In an age of earbuds and iPhones, I often feel strangely alone as I walk (with some intermittent jogging) along the bike paths and pedestrian trails around Eugene and Springfield. With today’s take-it-wherever-you-go media, it sometimes seems that everyone else using the path is plugged into a more private world of music or news. Am I really the only one listening to the birds and watching for them?
For September’s Third Saturday Bird walk, we explored the north region of Mt. Pisgah. Dennis Arendt was our leader. I was particularly looking forward to this walk, as I had never birded the area before.
The dozen and a half who gathered on this cool and lovely morning included several new birders and even a pair from out of state! Birds were not plentiful, but twenty-nine species were identified, by sight and/or by ear. A possible Pileated Woodpecker was heard, though not seen. One major highlight was a Great Horned Owl, spotted as it flew in for a landing. It remained in sight for as long as anyone cared to view it.
October brings back memories of walks with my mother through the crunchy autumn leaves in the fall. We would have a great time, talking and walking through the park or neighborhood where I grew up. Times walking with her made me appreciate autumn’s beauty. Our annual fall walks gave us a chance to reconnect and reflect on our shared experiences. I feel very fortunate to have had a parent who gave me a sense of nature’s gifts at an early age.
There is a book I often purchase for first-time parents. It is The Sense of Wonder, by Rachel Carson. The current edition is published by Harper Collins and contains wonderful photographs by Nick Kelsh. Rachel Carson, of course, was a visionary whose message has not lost its meaning over five decades. In The Sense of Wonder she describes adventures with her grandnephew at the coast, in the woods, in a field of grass. She takes him for early morning or late night walks.
Mornings such as this are not hard to come by at Fern Ridge, even in the slower birding months such as July, August, and early September.
Fern Ridge is the favored spot of many local birders due to its varying habitat, which provides views of common, uncommon, and rare species. Late summer walks show such varied species as Song Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, American White Pelican, Black Tern, Bonaparte’s Gull, Virginia Rail, Cinnamon Teal, Pectoral Sandpiper, and even the occasional Rough-legged Hawk, Common Grackle, and Ruff!
The arrival of September means back to school for some, planning for fall activities, and refocusing energies after the summer fun. I invite you to start here. Read through this newsletter, look on our website (laneaudubon.org), and check out our Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Lane-County-AudubonSociety/330177413824?ref=hl) to see what we are all about. We offer so many opportunities to get involved, and hopefully enjoy yourself at the same time!
Looking through the pages of The Quail, you will notice that Lane Audubon members are involved in a variety of activities with varying levels of responsibility and expertise. Audubon, as a group, includes many types of people. Our functions bring beginning and expert birders together. Through participation in community events we find ways to share our interest in birds and nature. And we also present educational programs and talks at schools and for other community groups.
Lane County Audubon Society is holding its annual fall swift event outside Agate Hall on Friday September 9th at sunset. The Vaux's swifts use the chimney to roost for the night as they gather prior to migration. Last year the birds came through in a big group early in the month and were gone! We may see several thousand birds entering the chimney, but there is no guarantee! It is fun to observe the swifts before they fly off to Central and South America for the winter.
Lane Audubon will have handouts with information about the Vaux’s swifts.
As late spring and summer arrive, Celebrate Nature is on my calendar. This time of year I want to hang out in my garden and keep ears and eyes open for birds, butterflies, and any other life forms that present themselves. I do, of course, work in the garden and the exercise is good for me, plus we benefit from the fruits and veggies of our labor. I do hit “pause” whenever something new makes itself known to me, so I take breaks from the labor at regular intervals. Obviously the bird life is one of my great joys, but other animals are also unique and amazing in their own ways.
We look forward to working with Karen and appreciate the skills and talents she brings to creating The Quail newsletter for our members to enjoy! —Maeve
My editing career started with the junior high newspaper in the eighth grade. I then went on to edit my high school newspaper. After taking time to raise three children, earn a BA in English and an MA in education, and work as a teacher and bookkeeper, I returned to school at LCC where I rediscovered my love of journalism and edited the LCC Torch. I earned a BA in journalism at the UO.
A hearty thank-you goes out to Hilary Dearborn for staffing LCAS’s table at Oregon Wild’s Eugene Brewshed & Outdoors Celebration, hosted at Ninkasi Brewery on April 28.
Thanks also to David Stone and Ron Renchler, who staffed a table at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History on the UO campus on May 21.
By April, spring migration is in full swing. Birders eagerly await the “first of the year” bird sightings at their favorite birding spots. We have kept track of yard birds for over 20 years at our property. We feel a rush of excitement and joy when we see and hear the first Tree Swallows fly down to our bird boxes each spring. The same is true for the first Rufous Hummingbird and Turkey Vulture sightings. Part of our amazement is the realization of how far the birds have travelled since we saw them last in the late summer.