Nest-a-poolza, year 2

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Nancy Stotz

Mar 17, 2023, 10:33:05 PMMar 17
to obol, Mid-Valley Nature, Corvallis Birding
I hadn't realized this was going to become an annual event, but it has officially  announced itself. Last year, I sent a similar email on April 19th. This morning my intent was to do a nice long motorless hike from my home in NW Corvallis to the top of Dimple Hill, at the edge of the McD Forest. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, and along the way I stumbled upon a fair amount of nesting activity.

First up was the Red-shouldered Hawk nest near Walnut Blvd in NW Corvallis, which fledged at least one young last year. Today, an adult was perched in last year's nest, and flew out the moment I reached for my camera. Next, I found a pair of Bushtits just starting work on a nest; all they had was a flimsy sac-shaped framework of fibers, to which they seemed to be adding tiny bits of moss. The flimsy structure, obscuring branches, and bad lighting meant no photos.

A bit farther down the trail, I encountered a pair of Lesser Goldfinches working on a nest in a big cascading clump of foliose lichen, which looked like it would provide a nice cover from rain as well as good camouflage. Backlit and overhead, it was tough to photograph, but I did my best. While I was watching this pair, I saw both copulation and courtship feeding, as well as the nest building.

While I was at one of my favorite spots on this trail, which I think of as "Finch Corner" since there are almost always Purple Finches there (yep, a nice singing male today), I noticed a Cooper's Hawk slinking into some branches on the backside of the trees, and located it on an apparent nest platform. I saw it make two more trips to this likely nest site, within 2 blocks of where a pair of COHA nested last year, so presumably this is at least one member of the same pair. There are a lot of branches in the way of the view from Finch Corner, but the streetside view is too close to a home's second story windows to feel comfortable staring for long.

After a nice interlude on Dan's Trail up to the top of Dimple Hill, I came back along the creekside trail, hoping the afternoon lighting might be better on the goldfinch nest. While I was waiting for the pair to appear, I heard Bushtits and located a pair working on an almost complete nest in a nearby tree. As I watched the Bushtits, a female Anna's Hummingbird arrived to a lower branch of that same tree and showed me where her nest was! 

From the trail, the views of her eye-level nest were through tiny gaps between branches. Eventually I ventured off trail and found a great angle to see the nest, but unfortunately, it is very close to the goldfinch nest, so I didn't want to camp out there for long. But, I took a couple quick photos before returning to the trail. Near as I can figure she has eggs, but no young yet. I saw her come in and perch on the edge of the nest and poke around in it briefly a couple of times, but it didn't quite look like she was feeding young to me. 

A wonderful spring hike that turned into much more than I had expected. Full list and some photos available via the Trip Report link below.

Nancy Stotz

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