Saturday, March 21, 2009


Yesterday I got out down below the house into the river bottom for the first time this spring. On some of the south slopes the first wildflower of the year, appropriately named harbringer-of-spring, was out:

The more traditional harbringers of spring were present in good numbers. This robin was one of a large flock foraging at all levels of the trees in the river bottom.
I watched them for a while hoping to pull something else out of the flock (one rusty blackbird) and was thinking it seemed like they'd be sitting ducks for an accipiter when a sharpie ripped through flushing a sub-group of about 20-3o of them. The hawk didn't look that much bigger than the robins. It closed to no more than 10 feet from the birds and then circled back around overhead above the level of the canopy. I guess the lack of leaves though, gave the robins more time to react.

I also started the Birdathon scouting (ITS NEVER TOO EARLY FOLKS), hoping to try to find a GH owl or Pileated woodpecker nest while there's still no buds. I flushed a great-horned and heard a lot from the pileated pair but couldn't pin them down. The owl flew away across the river and so is a good 75-100 yards away in this pic.

Fox sparrows are one of my favorite early migrants and a few were singing in places. I've still never managed a good picture of one.

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