Saturday, August 11, 2012

Birds & The Bard

I've just finished leading my Birds & Shakespeare tour. It's a much more relaxed itinerary than my Grand Oregon tour that I also just did – averaging 136 miles instead of 230 miles of driving each day. Yet somehow I found less time in our afternoon and evening breaks to post to my blog.

We saw a lot of great birds, unbelievably beautiful landscapes and habitats (Crater Lake above), superb plays, and ate in really nice restaurants. Even my friend the founder/owner of WINGS, who participated in most of the tour, said he's never had better food on a tour.

For me, the varied natural history makes Oregon such an interesting place to return to. (For those of you don't know, I grew up in Oregon but have been in Arizona since graduating from Oregon State University in 1994.) This southwestern corner of the state is so different from the rest of Oregon, I was really stumped by so many things. Such as these mating fritillaries, a puzzling group no matter where you are. I suspect these might be Hydaspe Fritillaries, but I'll wait for the experts to chime in.

Or this chipmunk at Crater Lake. The larger size, pointy head and ears, and rather muted stripes on the back and face (brown rather than black) seem to point to Allen's Chipmunk (also called Shadow Chipmunk), but the habitat here (above timberline on the rim) seems to be wrong.

I recognized this flower on our first morning as being close to Lobelia and in the family Campanulaceae, but I had to look it up later – Bach's Calicoflower, Downingia bacigalupii.

I'm now headed to Corvallis, my home town, to visit friends and family and do some more natural history exploration.


  1. Interesting thing about this Allen's Chipmunk is that but for its pointy elfin ears, it so resembles one of the Striped Squirrels we get here in India. The same upright stature, the alert but apparently uninterested attitude and the placement of the stripes. Do they live among rocks or do they frequent trees?

  2. That's an interesting comment. We have many species of chipmunk in the western US, readily recognized as a group by the striped face. We have the Golden-mantled Ground-Squirrel that has a stripe on the side, so many people also think it's a chipmunk. The Allen's Chipmunk is supposed to be rather arboreal, occurring in areas with lots of understory shrubbery, hence my confusion with this one, at timberline in a talus slope above Crater Lake.