Sunday, May 13, 2018

Fox Sparrow hunt in Wasco

On Saturday 5-12-18 I wandered out to Wasco County to see what I could find in the Mt Hood Nat Forest.  I was hoping to find some Fox Sparrows.  I started out at Fivemile Butte.  The shrubs on the top are great for the sparrows.  This is a photo from last October just to give you an idea of the habitat.

I quickly found four Fox Sparrows, all singing from the top of their own pine tree.  The large bills, no wing bars, spotted inverted Vs on the underside, head and back gray-brown and location all led to Thick-billed Fox Sparrow.

No wing bars

I have loaded Raven onto my computer (the free version)  I took this spectrogram from the above bird, see video below.  I can't figure out how, if possible , to load what I see play in Raven onto a blog.  What I had to do was to go to a website that strips the video down to an audio file, then you load it into Raven and you can see the spectrogram. All rather cool, the website strips it for free, but then offers ads to you, I just closed the site every time I used it and ignored all the ads.

Here is the video from my camera.  I know it wanders, just close your eyes.

Another Thick-billed, the associated spectrogram and original video.

Bird's song.  BTW I heard zero call notes, just singing.

Just for comparison, here is a spectrogram of a singing Fox Sparrow, thought to be Thick-billed from the Steens, bird was in sagebrush.

And last two Fox Sparrows seen up on butte:

All sparrows dove for cover at one moment, I looked around and spied this Sharp-shinned Hawk approaching. Darn good eyes on these sparrows!

Mt Adams, right, and Mt Rainier, left, looking good.

And Mt Hood.

Lots of Dusky Flycatchers were seen all day.

Helping out were Mo,


And a shaved for the summer, Huck.

Singing Dusky Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Cassin's Finch and a typical Hermit bout 8 sec.  Lots of Hermit were singing all day, found a few Townsend's when I tried to get out to a sparrow patch on Flag Point (too much snow).

Pine Siskins were dashing around at all sites visited.

Western Tanager

On the road out of Fivemile Butte, this MacGillivray's Warbler was singing away.

Last site visited was this partial clearcut I like to visit, late in day, so did not see a bunch of birds.  But Western Bluebird, Cassin's Finch, and Dusky Flycatchers were still active.

Map of area.

Here are some links that have info on Fox Sparrows in Oregon:

Ebird Fox Sparrow paper

Bird Guide Fox Sparrow

Thanks for the visit!  Pelagic next week then Lake and Harney County!

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