[Tweeters] Port Townsend House Wren, etc.

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Fri May 1 21:56:44 PDT 2015

Early this morning on my walk down the hill and back, here in Port Townsend, I saw (and heard) some neat things.
Firstly, walking down around the corner, I spotted two Orange-crowned Warblers in the local hedgerow. They are still all over the place around here. Like the Song Sparrow, the Orange-crowned seems to me to be an especial sucker for pishing. I saw some sort of warbler overhead in a willow as I walked down the road, and not packing binoculars , I tried a feeble pish ( I don't like to pish around too much), and didn't even get to the h part, when not one but two greeny Orange- crowns were right in my face! Others were trilling about the hillside.
That was neat, but then just down the hedgerow (replete with blooming Saskatoon), a small bird was singing brilliantly from a thicket of Snowberry. At first I was really stumped by this singer. I'm the kind of guy who enjoys finding the ID of a singing bird by hunting down the actual bird. I have to do this every year in many cases because I forget the songs of many birds over the seasons,or years, or decades, and have to do some remedial learning each year. Some of those darn warblers sound so similar! Etc.
I just couldn't peg this little hedgerow singer as I filtered through the Sound Department in my personal Mental Ecology files. I found myself reduced to loud pishing around in an attempt to lure this little twerp into sight, but it just didn't work - the bird just stayed hidden and kept singing it's really wonderful song.
At first the song reminded me of a Bewicks Wren, which is common around here. But no, not a Bewicks - a bit too ornate. Then I tried to turn it into some sort of Warbler that I'd heard - but not recently - like a Nashville. Nah, not quite right. "It just really sounds like some sorta wren", I thought. And thats when I remembered that I'd seen a couple of House Wrens over here at Fort Worden last year, although I never heard them sing.
The House Wren is not a bird I've crossed paths with very often over the years - they just have been hanging out in different places than I have - but I have heard a very few. I came back past the snowberry patch on the way back to the ranch, but didn't hear anymore brilliant singing. "Well, I guess it's time to resort to technology " I said to myself. " I'm gonna check it out on Birdweb when I get home." And I did listen to the sound recording confirming it was a House Wren! It is a really cool singer.
Other creatures that have recently appeared in the 'hood this year are Cottontail Rabbits - just in the past few days, the population has gone from nuthin', to bunnies all over the darn place. I saw a fair number this morning. There is that saying " breeds like rabbits", because thats what bunnies do. But it's kind of a funny bunny thing that as soon as bunnies breed, all their favorite predators show up. Here last year bunnies were all over, early in the year- then mysteriously disappeared by mid summer. Later this morning, while mowing , I discovered some big Coyote poops on the lawn - first of the year. It's not like they had rabbit ears sticking out of them or anything, but probably no coincidence.
Jeff Gibsonreporting from Port Townsend Wa

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