September 3, 2018

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters
(where rarities show up but only a day or two after I leave)

Before we headed back to Salem, we stopped at Headquarters to bird the pond, feeders, and general premises.

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Great Horned Owl; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Mountain Cottontail (I think?); Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Turkey Vultures; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Turkey Vultures; killin’ them parasites or just enjoying the sun?; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Great Horned Owl; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Townsend’s Solitaire; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Common Nighthawk; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Rufous Hummingbird; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Lewis’s Woodpecker; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Last Quarter; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge –  Headquarters; Harney County, Oregon; September 3, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

No new species.

September 2, 2018

Steens Mountain 

The focus of our trip to the Steens was to find Black Rosy-finches and to do some hiking.

We didn’t find any Black Rosy-finches for certain. We did see a flock of birds afar that sounded like Black Rosy-finches, and looked the right size, but I did not get good enough looks of them.

Rock Wrens, however, accompanied us everywhere we went. Species #223.

Enjoy some Rock Wren photos and some photos of the Steens and Wildhorse Lake.

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Rock Wren; East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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Rock Wren; East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; view facing east; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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East Rim Lookout; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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Wildhorse Lake; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

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Wildhorse Lake; Steens Mountain; September 2, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

New Birds for 2018: 1
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 223

September 1, 2018

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Greater Area

Diamond Loop Road

New species: Loggerhead Shrike and Sage Thrasher (not great photos)

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Loggerhead Shrike; Diamond Loop Road; Harney County, Oregon; September 1, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Somewhere along Diamond Loop Road; Harney County, Oregon; September 1, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Sage Thrasher; Diamond Loop Road; Harney County, Oregon; September 1, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Rockford Lane

New species: Sagebrush Sparrow (no photo)

Benson Pond (full eBird list here)

New species: Long-billed Dowitcher

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Mostly America Avocets transitioning into their winter plumage; Benson Pond; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; September 1, 2018.

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Great Egrets; Benson Pond; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; September 1, 2018.

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Long-billed Dowitchers and American Wigeons; Benson Pond; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; September 1, 2018.

New Birds for 2018: 4
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 222

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 26, 2018

Cabin Lake, Lake County, Oregon

Cabin Lake is a birding hotspot that is maintained by the Eastern Cascades Audubon Society (ECAS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). In the middle of nowhere, in a sea of ponderosa pine, juniper, and sagebrush, the ECAS (and/or the USFS?) built two bird blinds and installed two cisterns to attract birds. They did this for birders. #bless. Thankfully I did not pack my swimsuit because the lake at Cabin Lake has been dry for more than a century.

I took a lot of photos, and it’s easier (i.e., quicker) for this post to omit captions for now. I’ll revisit soon and update them! What follows is my full list of bird species from this site.

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White-headed Woodpecker
Clark’s Nutcracker
Mountain Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Red Crossbill
Green-tailed Towhee (new species!)
Yellow-rumped Warbler

New Birds for 2018: 1
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 218

August 25, 2018

Crater Lake National Park

Garfield Peak Trail

Olive-sided Flycatcher (great views, finally!!)
Clark’s Nutcracker

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Crater Lake, looking so dreary and awful; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Hiking up to Garfield Peak; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Clark’s Nutcracker feeding on white pine; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Olive-sided Flycatcher; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Olive-sided Flycatcher; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

Cleetwood Trail

Canada Jay (seen while trying to find parking; hence, no photos)

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Hiking down the Cleetwood Trail to go swimming in the lake; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Hiking down the Cleetwood Trail to go swimming in the lake; Crater Lake National Park; Klamath County, Oregon; August 25, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

New Birds for 2018: 3
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 217

July 29, 2018

Marys Peak, Benton County, Oregon

Two new species: Sooty Grouse and Hermit Warbler!

Forgot my “real” camera, so no bird shots. Also, views at the peak were smoky/hazy and not worthy of shots.

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Hiking to Marys Peak; Benton County, Oregon; July 29, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Hiking to Marys Peak; Benton County, Oregon; July 29, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

New Birds for 2018: 2
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 214

July 22, 2018

On July 22, 2018, we ventured to the Elliott State Forest where we met up with other members of the Oregon Birding Association as well as a group call Coast Range Forest Watch, a volunteer-based group who surveys for the Marbled Murrelet, a federally threatened species.

We got started very early in the morning, hiking into the forest, and watching and listening, overhead, to the murrelets fly roundtrip between the ocean to their nests. This was exceptional.

Our forest hike yielded a few new species for my big year:

Marbled Murrelet
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Wrentit

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Early morning Marbled Murrelet viewing; Elliott State Forest; Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt (there are no murrelets in this photo, but this giant white patch of sky is where we watched their roundtrip flights).

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Sifting for other birds with the OBA; Elliott State Forest; Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

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Sifting for other birds with the OBA; Elliott State Forest; Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

After, we headed out to Cape Arago State Park, hoping to see the murrelets on the ocean. The weather was initially windy and misty, making visibility of the ocean pretty difficult. Within the hour, it cleared up, and I saw an additional four species:

Pacific Loon
Clark’s Grebe
Surfbird
California Gull

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Pacific Loon; Cape Arago State Park (Simpson Reef/Shell Island Viewpoint); Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Pacific Loons and Clark’s Grebes; Cape Arago State Park (Simpson Reef/Shell Island Viewpoint); Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Cape Arago State Park (Simpson Reef/Shell Island Viewpoint); Coos County, Oregon; July 22, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

New Birds for 2018: 7
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 212

 

July 16, 2018

I heard there were Peregrine Falcons nesting under the Marion Street Bridge in Salem.  I heard this earlier this year, I think. This did not stop me from insisting, yesterday, that we stop just south of Cannon Beach  at Cape Meares to see the Peregrine Falcons that nest on the cliffs there. I still had not seen this species, and it was troubling me. We did not make it to Cape Meares for reasons I will not discuss here.

