winery between Dallas and Monmouth, in sunshine and pleasant 50 F temperatures. 

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was sneaking around the woods along a small creek. 

A BLACK PHOEBE was chirping and catching insects around the barn. 

I heard ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS grinding away at their song, at three different spots along the walk. 

Two or three decades ago, all three of these species were more associated with northern California and the southwest corner of Oregon. Now they are part of our regular local avifauna in the mid-Willamette Valley. 

Turkey Vultures have also become a frequent though still uncommon sight on warm, sunny days in winter, and Acorn Woodpeckers colonies are widespread. We're still missing Nuttall's Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, and California Towhee, at least for the time being. 

Joel Geier 
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis 

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