April 7, 2018

A few hours east of Bend, Oregon, lies the town of Burns, Oregon, a long town grudgingly straddling State Highway 78. Burns shares its length with Hines, Oregon, though I’m not sure where the boundary is or if that even matters at this point.

Combined, the towns have numerous restaurants and store fronts, many of which are permanently closed. Those that are still open are open for breakfast (sometimes), then they close, and then they open again for dinner (maybe). Or they’re not open ever, even though the GIANT sign says they are open. Or their door is open, and you can walk in, but they’re not really open.

What are ya gettin’ at Burns?

When you arrive in Burns after driving all day from Salem, Oregon, and you’re hungry (and a bit grumpy) even though it’s only 4pm, YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.  I swore a lot out loud at this town.

If you want to shine a bright light on your sense of entitlement, head on over to Burns, Oregon.

What does this have to do with birding? We drove out to this area to attend the Harvey County Migratory Bird Festival, and were scheduled to spend all day Saturday doing a full day of birding with a group. We did not stay in Burns overnight. Instead, we passed go and stayed about 25 miles east in Crane, Oregon, at Crystal Crane Hot Springs, which was wonderful, and happened to be a bit of a birding mecca.

The alarm went off at 4:30AM Saturday morning, and all I could hear was pouring rain. Step 1: coffee. Step 2: shower. Step 3: get in car and drive back to Burns. Step 4: try to find a coffee shop that was open (just kidding, we were already Burns-savvy at this point and knew this would have been futile). Step 4: meet at Burns High School to find our birding group for the day.

And we’re off, to tour the greater Burns and Crane, Oregon, region, including parts of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  Although the area lacks services to please my spoiled self, it shines like a Canadian diamond when it comes to birding.

You’ve gotten this far? Well, thanks. And here are my counts followed by photos. Migration time is underway, so I hope to be posting more often now.

New 2018 Oregon Species:

Ross’s Goose
Cinnamon Teal
Chukar
Amer. White Pelican
Swainson’s Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Black-necked Stilt
Amer. Avocet
Long-billed Curlew
Franklin’s Gull
Barn Swallow
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Cassin’s Finch

New Birds for 2018: 13
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 133

CCHP

Crystal Crane Hot Springs; Crane, Oregon; April 6, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

BRBL

Brewer’s Blackbirds; Crystal Crane Hot Springs; Crane, Oregon; April 6, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

GLEA

A >100-Year-Old Golden Eagle nest that, after many years of growing, finally experienced gravity (can you find it?); Harvey County; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

RSGS3

Ross’s Geese; south of Burns, Oregon; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

RSGS

Ross’s Geese; south of Burns, Oregon; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

RSGS2

Ross’s Geese; south of Burns, Oregon; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

GHOW

Great Horned Owl 1 of 2; Harvey County, Oregon; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

GHOW2

Great Horned Owl 2 of 2; Burns, County; April 7, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

FRGL

Franklin’s Gull; Harvey County, Oregon; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

AMPP

American Pipit; Crystal Crane Hot Springs; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

BNST

Black-Necked Stilts; Crystal Crane Hot Springs; Crane, Oregon; April 7, 2018; photography by Linda Burfitt.

FOREST

Malheur National Forest; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

CSFN

Cassin’s Finch; Malheur National Forest; April 7, 2018; photography by Linda Butfitt.

TWST

Townsend’s Solitaire; Malheur National Forest; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

BEER

One of the virtues of Burns, Oregon = Steens Mountain Brewing, the smallest brewery in Oregon; April 7, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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