The next day, I remembered hearing that there were Peregrine Falcons nesting under the Marion Street Bridge in Salem. This is less than 2 miles from my house. I went over and saw one of the falcons almost immediately, under the bridge. I easily could have gotten this species months ago.

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Marion Street Bridge; Salem, Oregon; July 16, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Peregrine Falcon; Marion Street Bridge; Salem, Oregon; July 16, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

New Birds for 2018: 1
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 205

July 15, 2018 (with a bonus track)

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, July 15, 2018

The Tufted Puffin is a seabird that nests on sea cliffs and sea rocks along the Pacific Coast at varying densities from northern California up to near-northern Alaska. It also nests along the coast of northern Asia. They are the largest puffin species! One reliable and accessible breeding spot in Oregon is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. When visiting Haystack Rock in late-June and early July, the adults make roundtrips between the ocean and their nests to feed their chick. Seeing them in flight is best because they typically disappear into their burrows once making contact with the ground. Low tide is also best, and so is early morning before the summer crowds arrive (for many good reasons, Cannon Beach is a very popular beach town spot on the Oregon Coast; arrive after noon and you will not find parking in this town).

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Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon; July 15, 2018; photograph by Clint Burfitt.

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Woodthrush (me) at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon; July 15, 2018; photograph by Clint Burfitt.

Although most visitors to Cannon Beach are not interested in the puffins, and many are not even aware of them (I enthusiastically told the bartender at the local pub that I had “just seen the puffins,” and I’m pretty sure he had no idea what I was talking about), the town itself does give a lot of foxes about their puffins. The City of Cannon Beach Haystack Awareness Program, which through things like stewardship and education, promotes the preservation of Haystack Rock and the fauna that depend on it. Also, because Haystack Rock is a designated Marine Garden and National Wildlife Refuge, protections are in place to prevent people from messin’ about in ways that might negatively affect the flora and fauna on the rock (no climbing, collecting, or harassing).

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Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon; July 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Tufted Puffin; Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon; July 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt. Photo take with my IPhone through my scope.

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Brown Pelicans; Cannon Beach, Oregon; July 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Pigeon Guillemots; Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon; July 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

The Tufted Puffin broke me out of my stuck-at-200-species rut. I also saw three additional new species at Haystack Rock that day: Pigeon Guillemots, Brown Pelicans, and Heermann’s Gull. After a month of beings stuck at 200, I was back in the game.

New Birds for 2018: 4
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 204!

It also didn’t help that I was out of Oregon for almost half of July in the Canadian Maritimes. Cue the Atlantic Puffin! Yes, I saw TWO puffin species in July! That’s 50% of the world’s puffin species (my Dad informed me of this!).

BONUS TRACK: Bird Islands IBA; Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada; July 2, 2018

We flew out to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in late June, for a 1.5-week Maritimes trip with my family from Ontario, Canada. I think I heard White-throated Sparrows at every place we stopped in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI. “Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.” I also reacquainted myself with my eastern warbler pals, e.g., the Northern Parula and American Restart. The highlight was the puffins, though. I managed to convince a few of my family members to accompany me on a pelagic trip out to Bird Islands, off the coast of Cape Breton, to see the Atlantic Puffins. This was my first pelagic trip, and it was wonderful. There are a few companies that offer these short pelagic trips to see the puffins, and I’m sure they are all awesome. We chose Donelda’s Puffin Tour, and I highly recommend it. Also, contrary to the Tufted Puffin, the Atlantic Puffin is the smallest puffin species!

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One of the islands in the Bird Islands IBA; Nova Scotia; July 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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A seabird party comprising Razorbills, Atlantic Puffins, and Black Guillemots; Bird Islands IBA; Nova Scotia; July 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Atlantic Puffins; Bird Islands IBA; Nova Scotia; July 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Razorbills; Bird Islands; Nova Scotia; July 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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My Dad and Clint birding in the Bird Islands IBA; Nova Scotia; July 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Bird Islands IBA; Nova Scotia; July 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

 

 

 

June 15, 2018

When you are about to start your weekend with a very deserving happy hour, but you find out a Common Loon has been spotted at the “local” sewage ponds, you trade beers for birds and you hit the road.

I have not seen a Common Loon since I lived in Ontario, Canada, so I was pretty excited to see this old friend. Common Loons are not typically this far south right now, so this was a rare chance for me to see one and add it to my 2018 Oregon list.

Common Loons are gorgeous. I was counting on the bird to be easy to find considering the ponds are pretty empty (bird life) at this time of the year. The eBird posts also mentioned that the loon was in the south pond.

Much like my Pacific Golden-Plover luck, I saw the loon almost immediately. We should have brought some beer with us, though I’m sure the City of Philomath frowns upon people partying at their sewage ponds.

And … the Common Loon is BIRD #200!!

One species, bird #200. This is how it’s going to be for the rest of the year. One new bird here, two new bird there. Any pelagic tours I take will yield a small handful, but this big year has formally shifted to deliberation and strategy.

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Common Loon; Philomath Sewage Ponds; June 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Common Loon; Philomath Sewage Ponds; June 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Philomath Sewage Ponds; June 15, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.