Sunday, March 4, 2007

“I have an appointment with Spring!”

Yellow-Headed Blackbirds can't be too many weeks away.
This beauty was found in the Baker Valley last summer.

I have an appointment with Spring!” - Henry David Thoreau

Still no time for writing much today ;-), but Jim Lawrence reminded me that the breeding birds and migrants are beginning to arrive, so today we have bird news.

Reporting from the Black Mountain area south of Phillips Reservoir, Jim says the “first white headed woodpecker” showed up this week and they had a “junco today”. “All the cavity nesters are pairing up and the owls are calling.” We should be so lucky here in Baker City!

A birding friend, Anne Frost, from Mt. Vernon, reports that she had her first Sandhill Cranes fly over the homestead heading north this week. Might expect to hear reports of them at Ladd Marsh up south of La Grande soon. Also, in a sign that global warming is having its effects, she said her earliest ever red-winged blackbird arrived on January 31st this year.

There were Gray-crowned Rosy-finches reported two weeks ago about 6 & 1/2 miles north of Enterprise just off of Highway 3 on Leap road. Oh well, maybe next year.

Alice Lentz had her usual assortment of goldfinches, pine siskins and California quail in town, with the added unusual bonus of five beautiful evening grosbeaks. Usually have to go out to Joanne Britton’s place around Wingville to find the latter.

The only new species at my place were two Cassin’s finches, but I did have another visit by the neighborhood Sharp-shinned hawk. Seen as a terrorist by some and a blessing by others, myself included, this quick and agile little accipiter is one of the few controls on the burgeoning local population of alien and aggravating house sparrows and starlings. While my chickens do occasionally nail one in an act of thievery at the feeder, it is this small bird hawk, barely bigger than a robin, who probably does the most to keep my feed bill down. I say probably, because a barn owl does occasionally bless the place with its presence, and as we do keep different schedules, it is possible that this angelic owl is more helpful than I know in controlling the mice around the coops.

Sharp-shinned hawk in Baker City

If you have bird sightings to report, please send them my way and I’ll try to compile them for at least a weekly report.


Straight Talk:

Democrats being Democrats: Prostrate for the Israel Lobby i.e., Sacrificing the Palestinians for a chance at the Presidency.

How Barack Obama learned to love Israel
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2007

If you have the bandwidth:
Robert Newman’s History of Oil

Uh Oh! Facts getting “in the way of cherished mythology!”
Not Guilty! Serbia cleared of genocide charges

Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

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