Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting Out to Bird

The past few weeks have been great for birdwatching here in Central Oregon. Since I'm teaching a Beginning Birdwatching course through the Central Oregon Community College's Community Learning program, I've been scouting locations, taking field trips and birdwatching a lot more.

Most notable have been the woodpeckers. I've been able to locate quite a few of our resident woodies and have observed nest site activity that I'll check during the season. One tree had Williamson sapsuckers, mountain bluebirds and pygmy nuthatches competing for spots. At Shevlin Park here in Bend, the class located a pair of red-breasted sapsuckers working on a nest cavity while a Lewis's woodpecker "churred" in the distance. Then there were the hairies and white-headed woodpeckers we observed while picking morels in a middle-aged burn up near Camp Sherman on Mother's Day. And, of course, I can't forget the black-backed, downy and numerous flickers that were out near Bessie Butte.

I've also had great success with the evening grosbeaks finally visiting my platform feeder. All winter they taunted me from the treetops, but now they are regulars at the feeder. Almost too regular; the 25 pound bag of unshelled sunflower seeds is quickly draining. With over 100 birds in the vicinity this morning, I'd better get another bag....

Another grosbeak, the black-headed, also put on a show for the birding class at Shevlin Park. Though I had just started to hear them at my house the day before the field trip, it was nice to see several pairs working over the willows at Shevlin.

Throw in some warblers, gray flycatchers, unknown Epidonax ones and a bunch of the "regulars," this has been a great week for birds. The class and birdwatching time has also prompted me to write some articles on the subject - a nice end to a great week.

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